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Volume 7 No. 149

Franchises

National Rugby League side Cronulla Sharks could "face the brutal reality" of having no coach from next Tuesday if the ARL Commission finds Shane Flanagan "committed a raft of alleged breaches" and imposes sanctions, according to Andrew Webster of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Flanagan is not "just facing allegations of contacting Sharks officials about player recruitment during his year-long suspension" in '14 for his "role in the peptides scandal." He is also "under heavy scrutiny for salary cap discrepancies that have surfaced since he returned to the club; discrepancies that have come into sharp focus" since Sharks CEO Barry Russell "self-reported to the NRL this year about possible cheating prior to Russell taking over in February." Russell did so when he "unearthed a minor indiscretion about an undeclared third-party agreement." Now, that "unprecedented honesty -- by rugby league standards -- could cost them the coach that delivered the Sharks their first premiership." The NRL integrity unit has, for six months, "combed through computer servers, laptops and mobile phones, including those belonging to board members." Its investigation into "potential salary cap breaches across the club is not yet complete, but the NRL felt it necessary to accelerate any punishment of Flanagan so the Sharks had time to find a new coach if required" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 12/13).

THE RIGHT MOVE: In Sydney, Adrian Proszenko wrote Russell "came in with the best of intentions." One of his "first appointments" was Jamie L'Oste-Brown as his new compliance and integrity manager. L'Oste-Brown’s last job was as the NRL’s salary cap manager, so when a "dodgy deal was brought to his attention from a senior staffer, there was only one thing to do." He informed Russell, "giving the new boss a big decision to make." Proszenko: "Does he turn a blind eye or take it to head office? To his credit, Russell did the latter." Russell said, "Like I said at the start, the integrity of our club, the respect for our members and fans (means) that we deal with any issue that’s there." Russell "did the right thing" but it does not "mean the Sharks will get off scot-free." However, Russell's honesty could "limit the damage to a club that is already financially under the pump" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 12/12).

The NBA Orlando Magic will host the Chicago Bulls on Thursday and the Utah Jazz on Saturday in Mexico City as part of the NBA Global Games initiative, and Magic execs "hope to win over a larger, more permanent share of Mexico's growing basketball fan base," according to Josh Robbins of THE ATHLETIC. Magic CEO Alex Martins said that playing in the NBA Global Games is "good for Magic business, and we have all kinds of indicators of that." Martins: "From a business standpoint, it makes great strategic sense for us to be there." Magic execs can "see Mexico's influence within their own social-media accounts." Mexico-based fans account for 2.3% of the Magic's 2.67 million Facebook followers, 2% of the team's 1.47 million Twitter followers and 1.4% of the team's 736,000-plus Instagram followers. In all, "about 102,000 of the Magic's followers across those platforms are based in Mexico." The goal for the team now is "monetizing those fans' interest." The Magic annually "send sales teams to Brazil and to the United Kingdom to meet with companies that put together Central Florida vacation packages." Martins said that the team will now "start building ties to Mexico-based destination-management companies during the upcoming trip." Having the Magic brand "go abroad also helps two of the Magic's biggest sponsors, Amway and Disney." Martins said that the team and Amway are "in the middle of renewal discussions to extend their arena naming-rights deal," which is set to expire after the '19-20 season. Martins added some Amway execs will "accompany the Magic on this week's trip to Mexico City and will host" some of their independent business owners from Mexico City at the Magic's games. Mexico is a "major market" for Amway (THE ATHLETIC, 12/10).

Mexican broadcaster Grupo Multimedios was approved as a majority partner of Mexican Baseball League (LMB) side Bravos de León, "assuring the financial stability" of the club and confirming it will participate in the '19 season. The move was approved during a vote in Las Vegas (LA AFICIÓN, 12/11).

La Liga side Sevilla reportedly "is going to be to sold, it is just a matter of time." The club is reportedly seeking an offer of between €200M ($227M) and €250M ($284M) for a stake of more than 70%. There "are various interested buyers and they have all proposed the same possibility: Monchi [currently with AS Roma] returning to the club to take the reigns of the sporting project" (AS, 12/12).

Cap Cana, Dominican Republic, will host the third edition of the Barça Academy Las Américas Cup from Friday through Sunday. Former Barcelona player Juliano Belletti will be attending the competition for FC Barcelona schools from all over the Americas. The tournament will feature 600 players ages 6-18 and will be sponsored by Barcelona regional partner Scotia Bank for the first time (Barcelona).

Spanish second division side Reus "is nearing the abyss." The club's situation is "now completely unsustainable" and players have reportedly decided not to accept La Liga's offer to pay them what they are owed and cover their salaries for the rest of the season. The club's debt is €5M ($5.7M). The players "believe that La Liga should not have to make the payments and are directly blaming the club." On Wednesday, they filed a claim to the La Liga-Spanish Footballers' Association (AFE) joint committee "with the intention of rescinding their contracts" (AS, 12/12).

Scottish Premiership side Celtic confirmed it will receive its ticket allocation for the upcoming Old Firm match at Rangers. The club's board previously said that it was "considering turning down the allocation" if the safety of its supporters could not be guaranteed. It now seems it decided to accept the tickets and will distribute them to fans prior to the match on Dec. 29 (SCOTSMAN, 12/12).

Australian Football League side Hawthorn President Jeff Kennett defended the club's gaming business, while "flagging the possibility of divesting from poker machines in the long term if alternative revenue streams are found." Kennett stressed the financial importance of the club's gaming revenues, without which the club "would recede into a financial deficit" (THE AGE, 12/12).

Ford's Mustang was "given the green light" to line up on the Supercars grid next year after "extensive aerodynamic testing." The car was on Wednesday given approval by the Supercars Commission after nine days of testing (HERALD SUN, 12/12). 

Aston Martin Racing announced it will use analytics solutions provider Spirent Communications' iTest platform to assist the brand's FIA World Endurance Championship GTE team. Aston Martin Racing deploys a high-speed local area network trackside to connect drivers and cars with the pit crew, engineers and managers (Spirent Communications).