TOKYO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Cash-strapped former Japanese
champions Tokyo Verdy have been thrown a lifeline after signing
a sponsorship deal with a sports store chain.
Verdy's five-year deal with Xebio paves the way for the
club to continue their business operations in 2011 subject to
approval by the J-League.
Verdy, J-League champions in 1993 and 1994, are currently
fifth in the second division and pushing for promotion back to
the top flight.
The J-League told Reuters on Wednesday that Verdy could
receive formal approval after a special board meeting on October
"The board will have to approve Verdy's promotion if they
finish inside the top three," the J-League told Reuters. "They
will have to meet the J-League's conditions."
Last year Nippon Television Network Corp., which held a
98.8 percent stake in the club, withdrew their financial
"There was no time to wait for a 'white knight' to appear,"
Verdy President Hideyuki Hanyu told Japan's Nikkan Sports.
"After talks with Xebio several companies decided to invest."
The J-League had ordered Verdy to secure sponsorship
revenue of at least 540 million yen ($6.62 million) but they
failed to do so. Hanyu, however, has outlined an increased
budget of 800 million yen.
"If things go to plan we hope to be able to announce a new
administration by mid-November," said Hanyu.
Japanese sport has been hit hard by the global financial
crisis, which has seen the world's largest carmaker Toyota and
Japan's number two manufacturer Honda quit Formula One.
Subaru, Suzuki and Kawasaki have also pulled out of
motorsport, while local football, rugby and ice hockey have all
felt the economic pinch.
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