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UK Leagues

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FA pulls out of Ladbrokes deal

The Football Association has pulled out of a sponsorship deal with Ladbrokes Coral worth up to £4m a year, after concern about the gambling industry's influence over the national game.  It is understood that the FA has paid Ladbrokes for the value of one year of the contract and no further penalty for ending it early.

Ladbrokes has similar deals with the Scottish FA and the Football Association of Ireland.

Orient: the long nightmare is over

Francesco Becchetti is no longer in charge at Leyton Orient after a controversial period of ownership which saw the club relegated out of the Football League.

An Eagle Investments consortium led by Baskin Robbins and Dunkin' Donuts chief executive Nigel Travis has taken over.  He is a lifelong fan.   The price paid has not been disclosed.

Germans now sole bidders for Sunderland

A consortium of Sunderland supporters bidding to take over the club has pulled out of the running. Because of film and television commitments they think it isn't the right time to get involved.  It is hoped that new owners will be in place before the end of the month.

Rival bids for Sunderland

A consortium of wealthy supporters is ready to rival a German bid for Sunderland.    It is believed that there is a big gap between owner Ellis Short's valuation of the club and its crippling debt and what the German consortium is prepared to offer.

Chinese offer for Newcastle

Mike Ashley is considering an offer from a Chinese consortium to invest in Newcastle United.   A stake rather than a full takeover seems to be on the table, but a minority investment could lead to a complete takeover in time.

Ashley values his stake at £350m -£400m which has so far deterred potential buyers, but the Chinese appetite for a slice of Premiership action is strong.   A substantial investment would help Newcastle to recruit top players.

Evening games on Saturdays?

Premier League clubs are considering playing games on Saturday nights with a 7.45 pm kick off.  Up to 30 more fixtures will be shown live in the next broadcasting deal which runs the risk of market saturation unless new formats can be found.

However, fans are unlikely to welcome the idea as it would make it more difficult for them to attend away matches without an overnight stay.

Leyton Orient survive court hearing

A winding up petition against Leyton Orient has been dismissed at the High Court after the four creditors on the petiition were paid in full.   However, it is believed tbat there are other creditors who were not on the petition.   The total amount paid is thought to be around £250,000.

Fans packed the courtroom and others waited outside.

Premier League viewing figures fall

Premier League football has suffered the biggest drop in viewing on Sky's TV platorm for at least seven years.  Average viewing on Sky's live TV platform fell 14 per cent and total viewing hours 6 per cent over the season.

Sky is paying £10m a game, two thirds more than previously, to screen matches in a three year deal.  It is spending £4.2bn for 126 games a year.  BT is paying £960m for its right to show 42 games a season.  It recorded a more modest fall in average viewing of 2 per cent, but that is from a lower base.

Premier League tightens ownership test

The Premier League has tightened up its Owners and Directors Test.   For the first time it will take into account whether prospective owners have committed an offence which would count as such in the UK.

There is concern about the increasing number of Chinese backed takeovers and the lack of transparency surrounding their financial arrangements.

Takeover interest at Sunderland

Sunderland are engaged in takeover talks with a German consortium that has a longstanding interest in English football.   The £110 million price tag on the club asked for by owner Ellis Short does not appear to have deterred them.

Sunderland are being advised by Dr Keith Harris who has advised on the purchase of many clubs including Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton.