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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hendry management are snookered over cash claims by Inside Sport

 A sports management firm whose clients have included Olympic cycling hero Sir Chris Hoy, snooker stars Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Hendry, and a variety of Scottish golfers and footballers, are being liquidated, triggering what is sure to be a long, bitter legal battle for compensation. 
An investigation by Inside Sport into the demise of 110 Sport Management (110SM) revealed that several stars are exploring how they can retrieve outstanding payments. But all want anonymity as they pursue claims. 
On cue: O'Sullivan and Hendry, former and present clients of 110 Sport Management
On cue: O'Sullivan and Hendry, former and present clients of 110 Sport Management
Some are peeved that 110SM's parent company, 110 Sports Group (110SG), are still in business but will not be settling 110SM's debts. 
The liquidation also raises questions over the viability of 110SG and another subsidiary, 110 Sport TV, which has received £709,000 in public money to help fund an internet broadcasting service that has struggled to get off the ground. 
  



Lee Doyle, chairman of the 110 group, tells me: 'I couldn't possibly comment because the liquidation won't be formalised for some months. We're restructuring because for us, as for all sectors, the world isn't a nice place to do business just now and we need to be leaner and meaner.' Asked to confirm the identity of stars who are owed cash, Doyle said: 'I couldn't possibly comment.' 
A spokesman for Hoy said his relationship with 110SM 'ended about five months ago on amicable terms but we're not allowed to talk about the details'.
O'Sullivan has no direct ongoing relationship with 110SM. Hendry remains the most prominent sportsman in the 110SG stable, which still numbers dozens of clients, many of them snooker players. Barry Hearn, chairman of World Snooker, says he is 'monitoring' the situation. 
Doyle says the £709,000 of Scottish Enterprise cash for 110 Sport TV has not been lost but he acknowledges the future of the group is not guaranteed. 'We're no different from many other businesses,' he said. 

Gay footballers 'afraid to come out'

In the wake of the Liverpool-born Swedish footballer, Anton Hysen, coming out as gay - the first professional in Europe to do so since the late Justin Fashanu - the chairman of the FA's anti-homophobia advisory group, Peter Clayton, tells me he believes one or more gay footballers in the English game will follow his example in the next 'two years or so, and hopefully before'. 
Clayton, 59 and the FA's only openly gay councillor, believes some clubs and agents are still advising gay players to stay in the closet.
'They're afraid of the potential commercial ramifications,' he says. 'But the FA have already thought carefully about how a gay player can be supported and the Professional Footballers' Association will be hugely supportive, too.' 
Hysen, 20, was born in England when his father, Glenn, was playing for Liverpool. Hysen junior plays for Utsiktens, a Swedish lower-division team who are managed by his father. 

Why Blatter's rival kept quiet 

Mohammed Bin Hammam, of Qatar - who could end Sepp Blatter's controversial 13-year reign as the head of football's world governing body, FIFA, when the pair go up against each other in this summer's presidential race - wanted to go public as a candidate a year ago. But he was told to keep quiet or risk damaging the Gulf state's 2022 World Cup bid, a former Qatari bid insider tells me.
Keeping quiet: Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed bin Hammam
Keeping quiet: Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed bin Hammam
'I sat in a strategy meeting where bid officials dictated that Bin Hammam must not show his hand over the FIFA presidency before the 2022 vote last December,' said the source. 'The logic was that declaring would risk alienating Blatter, which would have been suicide for the 2022 bid.' 
The source added that, initially, Bin Hamman did not support his own nation's 2022 bid because he believed, like many others, that a summer World Cup was not practical in his country.