Speculation has appeared in Chinese media that All-World Superstar David Beckham will become an international ambassador for the Chinese Super League (see my earlier report here).
However, IMG, who are attempting to facilitate the deal, has told me that, contrary to reports, nothing has been confirmed at this stage, though negotiations are at an advanced stage (aren’t they always?).
That said, if the deal does get signed, IMG says Beckham may play in China after he has completed his five-month stint in France. They are also in discussions about his potential grassroots support – something China desperately needs – and Becks has experience in this area through his soccer schools – though, ominously, both his London and LA Academies have closed.
The 99% claim has popped up twice in recent days in the context of Chinese sports, and both times there are less than convincing arguments.
Firstly, a Shanghai Shenhua club lawyer told Sina in reference to Didier Drogba’s contested move to Galatasaray in Turkey:
“We now have evidence which we believe will give Shenhua a 99% chance of winning a lawsuit at FIFA.”
Unnamed legal sources tend to have a habit of exaggeration because they are anonymous –> untraceable –> unaccountable. But I’m pretty sure – 99% sure in fact – that Drogba’s own legal team would have made sure there is a water tight case for breach of contract by Shenhua (presumably for unpaid wages) before he moved to another club.
Here’s my weekly Sports Talk column from the Global Times, entitled “Star exits don’t matter in bigger picture”
With all the negative headlines surrounding the recent departures of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, it is important to keep some perspective about where this leaves Chinese soccer.
Was it disappointing? Yes, but their exits came as no surprise. The pair had long been rumored to be on their way out, and they are hardly the first foreign players to have left before fulfilling their contracts.
It is far more embarrassing, though, for the club and its flamboyant owner, Zhu Jun, an Internet entrepreneur whose ambitions appear to have wildly outsized his bank balance.