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									                                                                                                                                                                                                           ARAB TIMES, THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 2011
SPORTS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       55


                  Red Devils see future growth

Man United’s planned IPO
marries sense, sentiment
SINGAPORE, Aug 17, (RTRS): Much                 million pounds, with a net loss of 84 mil-
more than a case of raising funds where         lion pounds.
cash is plentiful, English soccer club             Hong Kong, which had been touted as
Manchester United’s plan to seek $1 bil-        an alternative listing venue, bars unprof-
lion on Singapore’s stock market is a           itable companies from listing on its
marrying of financial sense and global          exchange.
supporter sentiment — and a resounding             Soccer-Mad Singapore
indication of where the club sees future           Soccer enjoys a massive following
growth.                                         among Singapore’s 5.1 million inhabi-
   The English Premier League club, de-         tants. The English Premier League is a
listed from London’s stock exchange in          huge draw on cable TV and there are
2005 when it was bought by the                  scores of Liverpool and Manchester
American Glazer family, is now saddled          United fan clubs across the island.
with a debt pile that has led to a vilifica-       Wearing the red United shirt to one of
tion of the Glazers among fans.                 dozens of Singapore bars broadcasting
   It has also left United in danger of         United’s matches is very different to
struggling to meet “Financial Fair Play”        plunging savings into the club, though.
rules put forward by soccer’s European             “Of course not,” said Manchester
governing body UEFA led by Michel               United fan Ernest Teng, a sales manager
Platini.                                        in an IT firm in Singapore when asked if
   And while the                                he would buy shares.
Glazers have made it
clear they have no
intention of selling, a                                         SOCCER
flotation            in
Singapore       makes                              “The $4 billion valuation is crazy.
perfect sense on                                Bottom line is the Glazers will still be in
many fronts: it will                            control. All I want to see is for them to
help reduce the debt                            sell out and not burden the club with so
burden; it targets                              much debt.”
Asia’s strong eco-             Platini             The IPO of a globally recognised
nomic and investing                             brand such as Manchester United would
growth and, crucially, it will deepen           be a coup for Singapore, which has been
United’s links with a region ripe for           competing with Hong Kong for interna-
expanding its powerful global brand.            tional listings.
   “With two-thirds of their fans residing         “Obviously it’s a big brand name,
in Asia, two-thirds of the world living in      there will be some novelty effect, but
Asia ... there’s an attractive audience         whether investors will go for it will
base to tap into,” Singapore-based sports       depend on the offer price, whether they
sponsorship expert Ben Heyhoe Flint             have some dividend yield guaranteed,”
told Reuters.                                   Andrew Chow, head of research at UOB
   “Couple that with high growth mar-           Kay Hian, said.
kets and high growth brands, and there’s           “People will be interested to listen to
a valid commercial reason (for listing in       what they have got to offer, but whether
Singapore) in that they are getting closer      people will want to put their money in is
to potential sponsors in Asia where             a different ball game.”
they’ve had success before,” added Flint,          Home to one of the world’s busiest
head of Asia-Pacific for sponsorship            container ports, the city-state is known
consultants Fuse.                               for its business-friendly environment
   Biggest Sporting IPO                         and as a financial centre, especially for
   At an estimated $1 billion, the IPO of       private wealth management.
Manchester United would be the world’s             Two-way relationship
largest for a sports organisation, but             It is also seeking to put its imprint on      Lyon’s French forward Bafetimbi Gomis (right), fights for the ball with Rubin’s Israeli midfielder Bebras Natcho (left), during the UEFA Champions League
small compared to other businesses.             the global sports scene — for the past                                playoff match Lyon vs Rubin Kazan on Aug 16 at the Gerland stadium in Lyon, southeastern France. (AFP)
Companies typically sell a quarter to a         three years it has immaculately hosted
third of their shares in an IPO, giving         the only night-time F1 Grand Prix.
Manchester United a potential value of
up to $4 billion.
   “Will people invest? If they open up
the IPO to individual investors, and not
institutional as is rumoured, then I think
you’ll find that yes, fans will be drawn
                                                   English soccer clubs flirting with the
                                                region is nothing new — it was, after all,
                                                English engineers, builders and bricklay-
                                                ers who helped create the foundations of
                                                so many overseas clubs and leagues that
                                                made soccer a truly global game in the
                                                                                                 Wenger risks UEFA wrath
                                                                                                 over phone row in playoff
into making an emotional investment             late 19th and early 20th centuries.
into their beloved club,” Flint said.              Today, the trail-blazing is a little dif-
   “From an institutional point of view,        ferent, based on a multi-billion pound,
we’ve seen serious interest in ownership        dollar, yen or won consumer market.
of EPL clubs from Singapore and                    The Premier League has been aware
Thailand recently so I’m sure it will also      of the riches that await in Asia, instigat-
draw interest at that level.”                   ing the officially-sanctioned Premier
   Last year Singapore billionaire Peter        League Asia Trophy in 2003 and holding
Lim made a 320 million pound ($525.5            it every two years since then.                                                      Fabregas sale leaves void in Arsenal midfield
million) bid to buy Liverpool Football             Apart from that tournament, record
Club, but later withdrew the offer after        19-times English champions Manchester
the club went into the hands of New             United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and          LONDON, Aug 17,
England Sports Ventures following a
court ruling.
   Lim separately has exclusive rights to
                                                others have all toured Asia, playing to
                                                huge crowds, spreading the word, selling
                                                replica shirts and reaping huge profits.
                                                                                                 (AFP):          Arsene
                                                                                                 Wenger could be in
                                                                                                                                   Indian city of Kolkata prepares for Messi mania
own and operate a chain of Manchester              Clubs have also scouted for the best          trouble with UEFA                 KOLKATA, India, Aug 17, (AP): The             Local football administrator Utpal    engineering student, says young
United-themed restaurants and bars in           Asian players who have, in cases like            after repeatedly com-             anticipated announcement of Lionel         Ganguly says this game is more           people may not be able to afford the
Asia.                                           Park Ji-sung at United or Chung Lee-             municating with the               Messi in an Argentina squad to play        important than those featuring Pele      tickets.
   Not everyone is so confident investors       yong at Bolton, forced their way into the                                          Venezuela in an international              and Kahn.                                   “It would be a great experience
will be eager to pour their money into          first teams back in England.                     Arsenal bench dur-                friendly here next month is expect-           “Messi and Carlos Tevez are in        for me to see Messi and Tevez. But
England’s most successful soccer club,             Premier League CEO Richard                    ing his side’s 1-0 win            ed to unleash what locals are call-        the prime of their careers whereas       I am not sure whether my desire
however.                                        Scudamore makes no secret of the                 over Udinese in the               ing Messi mania.                           Pele and Kahn played here during         would be fulfilled as the cost of tick-
   “I guess Manchester United is trying         importance Asia plays in the Premier                                                  More than 15,000 tickets have           their twilight years,” Ganguly said.     ets is pretty high,” Ghosh said.
to ride their popularity in Asia,” said         League’s financial success story.                Champions League                  already been sold online for the           “I’m sure the crowd response will           The minimum cost of tickets is
Roger Tan, head of research at SIAS                “The passion for soccer and especially        play-off first leg.               FIFA-sanctioned Sept 2 match at            pick up once the list of players is      500 rupees ($11) for registered
Research.                                       the Premier League in Asia is as intense            Wenger was forced to           the 100,000-capacity Salt Lake             announced.”                              football players of the city and
   “Frankly I do hear that football clubs       as it is back in England, if not more so,”       watch the match from the          Stadium, but organizers are predict-          But some like 63-year-old football    1,200 rupees ($27) for others.
are not usually profitable so if they are       he said in recent roundtable meetings.           Emirates Stadium stands           ing a surge of sales in coming days        fan Binay Mukherjee are not sure            The match comes at a time when
really listing in Singapore, I would sug-          “The reason our clubs go to Asia and          as the Gunners boss served        when the squads are announced.             whether the big names will play here.    national body All India Football
                                                                                                                                      Football frenzies have struck in           “It would be great to watch Messi     Federation is hoping to give an
gest potential investors look closely at        we hold the Asian tournament is for              a touchline ban for abusing       Kolkata before, most notably when          and Tevez, but a doubt has cropped       impetus to the world’s most popular
the numbers. Investing in a club is very        them to see their heroes live and for the        Swiss referee Massimo             Brazilian great Pele turned out for        up among fans here on whether            game in a country of 1.2 billion
different from supporting a club.”              clubs to exploit their market potential as       Busacca in the aftermath          the US club Cosmos in a friendly           they will be released by their           where cricket reigns.
   United’s 2010 full-year results showed       much as they can. It is a natural two-way        of last season’s stormy           against local club Mohan Bagan in          respective clubs,” Mukherjee said.          Last year, the AIFF signed a 15-
gross debt attached to the club of 522          relationship.”                                   Champions League defeat           1977 and when German goalkeep-                Another worry is the steep prices     year, $140-million deal commercial
                                                                                                 at Barcelona.                     er Oliver Kahn played for Bayern           of tickets.                              deal with IMG-Reliance, which will
                                                                                                                                   Munich against Bagan in 2008.                 Suvadeep Ghosh, an 18-year-old        market football in India at all levels.
                                                                                                          SOCCER
                  Best of the Rest                                                                                                 stages of Europe’s elite club    was sorely missed 24 hours    than on the wing.               a couple more but the keep-
                                                                                                    After Arsenal officials        competition.                     after the completion of his      “We’ve just got to carry     er made some spectacular
                                                                                                 consulted        UEFA       on       The Gunners had to ride       move to Barcelona.            on,” he said. “It’s time to     saves.”
                                                tional, who has found himself surplus to         Monday, Wenger believed           their luck to earn even that        As ever, Walcott offered   move on. Cesc was a great          Walcott remains confi-
Barca, United get financial boost:                                                               he was still free to commu-       lead as Udinese created a host   moments of inspiration and    player for the club but he’s    dent Arsenal can finish the
Barcelona and Manchester United earned          requirements under the reign of Roberto
over 50 million euros ($72 million) each        Mancini.                                         nicate with assistant Pat         of chances, only to lose com-    exasperation as he scored     gone.                           job next week and avoid the
after reaching the Champions League final          “The chairman is talking to Man City          Rice by passing messages to       posure at the crucial moments.   and then missed two good         “We still have some very     embarrassment of being
last season, European soccer’s governing        about the player but where they (the negotia-    first-team coach Boro                With better finishing from    chances      to    increase   talented players in the squad   consigned to a season in the
body UEFA said.                                 tions) are at, I genuinely don’t know,”          Primorac, who was seated          the Italians it could have       Arsenal’s lead.               here and we believe we can      Europa League.
   Last season’s 32 Champions League            Redknapp said.                                   next to the Frenchman and         been an extremely bleak             Walcott will be expected   achieve something this year.       “We’re in a great position
teams received a total of 754.1 million euros      Adebayor, 27, spent the second half of        then phoned the information       start to the post-Cesc           to shoulder more of the          “It was nice to get the      but it’s far from over. We’re
from a combination of performance-related       last season on loan at Real Madrid and           down to the bench.                Fabregas era.                    attacking burden now          goal. I want to get more        happy with the result but we
payments and the television pool.               Mancini has made it clear the former                The trio did exactly that         The former Arsenal cap-       Fabregas is gone however      goals this season. Hopefully
                                                Arsenal striker has no future at City.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  didn’t finish it off,” he said.
   United were the biggest earners, with                                                         throughout the first half but     tain’s ability to retain pos-    and he challenged Wenger      the boss will play me up           “That’s two clean sheets
53.20 million euros comprising more than           However Adebayor’s huge wages at City
27 million for their performances and anoth-    — he is paid an estimated ¬£170,000 per          television pictures showed        session and launch attacks       to play him up front rather   front now. I could have had     in a row now, and we’re
er 25.9 million from the television pool,       week — are believed to be the biggest obsta-     the rather blatant nature of                                                                                                     capable of winning over
UEFA said.                                      cle deterring clubs from making a move for       the plan and UEFA, keen                                                                                                          there.”
   Despite winning the final 3-1, Barcelona’s   the player.                                      not to be embarrassed,                                                                                                              Meanwhile,         Udinese
earnings were slightly less at 51 million          Redknapp has made no secret of his            warned Wenger at the break                                                                                                       coach Francesco Guidolin
euros, as their performance-related payments    desire to strengthen Spurs attacking line, and   that he was contravening the                                                                                                     took encouragement from
were 30.7 million but they collected only       this week offloaded Republic of Ireland          rules and he withdrew from                                                                                                       the way his side troubled
20.3 million from television.                   international Robbie Keane to MLS side the       communication.                                                                                                                   Arsenal even though the
   UEFA said other top earners were Chelsea     Los Angeles Galaxy. (AFP)                           After the match, Wenger                                                                                                       Serie A side have lost key
(44.52 million), Schalke 04 (39.75 million),                      ❑    ❑     ❑                   did not attend the usual                                                                                                         players including Chile
Real Madrid (39.28 million), Inter Milan
(37.98 million), Bayern Munich (32.56 mil-      Former Scotland defender dead:                   press conference, so he                                                                                                          winger Alexis Sanchez.
lion) and Tottenham Hotspur (31.13 million).    Former Wolves and Scotland defender Frank        couldn’t be asked for his                                                                                                           “We shouldn’t feel satis-
   UEFA added that money from the cen-          Munro has died following a heart attack, the     version of events, but it is                                                                                                     fied with the performance
tralised television pool was distributed        English Premier League club confirmed            possible he will get a slap on                                                                                                   because what counts is
according to the value of the teams in their    Wednesday. He was 63.                            the wrists from UEFA for
                                                   Munro represented Scotland nine times
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  results, but it is good to have
own national market.                                                                             going a little too far with his                                                                                                  just a small defeat,”
   All clubs were entitled to a minimum 7.2     during his career but was most famous for        communications.
                                                his nine years at Wolves between 1968 and                                                                                                                                         Guidolin said.
million euros from the group stage. Further                                                         That would be one more
performance bonuses and participation fees      1977, where he helped the club win the                                                                                                                                               “Everyone is talking
                                                League Cup in 1974.                              problem for Wenger at the                                                                                                        about the players Arsenal
were awarded in each of the knockout                                                             start of a season already rid-
stages. (RTRS)                                     Munro, who was also a member of the                                                                                                                                            have sold but no one is tak-
                                                Wolves team which reached the UEFA Cup           dled with difficulties for the                                                                                                   ing into consideration the
                 ❑     ❑     ❑                  final in 1972, died on Tuesday, two days         north London club.                                                                                                               players we have sold.
Spurs eyeing Adebayor move:                     after suffering a heart attack.                     Wenger’s side will go to                                                                                                         “It hasn’t been easy for us
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp con-              Former team-mates Dave Wagstaffe and          Italy for the second leg next                                                                                                    and playing against a great
firmed Wednesday the club was in talks with     Phil Parkes were at his hospital bedside dur-    Wednesday with only a slen-
Manchester City over a possible move for        ing his final hours.                                                                                                                                                              team like Arsenal we could
                                                                                                 der advantage, secured                                                                                                           have lost by several goals.
unsettled striker Emmanuel Adebayor.               “Frank was the most skilful centre-half in    thanks to Theo Walcott’s
   Redknapp revealed Spurs chairman             the country and yet he never realised it. He                                                                                                                                         “We were a bit shy at the
Daniel Levy was negotiating with City over      played the game for fun,” Wagstaffe was quot-
                                                                                                 fourth minute volley on                                                                                                          beginning and started slow-
                                                                                                 Tuesday, as they try to           Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey (right), competes for the ball with Udinese’s Kwadwo Asamoah
a possible move for the Togolese interna-       ed as saying on Wolves official website. (AFP)                                     during the Champions League qualifying playoff first leg soccer match at the Emirates          ly but got more aggressive
                                                                                                 secure a place in the group                                 Stadium in London, Aug 16. (AP)                                      as the game went on.”

								
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