Fri, Oct 17, 2003 - Page 22 News List

Beckham decides to cut ties with SFX Sports Group

AP , LONDON

Real Madrid's striker David Beckham of England with his wife Victoria at the Madrid Masters Tennis match between Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain and Wayne Ferreira of South Africa in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday.

PHOTO: AP

David Beckham says he's splitting with the management company that helped make him one of the world's most recognizable sports stars. The company insists Beckham remains under contract.

The England captain and Real Madrid midfielder said he is leaving SFX Sports Group and will not accept any new commercial deals for now so he can concentrate on his soccer.

But Beckham said his soccer dealings would continue to be handled by SFX agent Tony Stephens.

"David Beckham has today confirmed he has parted company with the SFX Sports Group," said a statement issued on the player's behalf Tuesday night.

"His contract was due for renewal and he has decided with the European Championships and a busy year in Madrid he will be focusing entirely on football and not taking on any new commercial activity in the short term -- except as part of his club commitments. He will continue to work with his current sponsors."

The statement added that Beckham would continue to employ Stephens as his soccer agent. It wasn't specified whether Stephens would remain at SFX.

The announcement came as a surprise to SFX, which said Beckham remains under contract with the agency for another two years.

"We are aware and recognize that David wants to cut down on the level of his commercial commitments and we support that view and we are actively helping him to achieve this," SFX chairman and chief executive Jon Holmes said.

On Wednesday, the company issued a new statement saying, "Following media reports today, SFX has confirmed that Tony Stephens remains totally committed to SFX and that the England captain and Real Madrid player David Beckham continues to be a client under contract to SFX."

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