Manchester United reveal improved financial results

Manchester United today revealed their financial report for the first quarter of fiscal year ending June 2012 with a 16.6 per cent increase in total turnover.

The report measured the finances of the three months ending on September 30 2011.

Gross outstanding debt has also decreased from £516.7m ($819.3m) as of September 30, 2010, to £433.2m ($687m) on September 30, 2011.

Total turnover for the Red Football Group (holding company of Manchester United) during the three month period was up £10.5m ($16.6m) year-on-year from £63.3m ($100.5m) to £73.8m ($117m).

The figure included matchday revenue up 16.6 per cent from £19.7m ($31.2m) to £21.6m ($34.2m); media revenues up 16.5 per cent from £19.4m ($30.7m) to £22.6m ($35.8m) and commercial revenues up 22.3 per cent from £24.2m ($38.3m) to £29.6m ($49.6m).

However, total operating costs also increased year-on-year from £48.4m ($76.7m) to £54.5m ($86.4m).

The group said its commercial performance represented a “strong statement” of its financial position, with net assets of £804.8m ($1.27bn) and a cash balance of £65m ($103m).

The total spend on players during the period was up year-on-year from £8.2m ($13m) to £47.1m ($74.6m), with general capital expenditure up from £3.7m ($5.86m) to £13.8m ($21.8m).

The group recently earned approval for a partial flotation on the Singapore stock exchange.

Delayed as a result of the uncertain financial markets, the flotation is still expected to take place before the end of the year.

Approval for Wolves £50m development and training facility

Plans to build a world-class football training facility for Wolverhampton Wanderers, plus a new secondary school and homes at a total of £50 million, have been approved.
Redrow boss and Wolves chairman Steve Morgan brokered the complex scheme that will see his football club get a new training academy, the city a new school and Redrow Homes build 55 four and five-bedroom luxury houses.

Athletics to use London Olympics stadium ‘for up to 99 years’

UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner has claimed the London’s Olympics stadium will be used for athletics purposes after next year’s summer games for up to 99 years.
That means that West Ham United – or any other tenant at the stadium, whether it is a football club or not – will have to comply with any major athletics event, with the running track guaranteed to remain for the duration of the 99-year lease.
The news comes as a major boost for UK Athletics given the controversy surrounding the future of the Olympic Stadium beyond 2012, and also means that the use of the stadium is guaranteed at any potential World Championships in 2017

New Spurs training ground gets go-ahead

Tottenham Hotspur’s new training ground is currently under construction, and on schedule for completion by the beginning of next season.
The ground covers 67 acres, which include 11 pitches and an impressive training centre designed by KSS Architects, featuring curved steel sections fabricated by Barnshaws Section Benders. Designed around a 70 x 50m indoor artificial pitch, the training centre will feature a transparent ETFE roof, and will act as an integral part of the landscape.
The centre will contain state of the art facilities, such as a gym, media centre, medical facilities, hydrotherapy/ swimming pool, and a learning centre.

Beckham lands Sainsbury’s deal

David Beckham has served further notice of his commercial pulling power by agreeing a major partnership with British supermarket giant Sainsbury’s

The Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder has sealed a long-term deal which will see him become a Sainsbury’s ambassador to inspire children to lead healthier and more active lifestyles. The main focus for Beckham’s activity will be supporting the Sainsbury’s Active Kids campaign which has now donated more than £115 million worth of equipment and experiences. Ahead of London 2012, Beckham will also become Sainsbury’s ambassador for its Paralympic Games sponsorship.

“As a world-class athlete and father of four, David is the ideal ambassador to support our commitment to encourage children to get active and live healthier lifestyles for less money,” said Justin King, Sainsbury’s chief executive. “And with a year to go until the Paralympic Games, David’s involvement in the 1 Million Kids Challenge will raise the profile even further of disability sport, to help us make this the best Paralympic Games yet.”

Beckham is currently coming to the end of his five-year stint in Major League Soccer and has been strongly linked with a move to cash-rich Paris Saint-Germain. The Sainsbury’s partnership was negotiated by Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment and is reportedly worth up to £5 million. Beckham will front a marketing campaign for Sainsbury’s, beginning with an in-cinema advert, which will launch on November 25. “I know the difference leading a healthier and more active life can make to kids and I have been really impressed with the long-term commitment that Sainsbury’s has made,” Beckham added.

Barcelona seeks to tap into Chinese market

FC Barcelona has made further inroads into developing its brand in Asia by signing a strategic partnership with Chinese company Intersports.

The agreement will see the promotion of the Barcelona brand and the club’s values in the Chinese market. Barcelona president Sandro Rosell stated the partnership is “the first step towards developing a Barca feeling in Asia”. The deal will kick-off in earnest at the end of this month when a club delegation visits China. Rosell added: “(We want to) create a permanent link with the Chinese society, so that all who wish to can share with us the values of FC Barcelona. We will take it a step at a time, so that the new generations of Chinese citizens understand what the Barca feeling is.”

Barcelona’s marketing director, Laurent Colette, outlined that a training camp will be held at Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest Stadium. The camp will run over the next five summers for children aged between six and 14, with a total of 180 children a week expected to take part under the supervision of a team of Barcelona coaches and 25 local coaches.

The La Liga and European champion last month announced the launch of similar camps in India over the next three years. “It is very important to transmit the Barca philosophy to local coaches, because sooner or later China will be a world footballing power,” said Colette, according to the club’s official website.

Intersports president Heifeng Xia stated: “For us, FC Barcelona is the best team in the world and the Bird’s Nest Stadium is the best ground in the world. We wanted the best team in the best stadium. Barca is the most influential club in China and we hope this will be a long-term collaboration between us.”

ICC could open new corruption probes after Pakistan trio are convicted

The International Cricket Council (ICC) could open new investigations into allegations of ‘spot-fixing’ after reviewing the evidence that secured the convictions of Pakistan cricketers Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt.

On Tuesday Asif and Butt were both found guilty of participating in a ‘spot-fixing’ scam after a trial at Southwark Crown Court in England, with Amir having admitted the charges of conspiracy to cheat at gambling and accepting corrupt payments prior to the trial. The trio plotted to deliberately bowl no-balls during a Test match against England at Lord’s in London last summer and will be sentenced later this week. Although Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) only focused specifically on three no balls bowled at specific points during the fourth Test match at Lord’s last year, other evidence that emerged in court could be investigated further by the ICC.

During the court case, it emerged that ‘fixer’ Mazhar Majeed claimed to the News of the World newspaper’s undercover reporter that a total of seven Pakistan players were involved in fixing with him. “The ICC takes no pleasure from the fact that these players stepped outside not only the laws of the game but also the criminal laws of the country in which they were participating,” said ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat at a press conference on Tuesday evening.

“I am satisfied that we have worked closely with the CPS and Metropolitan Police throughout this entire process, and I believe that this case has shown that it is possible for criminal authorities and sports bodies to cooperate with each other, in difficult circumstances, in the best interests of the sport and the public at large,” he added. “I would reiterate, as I have on every occasion that I have spoken on this matter, that the ICC has a zero-tolerance attitude towards corruption and that we will use everything within our power to ensure that any suggestion of corrupt activity within our game is comprehensively investigated and, where appropriate, robustly prosecuted.”

Earlier this year the ICC’s own disciplinary process saw Butt handed a 10-year ban – including five years suspended – whilst Asif was banned for seven years (two suspended) and Amir was banned for five years. All three players have filed appeals against their bans at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. Lorgat confirmed the court verdicts would not have any impact on the bans imposed by the ICC. “To be clear, the developments in the English criminal courts will have no impact upon those periods of suspension, which will remain in full force and effect,” Lorgat said.