Galaxy overlords AEG rule out Prem investment

July 16, 2007

Los Angeles Galaxy owners Anschutz Entertainment Group have ruled out a major investment in a Barclays Premier League club and are now turning down bids themselves following the signing of David Beckham.

AEG chief executive and president Tim Leiweke, who persuaded Beckham to sign for the Galaxy, claimed there had been a recent US dollars 100 million bid for the Major League Soccer outfit but insists his company would not be joining the foreign investors flocking to the Barclays Premier League.

AEG own three Major League Soccer franchises including the Galaxy as well as the Los Angeles Kings National Hockey League side and London's O2 Arena. Yet Leiweke believes his company would be out of its depth owning a Premier League club.

'I wouldn't expect us to be there. We've had a lot of opportunities to purchase the majority of clubs in the Premier League over the past seven years and it's just not our area of expertise.

'We put some significant money into the O2 in London and we're doing quite well with that. That's what we do and we do that well.

'But I think the Premier League is a different animal than Major League Soccer because you don't have a (salary) cap and you don't have a single entity system so you're only as good and as challenged as anyone that's willing to spend what they're willing to spend.

'There are some pretty good heavy hitters in that league and maybe that's a little bit more than we should be biting off at this point.

'That said, I think around the world there are opportunities in football and certainly Asia is a market that is of high interest to us.'

Leiweke revealed that he has been knocking back bids himself as Beckham's arrival in Los Angeles has awakened interest in the financial possibilities for MLS clubs.

'We've been approached a lot for the team. We had someone recently approach us and say they'd give us 100 million dollars. We said `we're not interested'.

'This team is not for sale and I don't care who walks in and I don't care what they offer, we're not interested.

'We have a vision and a plan for this organisation and this stadium. We created it just six or seven years ago and there were a lot of people who disagreed with us and didn't see the potential. But if you look at it today I think we're scratching the surface. This is pretty good but I think it gets better than this and I think that's what we're going to do.

'We're going to stay the course here. We made a bet a while back. Some people didn't think the league would make it but we're at a point now where from a business viewpoint we're not only going to get our money back in our pocket with soccer but we'll make a couple of dollars.

'I think that's pretty remarkable.'