Tag Archives: interests

Tyson Gay ready to forget Justin Gatlin animosity – London 2012 Olympics

Gay ready to forget Gatlin animosity as American rivals team up for relay

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UPDATED:

12:27 GMT, 10 August 2012

Olympics 2012

Tyson Gay has admitted he will have to suppress any animosity he feels towards drug cheat Justin Gatlin for the benefit of the US 4x100m relay team.

Gay, 30 on Friday, missed out on bronze in the individual 100m final by just one one-hundredth of a second to compatriot Gatlin, also 30, who is competing in London after returning from a four-year ban.

Gay, the second fastest man ever, has been vocal in his opposition to athletes who take performance-enhancing drugs and struggled to hide his distaste that Gatlin had denied him a first Olympic medal.

Missing out on a medal: Gay finished fourth in the 100m final

Missing out on a medal: Gay finished fourth in the 100m final

The pair join up as part of the US sprint relay team, which competes in the first round on Friday at 7.45pm.

'It's tough,' said Gay, who has fought back from a serious hip injury earlier in the season.

'Everybody knows my stance on drugs. I work real hard so I don't want to be cheated out of nothing. Nobody does.

'I really have no choice at this point to speak (out) because we're in the relay together. I can't be having animosity, a lot of hatred – I don't want it to affect the team. We're a team when we run the 4×100.

Out of the running: Gatlin pipped countryman Gay to a bronze medal

Out of the running: Gatlin pipped countryman Gay to a bronze medal

'I speak to him. I'll put a lot of things to the side for the team. At this point there's really nothing I can do about it. My personal coach has to talk to him, my personal coach has to put him on the relay.

'So I can't really say it's a conflict of interests it's just something that has to happen. I can't really go around being mad, not speaking to this guy because it would add more stress on me which is unnecessary.'

Speaking on behalf of his sponsor Omega, Gay added: 'I've already got a lot going on in my life as well. It's one of those things where you have to roll with the punches. It's something that has already been accepted by America and a lot of the other athletes and I just kind of roll with it.'

Great Britain 78 USA 118: LeBron James and Co too good for Olympic hosts

Great Britain 78 USA 118: Money men too flash for rookie Brits

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UPDATED:

21:38 GMT, 19 July 2012

As the USA emerged, everyone in the sold-out Manchester Arena turned to their end of the court; camera phones flashed and messages were tweeted, recording the moment 160million worth of wage packets loped out in front of them.

Since the 1936 Olympics, the USA's men have won 13 gold medals in 16 attempts, losing only five of 127 games.

Great Britain, meanwhile, have not fielded an Olympic basketball team since 1948.

Stars and Stripes: The USA were just too good for the hosts in the Olympic warm-up match

Stars and Stripes: The USA were just too good for the hosts in the Olympic warm-up match

Lionel Price, 85, Britain's only surviving basketball Olympian, was present looking, understandably, a little bewildered. He was given a bus pass to get to Harringay Arena 64 years ago.

The USA may have won this exhibition match comfortably but, as all parties kept saying beforehand, it was certainly a 'big deal'.

British basketball started from nothing only five years ago, but last night hosted the defending Olympic champions just days before a home Olympics. That is a big deal.

Some of Britain's own famous sporting names, including Joleon Lescott, Fabr ice Muamba, Darren Fletcher and Amir Khan, were court-side.

Testing times: Great Britain were competitive but were outclassed by the NBA superstars

Testing times: Great Britain were competitive but were outclassed by the NBA superstars

Testing times: Great Britain were competitive but were outclassed by the NBA superstars

We think our Premier League stars are well paid, but the NBA is another level: Kobe Bryant earns around 19.6m a year, plus around 18m in sponsorship deals. LeBron James's annual salary is around 10.4m, with 21m coming in from other commercial interests.

King James could not have looked less interested in proceedings in the warm-up, but for the six minutes and 53 seconds he was on the court in the first quarter he was on another level: fizzing a pass out to the right and collecting rebounds at will.

In the second he coasted towards the basket quite brilliantly and he was showboating by the third, darting in from the right and hanging on the rim.

Court side: Stars including Jordan Henderson, Fabrice Muamba (above) and Danny Cipriani with Harry Kewell (below) were in attendance

Court side: Stars including Jordan Henderson, Fabrice Muamba (above) and Danny Cipriani with Harry Kewell (below) were in attendance

Court side: Stars including Jordan Henderson, Fabrice Muamba (above) and Danny Cipriani with Harry Kewell (below) were in attendance

James, 27, isn't the tallest – 7ft 1in Tyson Chandler takes that honour – but the Olympic Games may not see a more imposing athlete.

Great Britain could not quite match their female counterparts' lightning start on Wednesday night, but they did score first. Joel Freeland broke quickly to capitalise on Pops Mensah-Bonsu's rebound.

London-born Mensah-Bonsu has played 61 games for five NBA teams and certainly looked at home in such esteemed company, snapping up rebounds and yelling 'C'mon Kobe!' when he was penalised for fouling Bryant in the second quarter.

Full house: The manchester Arena was packed to watch Deng and Co take on the Americans

Full house: The manchester Arena was packed to watch Deng and Co take on the Americans

The 28-year-old Freeland and Chicago Bulls and NBA All-Star Luol Deng certainly hold the key to Great Britain's challenge in London.

There was no chance of the USA letting Great Britain off lightly. Maybe, just maybe, this was a 'big deal' for them, too.

Andre Villas-Boas: Tottenham can win Barclays Premier League title

I can win the title with Spurs… but AVB thought that at Chelsea, where he lasted nine months

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UPDATED:

20:16 GMT, 11 July 2012

When Andre Villas-Boas addressed his Tottenham players for the first time, he told them they were capable of winning the title.

Not just challenging for a place among Europe's elite, but trying to lift the Barclays Premier League title. For AVB read ASAP – this is a man in a hurry to rebuild his reputation in the English top flight.

On a mission: Villas-Boas has urged his squad to challenge for the Premier League title this season

On a mission: Villas-Boas has urged his squad to challenge for the Premier League title this season

'We are trying to put together a squad that makes us compete for the title,' said the new Spurs boss.

'It's a proposition I put to the players on the first day we met. We have to see, of course, whether it's realistic or not.

'The fact that most of the players haven't won it in the past can help you get the right frame of mind. From my initial reception from the players, it is possible and, hopefully, we can do it in the near future.'

Harry Redknapp, the man Villas-Boas replaced, said a similar thing after he was so unceremoniously dismissed last month.

Moving on: New Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas (centre) got the sack at Chelsea

Moving on: New Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas (centre) got the sack at Chelsea

'We'll have a go,' was a common Redknapp refrain, a phrase that reflected the manager's ability to motivate his players and the stylish attacking football Spurs played.

Villas-Boas, however, insisted he would be more consistent in his approach to the title and will also play a stronger team in the Europa League, a competition he won in 2011 with Porto.

He was also realistic in accepting Spurs will probably have to do it without Luka Modric, a player who will be allowed to leave only for the 'right offer'.

Villas-Boas said: 'If the player's ambition is to move to another club, we can respect that decision but there are club interests that the chairman will defend.

'One thing that is important is that
we'd like to compete in the four competitions differently, particularly
in the Europa League, which was the first European competition I won.

A lot to live up to: AVB arrived at Chelsea after huge success at Porto

A lot to live up to: AVB arrived at Chelsea after huge success at Porto but was given the boot after nine months

'Last year was the first year, in recent times, Tottenham made it so public that they wanted to go for the title. It was also part of the fact that in a certain period of the season that margin was achievable.

'You also have to agree with me that Harry was in and out of that quotation. It's very well to promote yourself to the title and to quit (concede defeat) the week after.

'Not that this is a criticism but, if we really want to go for it, this is something that we have to assume from the start.'

A new outlook, a new 'head coach' and a new 30million, 73-acre training centre in Enfield, north-east London.

As Villas-Boas sat down with the written press in a dining room deep inside Spurs' impressive new base, which the first team will move into later this summer, it was difficult to think the club could have picked a new boss more different to Redknapp.

Villas-Boas, 34, said: 'Hopefully, I can build on from what Harry left me with – pushing towards even more ambition and towards even more titles.

'Since 2008, we haven't won a trophy, and it's taking Tottenham towards the future that we want. It goes along with all this running of events that you see around Tottenham regarding this new training ground and the new stadium.

'What we want is that winning mentality. That is what we want to build. We want to build it by assuming we have to compete in a different way, by trying to win trophies.'

Spurs' new training ground is so large you need a golf buggy to ferry you from the gate to the 12,000-square metre main building, which houses a pool, hydrotherapy suite, gym and artificial pitch.

One of the four dedicated first-team grass pitches has been built to the exact specifications of White Hart Lane. The complex has the same feeling of exclusivity and luxury as Chelsea's base in Cobham, Surrey.

Villas-Boas noticeably tensed when the subject of Chelsea was raised but insisted his dismissal did not hurt 'on a personal level' and the 'professional experience was extremely good' for his career.

The considerable frustration, almost powerlessness, he described in explaining how Roman Abramovich gave up – 'quit' – on his Chelsea 'project' told a different story, however, but there was also an admission that certain things will have to change if he is to be a success at Spurs.

'I am always a person who defends certain principles that were never understood in England and that requires much more adaptability from myself,' he said.

'I'm not a guy who is able to criticise anyone in public and I am not a guy who promotes individuals in public but I understand now that certain things can be done better and in the end you evolve in different ways. Hopefully, I can apply the different things I have learned properly.'

United stalwart Maurice Watkins, the man who helped shape the Alex Ferguson era, steps down

United stalwart Watkins, the man who helped shape the Fergie era, steps down

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UPDATED:

18:10 GMT, 29 June 2012

Maurice Watkins: End of an era

Maurice Watkins has stepped down from the board of Manchester United.

Watkins' involvement at Old Trafford
spans 28 years and he was influential in the appointment of Sir Alex
Ferguson as manager in 1986.

Chief executive David Gill said: 'Maurice
has been a source of calm, measured advice and someone who always has
the genuine interests of the club at heart.'

Charles Sale: All change as Owen plots his final move

All change as Owen plots his final move

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UPDATED:

22:55 GMT, 27 June 2012

Michael Owen, whose Manchester United contract ends on Saturday, has switched to a new agent for the final move of his playing career.

Owen, who was managed by sports agency giants Wasserman Media Group, is now being looked after by ex-Umbro executive Simon Marsh, who has been a close friend of the former England striker since he signed for the brand as a 15-year-old.

Marsh, who parted company with Umbro after the Nike takeover, is setting up his own football agency and Owen is the first client. He was in Dubai on Owen’s behalf last week discussing the mooted move to Al Shabab, who had been competing with Stoke for his signature.

Making a change: Michael Owen has a new agent

Making a change: Michael Owen has a new agent

WMG, who compiled the famous 32-page brochure to help sell Owen before he left Newcastle to join United in 2009, will continue to work with the 32-year-old on his existing contracts with Umbro and watchmakers Tissot.

But although Owen has enjoyed a long and profitable relationship with WMG, his loyalty to Marsh is the bigger pull.

Mac calls up Tim for sitting on the fence

BBC pundit John McEnroe has made reference to his colleague Tim Henman’s conflict of interests after he stayed on the fence in the fall-out from David Nalbandian’s Queen’s disqualification.

Duel role: John McEnroe mocked Tim Henman for his role at the All England Club and BBC

Duel role: John McEnroe mocked Tim Henman for his role at the All England Club and BBC

McEnroe said in jest that anyone might think Henman was a member of the All England Club’s committee of management — a dual role that somehow doesn’t bother the BBC even if his first priority is to stand up for the AEC.

Hodgson's links spread far and wide

The most unlikely link between Wimbledon and Euro 2012 is that tennis powerbroker Stuart Smith, past president of the Lawn Tennis Association, played in the same school football team at John Ruskin College in Croydon as England manager Roy Hodgson and Steve Kember, the former Chelsea and Crystal Palace forward.

School links: Roy Hodgson was at school with tennis power broker Stuart Smith

School links: Roy Hodgson was at school with tennis power broker Stuart Smith

And one of few books in the games room of England’s Krakow hotel was Rafa Nadal’s autobiography.

Garcia won't stick the boot into McIlroy

Golfer Sergio Garcia, who came to Wimbledon dressed for tennis with a racket in hand, is best placed to have an opinion on Ryder Cup colleague Rory McIlroy’s drastic loss of form since starting a relationship with Caroline Wozniacki, who suffered a shock exit on Wednesday.

Garcia, who went out with former Wimbledon champion Martina Hingis, says: ‘All golfers have highs and lows in their careers whatever is happening in their private life — and it’s great if the pair of them are having fun together.’

More from Charles Sale…

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Charles Sale: Man United chief exec Gill in line to be England's chosen one at UEFA
24/06/12

Charles Sale: FA set to rap Panorama after race scare show
22/06/12

Charles Sale: Will Gerrard give Germans the boot
21/06/12

Charles Sale: Why Platini also missed that 'goal'
20/06/12

Charles Sale: Bendtner's 80k fine 'is just pants'
18/06/12

Charles Sale: Racism row leads to honour rethink
17/06/12

Charles Sale: Sir Alex is write behind Rooney
15/06/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE


Draper’s extra service

Roger Draper, chief executive of the LTA, has been continually under fire over his running of the under-performing organisation since he took charge in 2006.

Yet he could be given an extension to his 400,000-a-year contract which expires at the end of 2013.

Many in tennis would regard a seven-and-a-half-year tenure as more than enough for a CEO who has been subject to so much criticism. But the slight improvement in British tennis, with some promising youngsters coming through, has come at a fortunate time for Draper with talks over his future expected to start soon.

Importantly, he retains the strong support of independent director Richard Baker, chairman of Virgin Active, who is now the most influential voice on the LTA board.
There is also a case for continuity at a time when the LTA are splitting the responsibilities at the top by appointing an independent chairman next year in addition to their president.

talkSPORT producer goes into hiding after ticket touting is exposed

It’s not just Ukraine-based businessman Gary Cook who has been chasing talkSport programme controller Matt Smith for Euro 2012 tickets paid for in advance but not delivered.

TalkSport have had calls from irate listeners allegedly promised Wimbledon and Olympic seats by Smith that have also failed to materialise.

The station’s head of outside broadcasts, who has been staying with breakfast show co-host Ronnie Irani since being called home from Ukraine after his pirate ticket touting started to unravel, is understood to be fighting personal problems, including depression. TalkSport had no comment.

Cardiff ponder kit change from blue to red

Cardiff ponder kit change from blue to red as Asian owners consider shake-up

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UPDATED:

22:06 GMT, 8 May 2012

Cardiff are considering a proposal to change the colour of their kit to red.

Sportsmail understands it is one of a number of options being considered by the club's board as part of a rebranding exercise to boost their chances of attracting greater revenues.

Cardiff – whose nickname is the Bluebirds – lost their npower Championship play-off semi-final tie against West Ham to leave them facing another season in England's second tier.

Blue is the colour: Cardiff chiefs are pondering a radical change

Blue is the colour: Cardiff chiefs are pondering a radical change

The club have been keen to stress that any changes 'will recognise the legitimate interests of the fans' and that there will be further consultation with them following a board meeting to discuss a series of proposals next week.

A club statement read: 'As is usual at this time of year, Cardiff City Football Club directors and key stakeholders are in talks to review all operational aspects of the club as a means to ensure our long-term success, prosperity and sustainability.

'This wide-ranging annual review process is multi-faceted and incorporates plans to continually build the most competitive team possible going forward, deal with historical issues and continue to positively develop the infrastructure of the club.

'We would like to assure supporters that any decisions will include the long-term interests of our supporters, our community and the survival and development of Cardiff City Football Club in a highly competitive and modern sporting industry.

Net result: The South Wales club face another season in the Championship after losing out to West Ham in the play-offs

Net result: The South Wales club face another season in the Championship after losing out to West Ham in the play-offs

'As a club we also appreciate the importance of our history, along with our position within the community. We fully recognise the legitimate interests of the fans, supporters and media in the affairs of the club and their right to information in respect of the same.

'On Tuesday we met with and held discussions with representatives from the local media, along with meeting with recognised supporter group and messageboard delegates.

'During these meetings we discussed the various options going forward, all of which are to be ratified in upcoming board meetings as already mentioned.

'As such we will communicate any decisions made as quickly as possible, but it serves no interest to comment in depth at this time until those decisions have been taken. We would anticipate that the review will be concluded within the next week, after which a comprehensive briefing will follow.'

Cardiff have also reached an agreement with the Cardiff Blues rugby team for the latter to terminate their lease at the Cardiff City Stadium with effect from June 1 and move to the Arms Park.

Damien Comolli: The numbers don"t add up

The numbers don't add up as the Beane counter on Merseyside makes his exit

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UPDATED:

22:59 GMT, 12 April 2012

When the trend for sending statistical analysis to managers on a Monday morning began, Kenny Dalglish filed them in the bin.

Back in the early Nineties, Dalglish relied on craft and confidence to spot a player rather than numbers. /04/12/article-2129004-12918515000005DC-655_468x286.jpg” width=”468″ height=”286″ alt=”Firing line: Damien Comolli has been axed as director of football at Liverpool” class=”blkBorder” />

Firing line: Damien Comolli has been axed as director of football at Liverpool

He was enthralled by the science of sabermetrics, the system developed and designed by Billy Beane to upset the odds in Major League Baseball.

Beane capitalised on the identification of under-valued players performing better than highly paid rivals, taking Oakland Athletics to the post-season play-offs four times between 1999 and 2003 in his role as general manager.

He was big business, forming a friendship with John W Henry and Tom Werner, the two main men at Fenway, despite turning them down for the manager’s job at Boston Red Sox in 2003.

Comolli became friends with Beane, travelling to the United States to watch the baseball at Oakland Athletics and mining the American for information. Beane responded, taking to football and sharing his philosophies, thoughts and ideas as Comolli grew into his new role at Liverpool.

Speaking on talkSPORT’s Press Pass show recently, Beane said: ‘He follows the As, I follow Liverpool.

‘I’m very good friends with Tom Werner as well. It’s a friendship based on our mutual interests. I watch every match I can and interact with Damien from a fan’s standpoint.

‘Even as recently as the other day when Liverpool played Everton, I watched that game and Gerrard’s hat-trick and immediately congratulated Damien afterward.’

The Frenchman has always wanted to find the edge, combing his way through reams of statistical analysis in his previous role with St Etienne in the search for perfection.

He argued with Beane about the psychological profiling, failing to be convinced that he could break another barrier in European football. Rookie baseball players are profiled at college, sharing their personality along with their skills.

Comolli cited examples from his previous clubs, bringing up the statistics for Kevin-Prince Boateng when he signed for Tottenham — Comolli’s former club — in 2007.

On paper he looked like a world beater when he arrived from Hertha Berlin, given the potential to develop under Comolli’s wing and in the first team under Martin Jol.

Although he has since done well at AC Milan, he barely made an impact at Spurs, too immature for top-class professional football, and was loaned out to Borussia Dortmund a little more than a year after he arrived at White Hart Lane.

Keeper Heurelho Gomes was signed from PSV Eindhoven based purely on statistical evidence and without specific questioning about whether his attributes would suit English football.

Beane believed there was more to talent spotting than having an eye for the game.

He said: ‘Ultimately, what you really care about when you’re making a decision on an athlete is, “How good a player is he” Show me the information. Prove to me why he is a good player as opposed to just fantasising about it or trusting your eye.’

Role models: Damien Comolli studied the success of the Oakland Athletics

Role models: Damien Comolli studied the success of the Oakland Athletics

Fenway trusted Comolli’s judgment when he attempted to adopt a policy of buying mainly British players, a system borrowed from Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.

At Spurs they bought them cheap and sold them on for big money. At Liverpool, they looked through the stats and signed them anyway.

Stewart Downing, Aston Villa’s player of the year, was brought in because of his outstanding record of providing crosses leading to goalscoring attempts. It didn’t seem to matter that he lacks impact on the big stage.

Charlie Adam, sold by Rangers and moved on to Blackpool, was bought because of his remarkable record in front of goal for Ian Holloway’s side and the number of chances he created from corners.

Struggling: Both Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll have failed to match their pricetag

Struggling: Both Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll have failed to match their pricetag

He elaborated on Craig Bellamy’s electrifying runs down the left and the statistics that appeared to buck common sense by claiming he was a willing team worker.

Andy Carroll, signed for 35million in a panic-buy deal on deadline day from Newcastle, had an excellent record for converting chances with his head.

It didn’t appear to occur to anyone whether he would fit the pass-and-move culture that began in the Sixties under Bill Shankly.

After almost a year at Anfield, no-one is still quite sure why they signed Jordan Henderson from Sunderland last summer, statistics or not.

On Comolli’s watch, Liverpool signed nine players for a grand total of 115.8m and none of them — Luis Suarez included — can be deemed a total success.

In Fenway’s final analysis, even the statistics couldn’t hide the brutal truth.

Martin O"Neill calls Niall Quinn "Mr Sunderland"

A true icon! O'Neill pays fitting tribute to vision and drive of departing Quinn

Niall Quinn was dubbed ‘Mr Sunderland’ by manager Martin O’Neill on Monday after the former chairman announced his decision to leave the club.

The 45-year-old, who put together the Drumaville consortium which took control of the club in 2006, had been in an international development role since October. He had also played for the Black Cats for six seasons.

On his way: Niall Quinn (left) with Sunderland owner Ellis Short

On his way: Niall Quinn (left) with Sunderland owner Ellis Short

But his long involvement with
Sunderland came to an end yesterday when the former Republic of Ireland
striker confirmed he is to concentrate on his family and business
interests.

Legend: Quinn first joined Sunderland as a player

Legend: Quinn first joined Sunderland as a player

O’Neill, who was recruited by Quinn
and current chairman Ellis Short to be Steve Bruce’s replacement in
December, said: ‘Niall has been a truly iconic figure at Sunderland,
both as a player and in his time leading the club from the top. His
vision and drive, alongside that of Ellis, played a significant part in
me coming here.

‘Like everyone, I couldn’t be more
disappointed that he has decided to step down, but of course I respect
and understand his decision. He has been the heartbeat of the football
club for so long and his legacy is immeasurable. To me, he is Mr
Sunderland – and always will be.’

Quinn took over as chairman after the
club’s relegation from the Barclays Premier League in 2006 and
persuaded Short, an American businessman, to buy out Drumaville and
replace him last year.

Tribute: Martin O'Neill said his club were losing 'Mr Sunderland'

Tribute: Martin O'Neill said his club were losing 'Mr Sunderland'

He said: ‘Sunderland is in an
incredibly fortunate position to have a hugely talented team of people
leading the club. Everything is in place for Sunderland to really make a
statement, which was always my aim.
'From a football perspective, securing the services of Martin O’Neill has been an absolute highlight.

‘One thing is for sure, I’ll still
have that knot in my stomach before kick-off and the feeling of pure
elation at the final whistle if the result has gone our way – that will
never leave me.’

Short said he was sad about the departure of his friend but vowed to carry on his work.

Just champion: Ascot thriller and Frankel and Kauto Star spark TV bonanza

Just champion: Ascot thriller plus Frankel and Kauto Star popularity spark TV bonanza

The success of the inaugural British Champions Day has reinvigorated interest in racing from mainstream broadcasters, according to the man heading negotiations on the sale of future TV rights.

Richard Fitzgerald, chief executive of Racecourse Media Group which represents the media interests of 30 of Britain’s racecourses, says reinforcing weekend fixtures has also been crucial as well as billboard acts like Frankel and Kauto Star.

Over one million BBC viewers watched Frankel head the cast at Ascot on Champions Day in October.

The host broadcaster’s two-year deal ends after this year’s fixture and Racemail understands renewal talks have also involved C4, ITV and Sky.

Top draw: Frankel winning the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October

Top draw: Frankel winning the Queen
Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October

Fitzgerald refused to comment directly on negotiations but said: ‘We had a particularly good 12 months and it did have an effect. What we have done with the sport, and British Champions day is a part of it, has opened it up to being more than just racing. There is also an entertainment and celebrity angle which has got broadcasters thinking wider.

‘For the commercial broadcasters, the changes in bookmaker advertising rules has also made a difference. We are looking to announce something at the end of the first quarter.’

Money generated by RMG, which operates specialist Racing UK pay-to-view channel with its 43,000 subscribers, is returned to shareholders including Cheltenham, Goodwood and Newbury. It rose from 4.4m in 2009 to close to 13m last year.

Fitzgerald, former chief executive of Aston Villa who spent 18 years with sports, media and entertainment conglomerate IMG working on the Premier League, Test Cricket and European Tour golf, has been labelled with a spiky reputation, particularly through brushes with the trade newspaper the Racing Post over data use and filming rights. But he argues he has brought an objective view to the sport.

He said: ‘I’m a live sport guy. I wouldn’t call myself a racing person, although I enjoy it and the people in it. Nor would you want me to be, because you can take a slightly step-back position.

‘We have a fantastic media landscape – the most terrestrial coverage of any sport in the UK which is quite staggering when you read about the demise of racing.

'We have partnered with C4 very closely in last two years and the benefits are showing. The audiences are up five per cent on Saturdays in the last five months. The one thing we are beginning to do is understand the customer better.

‘Strengthening Saturday fixtures has been really important, as well as re-launching The Morning Line.’

RMG’s overseas arm GBI, a partnership with the channel Attheraces, already sells British racing to countries as diverse as Azerbaijan and Uruguay and is about to sign a deal with Israel, which Fitzgerald says has the potential to be the ‘biggest market yet’.

However, he denies RMG’s recent acquisition of a stake in the Racing Plus newspaper is an attempt to muscle in on Racing Post territory.

With mobile and websites to follow, Racing Plus will re-launch later this month.

Fitzgerald added: ‘Racing UK is all about live racing, which we do well, but it is not a betting brand. Long term this is about creating a betting path.

‘We are a weekly paper. We can build the circulation and editorial but we are not going to rival the Racing Post with all its resources.’