IMG pegs pay and sheds jobs

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IMG, the international sports marketing group headed by Mark McCormack, has instituted a worldwide pay freeze and is threatening job losses.

The company has launched a review to see how it can cut costs as the fall in marketing expenditure and disruption from the 11 September disaster hit the sports world.

In a memo sent out last week, Mr McCormack told staff: "We have concluded that we will not be authorising any salary increases for staff or executives during the next 6-9 months... It will also be necessary to make some selective headcount reductions and we will, of course, continue to institute new policies to bring about significant outgoing cost cutting during 2002."

A spokesman for IMG said the cuts were a result of economic conditions and not a specific problem at IMG. "The sponsorship dollar may be a difficult dollar to secure. No one knows what's going to happen." He would not say how many jobs would go but admitted the firm was undergoing a "corporate review".

IMG, which started out representing sports stars, now has over 3,000 employees worldwide and makes most of its money from TV programming. Its sports management side is still the largest in the world and got a boost earlier this year when its big rival, ISL/ISMM, collapsed.

However, sponsors have been pulling back investment after recent events and IMG will have been hit by the decision to put the Ryder Cup golf competition back to next year because of security fears.