On the Line - Fulham next in line for takeover

By DANIEL KING

Last updated at 20:02 08 September 2007


Fulham top the list of at least half-a-dozen

clubs which are in line to be taken over in the

coming weeks. A £120 million offer from an

unknown party is already on the table while

another, definitely foreign, consortium is

considering its options.

Current owner Mohamed al Fayed is

the Premier League's original non-British sugar

daddy after taking over at Craven Cottage in

1997 for an initial £30m. After a decade of

sporadic investment and losses without great

reward on the pitch, he has been

looking for buyers for some

time.

Mohamed al Fayed

The sale would mark another

success for one of football's

prime deal-makers, Keith

Harris of Seymour Pierce

investment bank, who has

overseen foreign

takeovers at Manchester

City, Chelsea, Aston

Villa and West Ham.

He could soon add

further matchmaking

triumphs to his c.v

as Seymour

Pierce have

mandates to act

for Carson Yeung, the Hong

Kong businessman who bought a sizeable

stake in Birmingham City.

Yeung is thought to be preparing a full bid for

Southampton — whose suitors include

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen — and for

Charlton, who are conducting a strategic

review.

Derby are also said to be open to offers while

for the small-time oligarch there is always

League One Luton, available for less than £5m

and with the added attraction of a nearby

airport which welcomes private jets.


Bidding war expected for upbeat athletics

Britain's unexpected success at the World

Championships in Osaka was timely for UK

Athletics in more ways than one.

As well as

dispelling some of the gloom hanging over the

sport, the medal haul has strengthened their

hand for this autumn's negotiations over

domestic television rights, now expected to

bring in £25 million.

With London 2012 on the horizon as well, the

BBC will have a fight on their hands to renew

their current four-year, £18m contract, which

ends next year.

UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner infuriated

the BBC by claiming their coverage was stale

and although he sought to build bridges in

Osaka, it is understood the authorities would

welcome a fresh approach.

Both Channel 4

and Sky Sports, whose recent programmes on

national schools' competitions were

impressive, are expected to bid for rights to

show events including the London Grand Prix

at CrystalPalace and Sheffield's British Grand

Prix. It could be a photo finish.


Sharpe still in the party mood

Lee Sharpe allowed himself a wry smile

when asked about Cristiano

Ronaldo's alleged night of

revelry with Manchester

United team-mates Nani

and Anderson, plus a

handful of escort girls.

Former United winger

Sharpe, who famously once had a soiree

personally broken up by Sir Alex Ferguson,

said: "If it was me, I'd expect the sack, but I

wasn't the best player in the world — he is.

My parties weren't as good as his, either."

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