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The SIG Column - 13 November

The knives are out following England's loss but Drew Barrand, head of media at Sport Industry Group, argues that the RFU's annual financial report will be a more accurate pointer as to the governing body's performance...

'If you believed everything you read from this weekend’s post-mortem you could be forgiven for thinking that English rugby was staring into an abyss the like of which the sport’s hierarchy in this country has never seen before.

Wimbledon sets record prize money pot

The organisers of Wimbledon have announced that total prize money for this year’s tournament will increase by nearly 9% with the record pot to be shared equally between male and female players for the first time.

The overall fund for the 2007 tournament will be £11,282,710 - 8.7% up on last year's figure – with the champions each winning £700,000.

Man City rumoured over £90m takeover bid

Manchester City looks like the latest FA Premier League club to receive a takeover offer after speculation arose that a former player for the club tabled a £90m bid.

Former full-back Ray Ranson is believed to have tabled a bid covering the club's shares, loans of about £24m to major shareholders John Wardle and David Makin and debts to other creditors.

Ranson, who is thought to have the backing of other businessmen, is said to be prepared to provide a transfer kitty of around £20m for new players.

Half of Premiership to be in US hands?

As Arsenal prepare to fight off a takeover bid from US tycoon Stan Kroenke, a host of other Premiership clubs are set to fall in to the hands of American business.

The burgeoning value of domestic and overseas media rights for English football has caught the eyes of international investors, with clubs such as Newcastle, Fulham, Reading and Manchester City set to join Liverpool, Aston Villa and Manchester United as coming under pressure from American based investors.

Agent linked to Bolton transfer enquiry

Football agent David Abou is to be questioned by the Premier League’s investigation unit in relation to his involvement in transfers involving Bolton Wanderers.

According to the Daily Mail, Quest, the company headed by former Metropolitan Police chief Lord Stevens, will interview unlicensed agent David Abou next week about the deals which took two international players to the club in 2004.

Specifically they want to know about his role in the transfer to Bolton from Israeli clubs of Tal Ben Haim and Blessing Kaku.

FA question Luton over money to agents

Investigators from the FA spent several hours at the Kenilworth Road home of Luton Town FC, talking to club directors and employees, in an attempt to test the club’s compliance with transfer regulations.

The club’s former chairman Bill Tomlins previously admitted breaking the rules regarding payment to agents.

Investigators are now looking at the possibility that the club may be in breach of two serious rules.

The FA will not make any statement until the compliance team has finalised its report in relation to a total of eight transfers.

London 2012 cost due to lack of 'homework'

The government's handling of the Olympic bid has been criticised by the head of the ODA. The escalating cost of the London Olympics is due to a lack of ‘homework’ before the bid was made, says the chairman of the body responsible for delivering the Games.

Sir Roy McNulty, the acting chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority said that planning had not been done ‘deeply enough at the beginning’, an error that resulted in estimates for the cost of London 2012 rising from £2.375billion to the current £9.3billion.

Owen to be 'next Bosman'

Football’s club v country row is set to escalate further if as expected Newcastle challenge the FA’s selection of Michael Owen for England’s next match.

According to press reports over the weekend, Newcastle are set to launch what could be the most important lawsuit in football since the Bosman case.

The club is already frustrated by the FA’s refusal to pay up to £6million in compensation for the loss of Owen this season due to his injury on England World Cup duty.

Money ruining Premiership, says Chairman

The Premiership has a money problem according to one prominent football chairman.

The disparity in wealth between the top four clubs in the country and the rest has made the league predictable and risks boring fans says David Whelan, chairman of Wigan and founder of JJB Sports.

"If we all got £35-40million, rather than some clubs £25million or £30million, and the top clubs £50million or £60million, we could afford better players,” Whelan told BBC Five Live over the weekend.


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