Chelsea transfer guru Marina Granovskaia expected to depart....ManU CEO Richard Arnold meets upset fans at pub....World Athletics could follow FINA with ban on transgender athletes

Marina Granovskaia expected to leave Chelsea

Marina Granovskaia will reportedly "become the next big-name exit at Chelsea" after the club confirmed Bruce Buck has agreed to stand down as chair. Buck is giving up his role, which Todd Boehly is expected to fill, at the end of this month, and Granovskaia is understood to be "in line to follow." Sources said she will go "before the transfer window shuts," which would leave Boehly not only to take on Buck’s chairmanship, but "also take over transfer negotiations," which Granovskaia had been in charge of during Roman Abramovich's reign. Chelsea’s new Boehly-Clearlake owners "will almost certainly have to appoint a new sporting director," having already been linked with Atlético Madrid’s Andrea Berta. Granovskaia’s exit will "further underline the enormous operational change at Chelsea" since the Boehly-Clearlake takeover was completed, with former CEO Guy Laurence and now Buck and Granovskaia following Abramovich out of the door (London TELEGRAPH, 6/20).

Granovskaia could leave with a £20M ($24.5M) bonus that she received in addition to her seven-figure salary for her work on the £4.25B ($5.2B) takeover. Buck had become an "increasingly polarising figure, having been a member of the group involved in the aborted discussions to launch a controversial European Super League last year." Buck was also the driving force behind a £5M ($6.1M) golden farewell bonus for former EPL CEO Richard Scudamore (LONDON TIMES, 6/20). The Financial Times reported in May that Buck and Granovskaia "had been offered the opportunity to remain in place" following last month’s sale, but that plan "drew a rebuke" from UK Conservative MP Julian Knight, who said at the time, "Any continuity with the Abramovich regime at Chelsea is certainly an unsettling development" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/20).

ManU CEO Arnold praised for meeting fans at pub

ManU fans have backed CEO Richard Arnold after he "discussed the future of the club with protesting supporters." Arnold, who had been "tipped off" that a protest against the Glazers was going to take place near to Cheshire home, "met the fans and discussed issues" ranging from the future of the club to signing MF Frenkie de Jong. Arnold asked the supporters "for a clean slate having only started his role recently." He went on to "make a subtle dig" at predecessor Ed Woodward when he rhetorically asked, "Do you want me buying the players? Does that not ring a bell?" Arnold then claimed that Director of Football John Murtough "is working from six in the morning until 10 at night" to sign De Jong for Manager Erik ten Hag. Arnold's chat with fans was a "rare moment of communication with the United hierarchy and has led to praise from many supporters on Twitter" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 6/19).

Fans had "been planning a protest outside Arnold’s Cheshire home." Arnold bought drinks for the group and reportedly said that money was "not a consideration" in the club’s summer recruitment drive. A club spokesperson said, "Richard heard that a group of fans had gathered in a pub near his house. He went to meet them, bought them all a drink, listened to their views, and explained what the club is doing to deliver success on the pitch, improve the stadium, and strengthen engagement with fans" (PA, 6/19). Arnold "may not have been aware that one of the group had their phone pointed in his direction" as he described last season, which he called a "nightmare" (, 6/19).

World Athletics may adopt FINA's trans ruling

World Athletics is "likely to follow swimming" in imposing a ban on transgender athletes from elite women’s races, with President Sebastian Coe stressing that “biology trumps gender” when it comes to fairness in competition. FIFA is also considering following FINA’s new policy, which states that anyone who has gone through male puberty "cannot take part in female competitions regardless of whether they have transitioned to become a woman." FINA plans to create an open category and a protected female category. Coe said athletics’ rules are "being reviewed" but he "made it clear which side of the argument he falls on and applauded swimming for its stance." FIFA is also going through a period of consultation on the issue and one senior figure said that the outcome would be "science-based" (LONDON TIMES, 6/20).

Spain pulling plug on bid for '30 Winter Games

The Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) has "definitively ruled out" a bid for the '30 Winter Games by Catalonia and Aragon, Spain, after "a series of disagreements between the communities." The COE now plans to present a new bid for the '34 Winter Games, "which could be carried out by Catalonia alone." Last week, Catalonia split with Aragon and announced that it would bid by itself, but the COE "never considered this possibility." The COE had announced in May that if Catalonia and Aragon did not agree to a joint bid, they would have to choose a project led by one of the two parites, "but the COE is now looking for alternatives for the '34 Games" (PALCO23, 6/20). Zaragoza (Aragon) Mayor Jorge Azcón called the COE's decision "bad news" and said that it is time to "identify those who are responsible." He said, "If the COE does announce the withdrawal of the bid, it will be time to demand responsibility and know why such an exciting project has not materialized" (AS, 6/20).

John Textor nearing deal for Ligue 1 side Lyon

U.S. digital entrepreneur John Textor is close to reaching an agreement to "buy a significant stake" in the publicly traded owner of Ligue 1 team Lyon. Sources said that Textor would pay €3 ($3.15) a share for a "key stake in the Olympique Lyonnais owner after shareholders Pathe SAS and IDG Capital decided to sell." Textor has been in a "bidding war" with Foster Gillett, the American businessman, and a third bidder (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 6/20).

See more on this story in today's Morning Buzz.

Australia's Tim Cahill buys Extreme E racing team

Former Australian soccer player Tim Cahill is set to make a “shock sporting comeback” as a race team owner after buying a share in an Extreme E team. Cahill: "The combination of thrilling, competitive racing and leaving a lasting, positive impact makes the sport totally unique. We look to bring a significant new audience to Extreme E." Part of the XE Sports Group, Cahill and his company will race in season three of the Extreme E series. Cahill’s team will become the first Asia Pacific team to be based in Australia. The current Extreme E line-up includes teams run by legendary motorsport names including McLaren, Lewis Hamilton (X44), Nico Rosberg (Rosberg X Racing) Jenson Button (JBXE), and Carlos Sainz (ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team) (Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH, 6/20).

Short Takes

World Rugby and the IOC are facing calls to strip the Stade de France -- the site of the chaos at this year's Champions League final, which is due to hold the Rugby World Cup semifinals and final in '23 and then the Olympic athletics events in '24 -- from hosting their showpiece events ahead of an appearance of Liverpool fans at the French Senate on Tuesday (London TELEGRAPH, 6/19).

Saudi Arabia has set its sights on hosting a women’s tennis tour event in the country, the WTA has confirmed (London TELEGRAPH, 6/18). See more in today's SBJ Morning Buzz.

LaLiga side Real Valladolid "made public its new corporate identity" on Monday, taking advantage of the club's 94th anniversary to reveal a new logo (AS, 6/20).

Wimbledon announced that it will allow players to train on Centre Court and No. 1 Court this year, "a break from tradition." Last year, two players were seriously injured on Centre Court, Adrian Mannarino and Serena Williams (EFE, 6/20).

Man City owner CFG is reportedly finalizing the acquisiton of Italian soccer club Palermo, which has secured promotion to Serie B for the '22-23 season. It is understood CFG will pay around €12-15M ($12.6-15.8M), with a deal expected to be completed by June 30 (PALCO23, 6/20).

The London Marathon will remain on BBC Sport after signing a five-year broadcast rights extension with the event organizers (BBC, 6/19).

Heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Oleksandr Usyk will take place in Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Super Dome on August 20, it was confirmed on Sunday (LONDON TIMES, 6/19).

Former Australian cricketer Lisa Sthalekar has been appointed as the first female president of FICA, the sport's international players association (NZ HERALD, 6/20).

Team Liquid has launched a new Brazilian ecommerce store for fans of the region looking for goods that can be shipped domestically to Brazilians. Brazil, with its more than 81 million gaming and esports fans, will soon have a dedicated online outlet, in Portuguese. See more from SBJ's Kevin Hitt here.

What They're Saying

"I hope they can take a leaf out of what’s happened with the IPL, because the fundamental truth of it is Australia is such a massive cricketing superpower and there is no reason why the Big Bash should not be up there (as a top league). It just needs a bit of rejuvenation" -- Indian Premier League powerbroker Ravneet Gill, on what the recent IPL rights auction means for Australia's Big Bash League (Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH, 6/20).

"Activating these levers will move us out of intensive care into a ward where we can receive more treatments, and soon leave the hospital" -- Barcelona President Joan Laporta, on the effect that the "economic levers," approved by club members last week, will have on the organization's financial health (THE ATHLETIC, 6/17).

"It's really disappointing to see Wimbledon exploiting tennis fans. There's never been a worse time to launch an NFT scheme nor a worse time to buy them" -- Sports finance expert Martin Calladine, on Wimbledon launching an NFT collection called "The Centenary Collection" (London TELEGRAPH, 6/18).

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