Borussia Dortmund have confirmed that midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will not renew his contract with the Bundesliga club.The Germany international’s current deal expires next summer and although it was widely believed he would not extend his stay at Signal Iduna Park beyond then, it has yet to be confirmed up until now.Last week speculation suggested that Manchester United were ‘closing in’ on his signature for a fee believed to be in the region of €30 million (£22m), before a number of other top European clubs were linked with the midfielder.The German apparently held talks regarding a possible United transfer while David Moyes was in charge at Old Trafford, with the 24-year-old seen as a natural successor to Michael Carrick.It remains to be seen whether Gundogan will follow departing coach Juergen Klopp out of the club at the end of the current Bundesliga campaign, but the German club may look to cash-in rather than letting him go on a free next year, as was the case with former striker Robert Lewandowski.Lewandowski spent four years with Dortmund and notched 74 league goals in 131 matches, though he opted not to sign a new contract and saw out the final year of his deal before joining arch rivals Bayern Munich on a free transfer. MAN UNITED BOUND?It has been widely expected that Gundogan would leave Dortmund this summer, and this news now pretty much confirms it.The German club will not want to let one of their best players leave on a free next summer, especially when they will receive in the region of £20m – £25m for him.The English press went big on the Manchester United rumours and while the hype has died down a bit, with subsequent reports suggesting the earlier ones were premature, the feeling in England is certainly that United are favourites, given he has been a long-term target and they so clearly need a midfielder of that ilk.Arsenal are in the market for someone more defensive (Schneiderlin probably) and they have Ramsey, Wilshere and Cazorla who would play in the Gundogan position. VIEW FROM GERMANY Tobias Hlusiak, Eurosport Germany: This news really isn’t a surprise for anyone following professional football. Gundogan did extend his contract one year ago when he was seriously injured, but only for 365 more days.That made it quite clear what he was up to.Dortmund presented him with a possible contract-extension months ago, but Gundogan never really thought about signing it.So they felt he was leaving. That’s why they already lined up possible replacements in Leverkusen’s Gonzalo Castro and Mainz’ Johannes Geiss. As far as Gundogan’s future is concerned, it has seemed quite certain that he would be going to the Premier league for a long time.But in the last few days more and more rumours about Bayern have emerged. Dortmund fans are afraid of losing their next top-talent to Guardiola’s squad. But my sources say that England is more likely. United seem to be in the driver’s seat.–
BIG MONEY UP FOR GRABS Last year, the winner, subsequent ‘Horse of the Year’ SEEKING MY DREAM, received a record $6.5 million, while lucrative purse money was paid to the first 10 past the post, an unprecedented move. In addition, a commemorative trophy valued at $500,000 donated by the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission will be won outright by the owner of the winner, while the winning trainer, jockey, breeder and groom will also receive trophies. The launch, though put on this early for a race scheduled to be run in December, attracted the top executives from related entities, including Cedric Stewart, CEO of Caymanas Track Limited; Paul Hoo, chairman of Supreme Ventures Limited and Gary Peart, chairman of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission who conceived the idea for the Diamond Mile in the summer of last year. In a brief address, Peart said: “The BG&LC is pleased to report on the highly successful inaugural staging of the Diamond Mile , held just seven weeks ago, on Saturday, December 5, 2015, exceeded all expectations. The main objectives of the event were to stimulate growth of the racing sector, to increase revenue for the Government of Jamaica and to attract new target groups to racing, thereby also creating a positive cultural shift for the racing community and I am happy to report we achieved all of that and more. “The record for the highest handle ($66 million) for any one race was broken, so too the record for the most money spent on any one race, despite the fact that the inaugural Diamond Mile was held against competing high-profile events. “The turnout was excellent and all guests enjoyed themselves thoroughly,” said Peart, who disclosed that plans are in the pipeline of creating a five-year plan for the Diamond Mile including a week-long festival of racing. – O.C. Two major changes have been made for the second running of the $13.9 million Diamond Mile to be run on Saturday, December 10 this year. This was announced at the recent launch by CTL’s racing secretary Denzil Miller Jr, following consultations with racing stakeholders and the organisers of the event, the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission and corporate sponsors, including Supreme Ventures Limited. The organisers were responding to concerns among owners and trainers that last year’s inaugural running on December 5 saw the omission of a number of good horses who, despite their form, did not have the requisite lifetime earnings to force their way in the field (first 16). These horses include the Caymanas Invitational Mile winner PHINEAS, Caribbean Sprint Champion POKER STAR, as well as CAMPESINO and the vastly improved filly LONG RUNNING TRAIN. This has prompted two major conditional changes going forward. First of these is that the winners of the Jamaica Derby, the Superstakes, Caribbean Sprint Championship and Invitational Mile will get automatic entry into the race. The second change is that instead of lifetime earnings, the other horses will earn their place based on their year-to-date earnings from January 1, 2016 to December 3. Earnings gained from claiming races will not be considered. This year the race will offer a record $13.9 million (US$115,000) which represents an increase over last year’s purse due mainly to the movement of the Jamaican dollar against the US dollar.
Aviation Online has entered into an agreement with Bhutan AirlinesAviation Online has entered into an agreement with Bhutan AirlinesAviation Online has entered into an agreement with Bhutan Airlines to be their General Sales Agent (GSA) and representative in Australia, New Zealand and the Territories.The operation will run from Aviation Online’s head office on Clarence Street in Sydney and the appointment will further develop the Bhutan Airlines sales, marketing and distribution strategy in the region.Aviation Online will have access to Bhutan Airlines reservation system and will be able to quote, book and issue tickets on flights operated by Bhutan Airlines.Tony Wilson, General Manager for Aviation Online said: “We are delighted to be working with Bhutan Airlines. As well as servicing the sizeable Bhutanese community in Australia, Aviation Online will work tirelessly to promote the airline and the region itself. The Kingdom of Bhutan is a unique place, and we consider ourselves fortunate to be able to contribute to the continued growth of this exciting, up-and-coming destination”The new contact details for Bhutan Airlines are:PH: 1300 781 747Email: [email protected] Bhutan AirlinesBhutan Airlines is the first private Airline, formed by the Tashi Group of Companies, the largest business house in Bhutan. Tashi Group was formed more than 50 years ago and operates shopping centres, several brand of hotels, mobile phone, many large and small industries, from carpet weaving, beverages and brewery, to large industries such as Ferro Alloys, and Calcium Carbide.Bhutan airlines started its International fights in October 2013 with an A320 aircraft on a wet lease. On the 24th of April 2014, Bhutan Airline’s new Airbus A319 -112 aircraft with seating configuration of 120 comprising 8 Business class, 16 Premium Economy and 96Economy class seats started operating and today has daily flights from Paro to Bangkok via Kolkata, and 3 times per week flights from Paro into Delhi via Kathmandu.About Aviation OnlineAviation Online is also the GSA for Alitalia, Air Serbia, Brussels airlines, Air Malta, Hawaiian Airlines and Samoa Airways.Source = Aviation Online