An ever-widening sports scandal in China that has already claimed Shanghai’s top Communist party official Chen Liangyu could threaten the ATP’s Tennis Masters Cup, according to Indian news site Zeenews.com.
“It doesn’t affect our tournament. I feel it’s in good shape we’ve got a partner and promoter who work very closely in Shanghai, they’ve been here for years and years and they keep us abreast of any issues,” the ATP’s David Higdon told reporters. “They’ve kept a handle on that and everyone feels very confident it’s in good shape. We feel confident that everything’s been achieved here.”
Shanghai spent $200 million solely to build the state-of-the-art Qi Zhong stadium complex last year exclusively for the Masters Cup. Perhaps backpedaling on a statement last month that he would like to see the event leave China and come back to Europe, ATP chairman Etienne de Villiers has now done a 180-degree turn and extended the Shanghai Masters Cup contract by a year to 2008, with the option of holding it again in 2009.
“The original agreement was three years, they extended earlier this year and asked for the fourth year,” said the rapidly-spinning Higdon in the land where “saving face” is of utmost importance — especially after your hosts have laid out a welcome mat of a couple hundred million dollars, and you’ve told them you’d rather leave. “They have an option for 2009 and they’ll let us know early next year. There’s been talk about possibly the 2009 Masters Cup going somewhere else but right now it’s all preliminary.”
According to Zeenews.com, “All land belongs to the state in China and real estate tycoons have enriched themselves from close collusion with government officials during the country’s recent property boom. Shanghai officials are accused of raiding state pension coffers to fund speculative property and highway deals. The case has ensnared more than a dozen senior politicians as well as business executives. All have been removed from their posts. Yu Zhifei, general manager of the Shanghai circuit which hosts Formula One and Moto Grand Prix, was questioned in connection with the scandal last month, state media reported. Hong Kong media have said Yu has close links to the ousted municipal party chief Chen Liangyu, whose administration was responsible for bringing Formula One to China. More than 100 central government investigators have been dispatched to China’s commercial hub to pursue the probe.”
Real Estate tycoons + raiding state pension coffers = $200 million stadiums and new Formula One races? Stay tuned for more new from Shanghai.
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