VfL Wolfsburg seem to be losing their footing in Germany’s top division. (Getty Images)

Probe Centers on Wolfsburg Owner, Sponsor

Suspect sponsorship negotiations are the subject of a bribery probe surrounding a club in Germany’s top football division.
The Financial Times reported that officials are investigating whether Deutsche Telekom employees attempted to secure potentially lucrative deals with Volkswagen by offering to renew their company’s sponsorship of VfL Wolfsburg, a Bundesliga side owned by the German car giant.
The sponsorship was set to expire last year, but a Stuttgart prosecutor told the newspaper such an incentive – even if refused – would qualify as bribery.
“Although the matter is closed for us internally, we brought in the prosecutor’s office as a precaution,” Deutsche Telekom was quoted.
According to the Times, VW is conducting its own review of the allegations while cooperating with German authorities. 
Wolfsburg were Bundesliga champions in 2008-2009 but they are on the verge of getting relegated.

Abu Dhabi Latest Beneficiary of Sports Academy
Real Madrid are the latest elite European club to extend their reach into the Middle East.

Just weeks after an agreement to sponsor Saudi Arabia’s first sports academy, the Spanish La Liga giant partnered with Baniyas Holding to do the same for United Arab Emirates.
“The efforts of the academy will be employed for the benefit of stimulating all cultural aspects related to sports, forming local talents and preparing them for a bright future,” Baniyas CEO Wael Tawil was quoted by media in UAE.
Club president Florentino Perez was among the delegation from Spain to attend Tuesday’s inauguration ceremony in Abu Dhabi.
The Real Madrid Foundation is also planning academies in Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Kurdistan, Qatar, Syria and Yemen. Both FC Inter Milan and FC Arsenal announced openings last month in the Middle East and North Africa. 
Chivas USA Unveils Corona-Sponsored Shirts
Corona Extra will emblazon the shirt fronts of Chivas USA when the MLS season kicks off next month.
Players show off their new shirts at Wednesday’s unveiling. (Chivas USA)
Key players from both parties were in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday to reveal the fruits of a sponsorship forged last month.
“Corona Extra is one of the best-known and most authentic Mexican brands in the world,” club president Antonio Cué said at the shirt unveiling. 
“We are delighted that this partnership will bring together Chivas and Corona, two of the most important and recognized worldwide brands.”
The multi-year deal will also give the beer brand a presence throughout Home Depot Center, a soccer-specific stadium Chivas shares with the L.A. Galaxy.

MLS Awards Canadian TV Rights
Major League Soccer will have a new Canadian broadcaster when the Vancouver Whitecaps make their league debut next month.

A six-year deal that will see The Sports Network air 24 games this season and 30 for each of the following five seasons, according to Reuters.
When a Montreal expansion franchise joins MLS in 2012, the league will have three Canadian clubs.

Whitecaps
Outstrip Earnings of Rest of MLS
Vancouver has yet to play an MLS game, but the Whitecaps are already in first place.

“They are the leading sponsorship team in all of Major League Soccer,” commission Don Garber was quoted by the Vancouver Sun. 
“Even with Los Angeles and its stadium and David Beckham, the largest sponsorship base is here in Vancouver.”
The Whitecaps have four founding partners in place for their March 19 debut, including beer brewer Labatt and shirt sponsor Bell Canada.
“It is one of the larger nonmedia, stand-alone sports sponsorships in sports in America and Canada,” Garber said of the deal with Bell, who refuses to attach a dollar figure to the partnership.
“It’s a sports sponsorship that any pro league would be proud of, whether it’s here or in European football.”

DHL, Man U Ink Sponsorship
Manchester United has a new official logistics partner.

Man U players and DHL execs celebrate the partnership. (Man U)
DHL signed a three-year deal this week that gives the German shipping giant perimeter board rights as well as advertising opportunities in match-day programs and on the website of the Premier League powerhouse.
“DHL are a globally recognized organization and their commitment to excellence and high standards makes them an ideal partner for Manchester United,” Reds CEO David Gill said in a statement.
“I’m delighted to welcome them to our family of sponsors and look forward to the opportunities this partnership will create.”
DHL will also work in conjunction with the Manchester United Foundation to develop youth programs in the Manchester area.

By INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson

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