Soccer-Corinthians break off partnership with MSI
RIO DE JANEIRO, July 25 |
RIO DE JANEIRO, July 25 (Reuters) - Carlos Tevez's former club Corinthians have announced they are breaking off their controversial partnership with the London-based sports management group MSI.
The Brazilian club's executive council voted unanimously in favour of ending the partnership, which was less than halfway through its 10-year term, at a meeting on Tuesday night.
"It's the end of a partnership," Rubens Aprobato Machado, one of the council's 241 members, told Brazilian television. "It was a unanimous decision."
Corinthians directors said they were considering legal action to avoid a multi-million dollar penalty fee for ending the partnership.
The decision came two weeks after a Brazilian judge ordered the arrest of agent Kia Joorabchian, who ran MSI in Brazil, and Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, who authorities said was one of the group's investors, on money-laundering charges.
Joorabchian is the agent for Argentina forward Tevez, who was Corinthians' major signing during the MSI partnership and is now involved in a dispute over a proposed move from West Ham United to Manchester United in England.
Corinthians signed the deal with MSI in December 2004 saying it would turn them into the pride of South America, although critics said at the time that not enough was known about MSI.
The agreement was that MSI would finance the club's football department and be entitled to 51 percent of profits.
Corinthians immediately went on a spending spree, buying Tevez from Boca Juniors for a South American record fee of $18 million and his fellow Argentine Javier Mascherano from River Plate for $15 million.
They won the Brazilian championship less than a year later, but the success came amid reports of bickering between club directors and MSI over the signings of players and coaches.
Corinthians employed seven coaches in the first two years of the partnership and the deal began to fall apart following a South American Libertadores Cup quarter-final elimination at the hands of River Plate in May last year.
After Tevez and Mascherano left for West Ham in acrimonious circumstances last August, the club finished the 2006 season fighting relegation.
Corinthians, struggling again this year, are 17th in the Brazilian championship table.
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