By Paul Kennedy
Reports out of Mexico that Mexican Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, is negotiating to buy Chivas de Guadalajara from Jorge Vergara have put in doubt the future of Chivas USA, but MLS denies it is going anywhere.
MLS issued the following statement on Friday:
"Major League Soccer is aware of recent media speculation concerning Chivas USA. Such speculation is completely unfounded and untrue. MLS is fully supportive of the current owners of Chivas USA and has never considered taking over the club or moving it."
Since Vergara bought out his Chivas USA partners, speculation about the MLS club's future has run rampant as attendance has plummeted, the club has cut its payroll, and it failed to secure a local television contract.
If Slim were to buy Chivas de Guadalajara and Vergara's other Mexican soccer interests, he would unlikely want to continue the Chivas USA venture, which has led to talk of Chivas USA being sold or taken over by MLS.
A fire sale for Chivas USA is the last thing MLS or its investors want as they seek to increase the expansion fees they can get for teams. Those fees have reportedly increased from $10 million a decade ago to $40 million in the last rounds of expansion and $100 million for the new team MLS wants to launch in Queens.
FOX ENDS EPL RUN. FOX will sign off on its coverage of the English Premier League Sunday with coverage of the final day of the 2012-13 season.
FOX Soccer, FOX Sports Net and FOX Soccer Plus, together with digital platforms FOXSoccer.com and FOX Soccer 2Go, will carry nine of the day’s 10 matches live at 11 a.m. ET.
Pre-match coverage begins at 10:30 AM ET on FOX Soccer, followed by coverage of Tottenham-Sunderland. The two big games are Tottenham-Sunderland and Newcastle-Arsenal (on ESPN) to decide third and fourth place and the last two berths in next season's UEFA Champions League.
The EPL will move to NBC and its various networks next season, while FOX Soccer's remaining soccer programming will move to FOX Sports 1, which will launch in September.
FOX has held EPL rights since 1998.
NASL FRONT-OFFICE MOVES. The North American Soccer League has appointed Brian Melekian as its chief operating officer and has restructured the p.r. department.
Michael Preston assumes the role of director of public relations, having worked within the NASL p.r. structure since January. Steven Torres, formerly with Concacaf, has been appointed NASL p.r. coordinator.
D.C. TO GET ITS OWN BEER. DC Brau will brew a D.C. United-specific craft beer -- the only one of its kind in the D.C. sports world. The brewery and MLS club have partnered to launch a contest giving D.C. United fans the opportunity to name the new brew.
One thousand gallons of the Ale will be produced and will be made available exclusively at participating D.C. United official bar partners and at the DC Brau Brewing Company.
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