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AC Milan’s New American Owners / Gender-ball Equity

The New York Yankees and a Los Angeles-based investment fund that includes LeBron James are to invest in Italian Serie A club AC Milan along with US firm RedBird Capital Partners, which is on the verge of a deal to buy the Italian football champions for 1.2 billion EUR, according to the Financial Times. Gerry Cardinale, RedBird’s founder and managing partner, announced in June a preliminary deal to buy Milan from another US firm, Elliot Management, with closing planned for September.

Officials close to RedBird would not comment on the new report, but said an announcement would be made in the coming days. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the final deal has not been announced. Milan, a seven-time European champion, is celebrating its first league title in 11 years.

The Yankees, winners of 27 Major League Baseball World Series titles, are already involved in the football world as co-owners with Manchester City of MLS’s New York City FC. Main Street Advisors, the fund in which James is involved, also has rapper Drake among its partners, as well as English Premier League club Liverpool and Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox. James and Drake will be passive investors in Milan through the fund and have not acquired direct shares, the newspaper said.

RedBird also has a stake in Fenway Sports Group, which owns Liverpool and the Red Sox. Champions League rules prohibit two clubs in the competition from having the same owner, to protect the integrity of the matches. UEFA will almost certainly have to assess the extent of RedBird’s influence on decisions at Liverpool. RedBird will be Milan’s fourth owner in five years.

Gender-ball Equity

Although Serena Williams is set to retire at the end of this year’s US Open run, another story is capturing the attention of reporters: the balls. This year, the US Open is using different balls for men and women. According to reports, the women’s ball is lighter, which means that the ball moves faster. A faster, lighter ball also means less control and more errors. For obvious reasons, players are not too happy. The most outspoken critic of the new balls has been none other than world number one Iga Swiatek. Swiatek was asked her opinion of the Wilson US Open balls used during the US Open Series tour. Swiatek expressed her displeasure with the balls and how light they were. She said many, especially players in the Top 10, are unhappy with the balls because they cause a lot of errors, and it’s not nice to watch or play a match with them.

That said, the US Open has been using this ball for years. The players already know the difference, so why bring up the subject now? Because already in the last few years, players have learned to use their voices to talk about important things like mental health. There are already changes in care and services to help each person, and now by opening this ball debate, there will be one more conversation. Following the statements from top-tenners Swiatek, Badosa, and Pegula, there will be meetings between the tours and the players’ councils to decide the best course of action on tennis balls at tournaments. New balls? Time will tell.