Football's Magic Money Tree

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Chester Perry
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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:30 am

Last night's discussion about Project Big Picture on Sky's Monday Night Football is gathering a lot of attention this morning

https://twitter.com/SkySports/status/13 ... 0857797634

Personally I think that this is a huge misinterpretation by Neville and Co - he thinks it displays an acceptance of the problems, I strongly disagree. To my eyes it is clearly being aware of all the noise coming out in the media and playing with it and effectively weakening all outside that cosy group of 6

There is still very little recognition of what was actually being offered as bait

- £250m support for the EFL
This is actually not a grant/gift, but an advance of future revenues (so actually not costing anything extra to anyone but the EFL Clubs). Do not be surprised if they intended to deduct the advance that has already been made on Solidarity payments this season

- 25% share of Premier League Income
This came with forecasts that in the next cycle the Premier League would see a 10% minimum rise in income of pre-covid numbers in the current cycle (which appears crazily optimistic - the money lost in the China/PPTV is around 5% of all Premier League broadcast income and shows no sign of returning to that level again)

Add that clubs will be selling 8 games Internationally each season, assume that clubs will want to sell their most significant fixtures and you quickly realise that the International collective rights are set to collapse

look at the small print and see that there is desire to break the Saturday 3pm blackout and allow clubs to sell 7 games domestically as well. collapsing those incomes too.

- Abolish/significantly reduce Parachute Payments
Huge popular concept with EFL clubs and a major part of the carrot (again don't take this as an acceptance of problems, more we hear the noise and do not want to cover the cost from our revenues).


Of course you then begin to look at how that is going to be paid for and it quickly becomes apparent that the big 6 are not intending to lose a penny in their own revenues

- Abolish/significantly reduce Parachute Payments
Advantageous for the big six as it constricts spending by clubs in the bottom half of the Premier League. making them less competitive and easier to roll over saving energy for that lucrative midweek European League

- Premier League distribution to switch from 1.7:1 distribution ratio to 4:1 ratio
and now you begin to see how (even with those unlikely revenue forecasts) the big six are passing the cost of the revenue share to the 14 (actually the bottom 6) Premier League distribution at the top gets slightly more and at the bottom is halved - yes less than £50m

- Charging for relegation
Clubs relegated from the Premier within 2 season of promotion will be expected to reimburse the Premier League up to 25% of the revenues allocated to them - effectively a punishment for being uncompetitive, that forces newly promoted clubs to hold funds in reserve thereby making them uncompetitive (you could not make it up - this from JW Henry who forever complains about clubs like ours not spending more)

- Remove Academy restrictions
A two pronged attack this first allowing the big clubs to open Academies remote from the home location, not stopping then having 6 or 7 (even more) around the country as they attempt to hoover up talent that would have gone to lower league clubs (providing them with lifelines of revenue through sell-on)

This is supplemented by the removal of the requirement for League 1 and 2 clubs to have Academies as revenue share will not be dependent on them as it currently is. The desire to remove them is further stimulated by proposals to change rule on the loans of young players and change the financial terms of scholars. No doubt B teams are in the longer term plans.


This is a system designed to get the richest biggest clubs into the top flight as economic muscle combined with UEFA style FFP (no sugar daddy investors thankyou) advance the argument I have been making for some time about how the big six would like to see the Premier League made up. It comes with the failsafe that if a club manages to breakthrough all these competitive barriers and challenge the establishment then the big 6 have the authority to change the rules at will to preserve hegemony.
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Chester Perry
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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Oct 27, 2020 12:34 pm

Newcastle United begin to follow up on the threat of legal recourse with the Premier League following the collapse of the Saudi takeover - from the Shields Gazette

Exclusive: Newcastle United takeover bombshell as Premier League served with legal letter demanding anti-competition disclosure
The Premier League have been served with a legal letter demanding Newcastle United takeover anti-competition disclosure.
By Liam Kennedy
Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 10:41 am

In the explosive letter and legal papers, seen by the Gazette, supporters Gordon Stein and Keith Patterson, of Newcastle Consortium Supporters Limited, have issued a ‘Letter Before Action’ to the Premier League.

The documents claim the halting of the £300million deal to buy United – brokered between owner Mike Ashley and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers – was against UK anti-competition law.

The statement reads: “To this end, we have worked with one of the UK’s very top QC’s in Sport and Competition Law in Robert O’Donoghue QC and we believe that only a fans group will see this resolved within an acceptable short period of time.

“Our plan is to seek maximum expedition of our case before a specialist competition law court, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). The CAT is a specialist judicial body with cross-disciplinary expertise in law, which hears and decides cases involving competition regulatory issues. We have asked the EPL and its members to cooperate in expediting this case due to the urgency involved.

“The CAT is willing to deal with urgent cases very quickly, with results in a handful of months. We also very much hope that the UK courts will appreciate the urgency of hearing a case very much in the public’s interest where ordinary members of the UK public are taking on the wealth and might of the EPL and its members and others. This impacts football fans across our country and the globe, not just Newcastle fans.

“We therefore await the EPL’s response as to how they will either face up to this action if they have nothing to hide, or whether they will seek to delay and obfuscate.”

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Oct 27, 2020 12:46 pm

During that Gary Neville rant last night he brought up his own solution "Our beautiful game" and the need for an independent regulator - finally a journalist has picked up on something I have pointed out a number of times when the issue of an independent regulator is brought u- - you have to be careful about who appoints (and not just because of the cronyism in government) - FIFA take a strong dislike and action to government intervention in the game. I post about this kind of thing quite regularly

https://twitter.com/RobHarris/status/13 ... 6009587717

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Oct 27, 2020 12:55 pm

First indication of PPV viewing figures - from the MAil

EXCLUSIVE: Premier League pay-per-view viewing figures are revealed with an average of 39,000 fans paying up for each of the £14.95 games - but three matches had less than 10,000 watching as clubs consider a U-turn
- The pay-per-view model of the Premier League is shown to have struggled
- Sportsmail can reveal the idea averaged fewer than 40,000 viewers per match
- None of the first nine matches attracted paying audience of more than 100,000
- Three matches had less than 10,000 as a U-turn is now being considered
By MATT HUGHES FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 11:53, 27 October 2020 | UPDATED: 12:44, 27 October 2020

The Premier League’s pay-per-view experiment averaged fewer than 40,000 viewers per match over the first two rounds of matches, Sportsmail can reveal.

Figures given to the clubs at today’s shareholders meeting for the first nine pay-per-view games – not including Brighton’s 1-1 draw with West Brom on Sunday – show the average number of purchases was 39,000, fractionally ahead of the Premier League’s target.

As Sportsmail revealed last Saturday the Premier League’s initial aim was the number of pay-per-view sales to match stadium attendances.

The average Premier League attendance for the last Covid-19 free season in 2018/19 was 38,168 so they are just about hitting the target, although the average is likely to be reduced when the viewing figures for the Brighton game are including.

None of the first nine matches attracted a paying audience of more than 100,000, with two games gaining between 70,000 and 90,000 viewers.

In contrast three of the matches got fewer than 10,000 viewers, a low figure which critics are likely to use to question the long-term viability of the scheme.

The Premier League will continue to charge fans £14.95 to watch each match for the next two rounds of games, but will discuss altering the price after next month’s international break at their next shareholders’ meeting on 5 November.

PPV MATCHES PLAYED SO FAR
Sat Oct 17: Chelsea 3-3 Southampton BT Sport Box Office

Sat Oct 17: Newcastle 1-4 Man United Sky Sports Box Office

Sun Oct 18: Sheffield United 1-1 Fulham BT Sport Box Office

Sun Oct 18: Leicester 0-1 Aston Villa Sky Sports Box Office

Mon Oct 19: West Brom 0-0 Burnley Sky Sports Box Office

Fri Oct 23: Aston Villa 0-3 Leeds BT Sport Box Office

Sat Oct 24: Fulham 1-2 Crystal Palace BT Sport Box Office

Sat Oct 24: Liverpool 2-1 Sheffield United – Sky Sports Box

Sun Oct 25: Arsenal 0-1 Leicester – Sky Sports Box Office

Mon Oct 26: Brighton 1-1 West Brom Sky Sports Box Office


PPV matches yet to come
Fri Oct 30: Wolves vs Crystal Palace, 8pm – BT Sport Box Office

Sat Oct 31: Burnley vs Chelsea, 3pm – BT Sport Box Office

Sun Nov 1: Aston Villa vs Southampton, 12pm – Sky Sports Box Office

Sun Nov 1: Tottenham vs Brighton, 12pm – Sky Sports Box Office

Mon Nov 2: Fulham vs West Brom, 5.30pm – Sky Sports Box Office

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:18 pm

If you haven't done the PPV maths yet

- an average of £587k per match
- or £5.2m so far
- minus around £875k in VAT for HMRC

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:20 pm

Back to MNF and Project Big Picture - @UglyGame is as suspicious as I am

https://twitter.com/uglygame/status/1321019951277350913

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Oct 27, 2020 4:41 pm

Could the pandemic bring a lasting benefit to the lower levels of the football pyramid - even with social distancing restrictions many clubs are experiencing a surge in crowd numbers - here' hoping it lasts - this report from GameOfThePeople.com

Non-League Football: A boom in the making
GOTP Editorial Team
Posted on October 27, 2020

FROM the evidence of the first month or so of the non-league season, fans are clamouring for live football, regardless of the quality of the product on offer.

Non-league football is seeing an increase in demand, even though clubs are operating with restricted ground capacities. This has meant some clubs have missed out on the uptick in interest.

At Step 3, the highest level of the non-league game that currently permits crowds, the Southern League Premier Central has experienced a 10% increase in crowds, with 15 of the 22 clubs enjoying higher crowds. Five clubs – Redditch (+139%), Kings Lynn (+68%), Coalville (+67%), Rushall Olympic (+55%) and Hitchin (+52%) – have seen crowds jump by more than 50%. At the same time, those clubs that are restricted to 600 people and had higher crowds have suffered a little. Bromsgrove, for example, are down by 40% while Tamworth have fallen by 32%.

There’s no doubt people are discovering their neighbourhood non-league club for the first time, while others who have been regulars at Football League and Premier League clubs have sought refuge with their Step 3 or 4 outfit. Some that have never ventured through the rusty turnstiles of their local club have been pleasantly surprised and indeed, delighted, by the warmth of the welcome.

This really could be non-league’s big opportunity to grab a slice of the market and to present itself as the real alternative to a vulnerable matchday experience. Consider what will happen when football at the higher levels is given the go-ahead to open the grounds once more. Will people be so willing to live and breathe alongside 25,000 other people in a relatively confined space? How about a 500 crowd, plenty of space and a short ride home? In the age of covid-19, the convenience and cost of the non-league game suddenly seems a very compelling proposition.

Can this spark a boom in the non-league game? Let’s hope so, because clubs at this level have had a rough time, but equally, it would be prudent to use the pandemic to closely examine if non-league clubs have the right business model, one that can be sustainable, value-driven and inclusive. The financial structure of so many clubs leaves them very exposed when something goes wrong. Furthermore, football has never needed its audience as badly as it has during the past 12 months, so it really is time to make the fans part of the decision-making processes at non-league clubs. A clear line has to be drawn between football at the higher levels and the game outside the Football League, one that differentiates between full-time and part-time and develops financial restrictions that can protect the future of a club, along with its integrity.

The way the pandemic has been managed suggests we may be heading for more restrictions in Britain and football at all levels may be closed once more. More many people, it is a case of take advantage of watching live football while you can. Wear your mask, keep your distance, respect people’s space and enjoy.

Non-league football’s governing bodies, historically so fragmented, should be working together to capitalise on the opportunities the pandemic can deliver to them – the chance to secure football-hungry local audiences too often distracted by the Premier League club nearby. With so much negativity surrounding the Premier and Football League, with huge chasms developing between the rich and poor, and money driving behaviours of the top clubs, non-league really can become the game of the people in a new golden age for the small time. If it wants to.

@GameofthePeople

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Oct 27, 2020 6:01 pm

Chester Perry wrote:
Wed Jun 03, 2020 11:08 am
A decision by the Italian heritage authorities appears in direct conflict with the Milanese city authorities and Mayor who wanted to preserve the shell for cultural purposes in any new Stadium development - "Milan's San Siro has 'no cultural interest' and can be demolished" - the two plans currently under consideration kept part of the shell for that purpose, demolishing the rest (as I have previously posted) one these can now effectively go ahead.

https://www.sportsmanagement.co.uk/news ... eid=345565
well this story has taken a long time to work it's way through to the wider press - The fact that Italian Heritage authorities have determined that the San Siro has no cultural interest and can therefore be flattened, is a decision that is just starting to confound people outside of Italy

https://www.theguardian.com/football/th ... er-serie-a

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:29 pm

David Conn with yet more Project Big Picture revelations in the Guardian - Now it is the turn of the Premier League hierarchy to have red faces

Premier League kept Project Big Picture plans secret from clubs outside big six
League executives held big six meeting without telling all clubs
League chairman had copy of plans but did not inform other 14
Exclusive by David Conn

Tue 27 Oct 2020 20.07 GMT Last modified on Tue 27 Oct 2020 20.09 GMT

The Premier League chairman and chief executive held a meeting with just the big six clubs to discuss the fallout from the publication of the Project Big Picture proposals without informing all 14 other clubs, the Guardian has learned.

The meeting, held by chairman Gary Hoffman and chief executive Richard Masters with senior representatives of Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs, was held on Tuesday 13 October, two days after the plans were published in the Telegraph, and a day before a scheduled meeting of all Premier League clubs.

Senior figures at some of the 14 clubs are understood to be furious that the meeting was held without them, and that they were not told about it before or afterwards. That has added to a growing dissatisfaction among the 14 not only over the development of Project Big Picture without their knowledge, but at not being kept informed by Hoffman and Masters.

An executive at one of the 14 clubs told the Guardian that at the full club meeting, of Wednesday 14 October, he had believed that Hoffman was as shocked about the plans as all of them when they were published. He said that none of the clubs were aware until later that Masters had been invited to join the talks at the beginning and declined, then been kept sporadically updated that they were continuing for months. Nor were they told that Hoffman had in fact been given a copy, by Bruce Buck, the Chelsea chairman, who was involved in Project Big Picture from the beginning.

The Premier League confirmed that Hoffman had not told the 14 clubs that he had a copy, nor that he had emailed the big six in positive terms on 8 October, before the leak. As the Guardian has revealed, Hoffman told the big six that he wanted to be involved in the discussions and build support for change, saying the executive team, led by Masters, had their own ideas and plans, “many of which already align with ‘Big Picture’”.

When the proposals were published on 11 October, the Premier League did not make clear that it had known about the process at all, or that Hoffman had a copy and had responded positively to the big six. In a statement, the Premier League said it had “seen media reports” about the plans, and condemned them, saying “a number of the individual proposals … could have a damaging impact on the whole game”.

The furore that followed publication of the plans – principally a concentration of voting power with the big six and 25% sharing of net TV revenues with the EFL – largely erupted on the understanding that they been worked up by John Henry, the majority owner of Liverpool, with Rick Parry, the EFL chairman, and Joel Glazer, of Manchester United. Many Premier League clubs are understood to have been unaware before, during and after their full club meeting of 14 October that Greg Clarke, the Football Association chairman, had initiated the talks in January with Buck, or that they had then invited Manchester United, Liverpool, Parry and Masters to join.

At the meeting of the big six on 13 October, Hoffman is said to have asked them to agree to a strategic review which would address the various issues underlying the Project Big Picture proposals. At the full meeting the following day, at which some of the other 14 expressed their dismay at the plans having been developed in an apparently clandestine way, all the Premier League clubs agreed to the strategic review. That is seen by some among the 14 as a major concession to the big six, who can push for major change.

A senior executive at one of the 14 clubs said: “Some of the clubs are furious. When it came out in the Telegraph, Gary Hoffman should have said that he had been aware of the plans and had a copy, but we weren’t told that. I certainly wasn’t told they were meeting with the ‘big six’, and only them, to ask for agreement on a strategic review.”

A Premier League spokesman acknowledged that clubs had not been told about the Project Big Picture discussions over the eight months after Masters was first invited in February, and that Hoffman had not told the 14 clubs that he had a copy, or had emailed the big six, before they were leaked and published. He said, however, that some of the 14, although not all, had been informed about the meeting with the big six before Hoffman and Masters met them on 13 October.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:10 pm

The issues surrounding the tenure of Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu have been raging all year and mostly involving Lionel Messi, this evening he resigned ahead of a vote of no confidence - but the more starling news is that ahead of that he announced that BArcelona had sighed up to join a new European Super League - from the Guardian

Barcelona 'agree to join European Super League' as president Bartomeu resigns
57-year-old drops bombshell after announcing exit
Bartomeu says move will guarantee ‘financial sustainability’
Sid Lowe and Ed Aarons

Tue 27 Oct 2020 21.34 GMT First published on Tue 27 Oct 2020 20.07 GMT

Josep María Bartomeu has announced his last act as president of Barcelona — the club’s participation in a new European Super League.

Bartomeu revealed that Barça had signed up to the proposal during a 35 minute speech to confirm his resignation on Tuesday night. That involvement is subject to ratification and approval at a members’ assembly on Wednesday. The Catalan club have also agreed to a new format in the Fifa-led Club World Cup.

Last week, it was revealed that plans for a lucrative breakaway pan-European league involving top English clubs that would supersede the Champions League had been revived, with the banking giant JP Morgan being asked to seek financing for a new competition. The league would potentially comprise 18 teams – including five English sides and teams from Spain, Italy, Germany and France – and have no promotion and relegation, according to proposals reported first by the Spanish outlet Vozpopuli and by Sky News. Real Madrid, advised by the investment company Key Capital, are said to be behind a plan for a European Super League, first reported by Der Spiegel in 2018.

“I can announce some extraordinary news,” said Bartomeu. “Yesterday we accepted a proposal to participate in a future European Super League, which would guarantee the future financial sustainability of the club. And we’ve accepted the future CWC format.”

Bartomeu dropped the bombshell on the night he announced his resignation as president of Barcelona, taking his entire board of directors with him. He gave no more details and nor did he field questions during his appearance, which was a long valedictory speech with an air of victimhood and self justification in which he complained about much of the criticism to which he had been subjected.

Under increasing pressure in recent months, yet seemingly determined to cling on to power despite the on-going crisis at the club, the decision to walk away en masse was finally agreed during a board meeting on Tuesday evening night. Bartomeu then denied that he had tried to cling onto power insisting that it would have been easy to walk away after the 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich but that he could not leave the club in the hands of an interim administration at a time of transition and economic crisis. That included, he added, having to resolve the future of Lionel Messi.

Bartomeu will not now face the vote of no confidence brought against him by club members and will leave with immediate effect. Indeed, the decision to resign was reached after the Catalan government refused to postpone the no-confidence motion until mid-November as the board had proposed. Bartomeu accused the Generalitat of “irresponsibility” in not allowing them the time to prepare special measures due to the pandemic and claimed that they had effectively been forced to resign in order to honour the clubs’ down statues.

An interim board led by Carles Tusquets, an economics lecturer at Barcelona University, will take over and prepare for presidential elections. Bartomeu and his board may face civil action holding them personally liable for the budgetary shortfall over the period of his administration since 2015.

On Monday Bartomeu had insisted: “there is no reason to present [my] resignation”, adding: “it is not a good idea to leave the club in the hands of an administrator”. He always knew though that scenario was the likely outcome of the vote of no-confidence. Almost 20,000 members’ signatures had been gathered to force a referendum which Bartomeu had no realistic prospect of surviving, despite only needing a third of the vote.

Bartomeu leaves as arguably the least popular president in Barcelona’s history, facing a crisis at almost every level at the Camp Nou and a breakdown in relations between the boardroom and the dressing room. In the summer, he blocked the departure of Lionel Messi who then publicly admitted that he had only stayed to avoid ending up in court with the club. In the interview in which he announced he was staying, the Argentinian insisted: “there has been no project or anything for a long time.”

Now, seven weeks after Messi was forced to remain, Bartomeu and his board have gone. He leaves behind a decision that changes the landscape not just at his club but across the continent, a legacy that means European football may never be the same again.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:22 pm

From my perspective it needs to be established quickly which other clubs have signed up to this League and then if they are currently participating in UEFA competitions they should be expelled from them immediately, and all earnings thus far be returned to UEFA for redistribution. I also feel that the domestic competitions for these clubs should take serious action against them, for serious breaches of their own rules (Premier League clubs play to qualify for European competition not any other). I would like to see them all be banned from UEFA competition for 5 years deducted 80 points this season and the next, have 50% of central funding for 5 years deducted. Alternatively they should be relegated to League 2 and start the season on minus 50 points - let them see what it is like for everyone else down there on a salary cap

I should say that this tale of signing for a European Super League comes with a caveat - As we have roundly confirmed in recent weeks we cannot take what anyone involved at Senior Levels of Football at face value anymore - This from @SportingIIntel on Josep Maria Bartomeu

"Barca president Bartomeu resigns with parting bombshell he had just agreed to a new European Super League. Take it with a skip-load of salt. He might well have agreed, but he's a desperate bullshi**er."

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:44 pm

Rob Harris and Graham Dunbar for the Associated Press on tonight's European Super League bombshell from Josep Maria Bartomeu

Outgoing Barcelona president discloses Super League plan
By ROB HARRIS and GRAHAM DUNBAR
58 minutes ago

The potential launch of a European Super League was given credence Tuesday when Barcelona’s outgoing president revealed that the club had given its initial approval to a new competition.

Josep Bartomeu said it was one of his last calls before resigning from Barcelona, while under pressure from fans. It added fuel to growing reports about a new Europe-wide competition where elite clubs could earn more money and play each other more often.

The Super League project has been “put forward by the biggest clubs in Europe,” Bartomeu claimed, though none has publicly acknowledged the idea.

Currently, the UEFA-run Champions League is the only top-level club continental competition teams play in. UEFA is preparing talks on ways to revamp its marquee event taking effect in the 2024-25 season.

It was not immediately clear from Bartomeu’s comments who would be organizing a Super League or if such a competition would only replace the Champions League.

“I can announce that we approved the requirements to be part of a European Super League,” Bartomeu said, adding it would “guarantee the club’s financial stability, which will continue to belong to the members.”

“The decision to play the competition now must be ratified by the next (club) assembly,” he said, without specifying why.

The announcement alarmed the head of the Spanish league, Javier Tebas.

“Unfortunate Josep Bartomeu announcing on his last day the participation in a phantom competition that would ruin (Barcelona) and reiterating his ignorance about the football industry,” Tebas tweeted. “A sad end for a president who did many things right but that lately made many mistakes.”

Bartomeu has been one of the most influential figures in shaping the future of European competitions. Until July, he was a member of UEFA’s Professional Football Strategy Council, which is at the heart of European policy with four seats each for national associations, clubs, leagues and the FIFPro players’ union.

The European Club Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Bartomeu is a member of the board of directors of ECA, which is led by Juventus president Andrea Agnelli who also sits on UEFA’s decision-making executive committee representing clubs.

The ECA board is next due to meet in November ahead of UEFA’s executive committee meeting in early December.

Only last week, UEFA spoke out against the launch of any breakaway Super League after Real Madrid president Florentino Perez was reported by Sky News to be one of the driving forces behind a plan to launch a European Premier League.

“The principles of solidarity, of promotion, relegation and open leagues are non-negotiable,” UEFA said. “It is what makes European football work and the Champions League the best sports competition in the world. UEFA and the clubs are committed to build on such strength not to destroy it to create a super league of 10, 12, even 24 clubs, which would inevitably become boring.”

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:07 am

An article by Shadow Sports Minister Alison McGovern for Medium.com looking at the current situation in football and drawing parallels with the financial crises of 2008 - not sure I agree, or think she is doing little more that seeking some political capital, but no doubt it will win some friends

Football failure: we have seen this all before
Alison McGovern

9 hours ago·4 min read

Image for post
Testosterone-fuelled offices with high-powered and highly remunerated executives haggling over deals until late at night. Rumours of big take-overs dominating headlines. Stuffy old British institutions housing ambitious global players, not always connected to the day-to-day struggles of their consumers. Is it banking before the 2008 crash? Or football - the beautiful game - in 2020.

The past couple of weeks have seen high drama off the pitch: board room battles over leaked proposals all of which spell major structural change for football. No one can deny that the sport is in crisis. It has made me wonder if I had seen some of these behaviours before.

With a ring-side seat as a new MP in 2010, as Gordon Brown’s last Private Parliamentary Secretary, then on the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee through the last parliament, over the past 10 years I watched banks and the wider financial services industry face up to some uncomfortable post-crash truths. It wasn’t just that their practices had grown in size and complexity way beyond the capacities of their regulator. It was that their priorities had drifted away from their real purpose. And beyond the bailouts, it took a combination of legislation, regulation, personnel change and culture change to put it right.

In the aftermath of 2008, the public interest had to be pushed to the fore. It is time that football learnt that lesson.

Whilst businesses have every right to run themselves in the interests of their owners or shareholders, football is discovering now, as banking did in 2008, that when events threaten the systematic viability of the structure on which they rely, someone outside the individual firms themselves needs to act on behalf of that structure to protect it.

Of course, England’s football pyramid is in no way as systematically important as the UK’s banking system. But nor do the public accept that football is just a business like any other. So, the first lesson that should be heeded is that the public interest ought to be the major principle if the future of football is at risk.

Secondly, there are the finances. Many of those who invest in football commit huge sums to highly paid players and executives for short term gain, but the longer-term interests of the clubs and the game itself lacks champions. In normal times, there are a plethora of complex issues: ownership, broadcasting rights, agents’ fees, ticket prices, and stadia cost for example. With the catastrophe of Covid-19, the game is on the brink and desperately needs a full reset. It needs a new set of rules that can protect through future ups and downs and give answers to fans and investors alike as to what happens if it all goes wrong again.

Who is the football equivalent of the Bank of England, and what is the game’s counter-cyclical buffer? It is not easy, but neither is it impossible.
Thirdly, whilst new legislation is almost certainly required for football - given the likely need for an independent regulator with teeth - as it was for banking, the hardest nut to crack will be culture change, as was often the case in financial services. Getting this right will be an iterative process, as no one piece of legislation can undo decades of hiring practices or common understandings. I will never forget listening to Bob Diamond in Parliament – three years after the crash and when people fully understood the risks that banks had taken – declaring that the period for ‘remorse and apology’ was over. He was demonstrating that long after the initial interventions, it took years to change attitudes and to reconnect banking with its public purpose. When football clubs collapse – for example Bury and Wigan only recently - there is the same shrug of the shoulders and back to business as usual.

Football clubs grew from working class towns and cities that have changed beyond all recognition since the turn of the twentieth century when many were created. But there are communities in the UK for whom the local football club is still the place where young people turn for inspiration and older people come for a connection to community. Be they European giants, or local non-league sides, football has a purpose alongside financial gain. Though operating at a much smaller scale of course, the sport could still learn a huge amount from the implementation of financial services reform, for example, how to marry the interests of a global business with the needs of local consumers, as the better financial firms have learnt to.

Whatever you think of Project Big Picture, it certainly lays down the gauntlet of reform to all who care about our national game. Who will the leaders be that make the plan? There is no G20 for football, but the Conservatives promised the UK a ‘fan-led review of football governance’ in their manifesto, and since 2015 Labour have supported significant changes to the way the game is run. As shadow sports minister, I am more than prepared to take what we can learn from all quarters, and run with it.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:20 am

Tonight's revelations about The Premier League's Chairman and Chief Executive (both candidates explicitly approved by Manchester United and Liverpool as they had the power of veto over their appointments) has led to the inevitable calls for government intervention

https://twitter.com/uglygame/status/1321201842907471874

it is still surprising to me how little people are aware of the risks that brings - and I don't just mean with FIFA, and those are substantial enough.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:27 am

Through the life of this thread I have posted about sport and football as a political tool from spots washing through to legitimising. It is clear that throughout history Sport has been a tool of diplomacy - that can be traced back to the Olympiads of Ancient Greece. But now we actually have a developing niche both academically and commercially for Sports Diplomacy, here the Football Collective Podcast speaks to one of the leading exponents in this area Gavin Price - it should come as no surprise that the worls most popular sport crops up regularly in the conversation

https://soundcloud.com/thefootballcolle ... er&p=a&c=1

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:34 am

The latest analysis by KPMG's Football Benchmark suggests that the pandemic is having lasting impact on player values with levels still over 10% lower than pre-covid

https://footballbenchmark.com/library/p ... ers_values

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:38 am

Chester Perry wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:30 am
Last night's discussion about Project Big Picture on Sky's Monday Night Football is gathering a lot of attention this morning

https://twitter.com/SkySports/status/13 ... 0857797634

Personally I think that this is a huge misinterpretation by Neville and Co - he thinks it displays an acceptance of the problems, I strongly disagree. To my eyes it is clearly being aware of all the noise coming out in the media and playing with it and effectively weakening all outside that cosy group of 6

There is still very little recognition of what was actually being offered as bait

- £250m support for the EFL
This is actually not a grant/gift, but an advance of future revenues (so actually not costing anything extra to anyone but the EFL Clubs). Do not be surprised if they intended to deduct the advance that has already been made on Solidarity payments this season

- 25% share of Premier League Income
This came with forecasts that in the next cycle the Premier League would see a 10% minimum rise in income of pre-covid numbers in the current cycle (which appears crazily optimistic - the money lost in the China/PPTV is around 5% of all Premier League broadcast income and shows no sign of returning to that level again)

Add that clubs will be selling 8 games Internationally each season, assume that clubs will want to sell their most significant fixtures and you quickly realise that the International collective rights are set to collapse

look at the small print and see that there is desire to break the Saturday 3pm blackout and allow clubs to sell 7 games domestically as well. collapsing those incomes too.

- Abolish/significantly reduce Parachute Payments
Huge popular concept with EFL clubs and a major part of the carrot (again don't take this as an acceptance of problems, more we hear the noise and do not want to cover the cost from our revenues).


Of course you then begin to look at how that is going to be paid for and it quickly becomes apparent that the big 6 are not intending to lose a penny in their own revenues

- Abolish/significantly reduce Parachute Payments
Advantageous for the big six as it constricts spending by clubs in the bottom half of the Premier League. making them less competitive and easier to roll over saving energy for that lucrative midweek European League

- Premier League distribution to switch from 1.7:1 distribution ratio to 4:1 ratio
and now you begin to see how (even with those unlikely revenue forecasts) the big six are passing the cost of the revenue share to the 14 (actually the bottom 6) Premier League distribution at the top gets slightly more and at the bottom is halved - yes less than £50m

- Charging for relegation
Clubs relegated from the Premier within 2 season of promotion will be expected to reimburse the Premier League up to 25% of the revenues allocated to them - effectively a punishment for being uncompetitive, that forces newly promoted clubs to hold funds in reserve thereby making them uncompetitive (you could not make it up - this from JW Henry who forever complains about clubs like ours not spending more)

- Remove Academy restrictions
A two pronged attack this first allowing the big clubs to open Academies remote from the home location, not stopping then having 6 or 7 (even more) around the country as they attempt to hoover up talent that would have gone to lower league clubs (providing them with lifelines of revenue through sell-on)

This is supplemented by the removal of the requirement for League 1 and 2 clubs to have Academies as revenue share will not be dependent on them as it currently is. The desire to remove them is further stimulated by proposals to change rule on the loans of young players and change the financial terms of scholars. No doubt B teams are in the longer term plans.


This is a system designed to get the richest biggest clubs into the top flight as economic muscle combined with UEFA style FFP (no sugar daddy investors thankyou) advance the argument I have been making for some time about how the big six would like to see the Premier League made up. It comes with the failsafe that if a club manages to breakthrough all these competitive barriers and challenge the establishment then the big 6 have the authority to change the rules at will to preserve hegemony.
Sky have now posted the full 23 minute discussion from MNF on Project Big Picture and his own plans up on their YouTube channel

you can watch here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_YduwH ... e=youtu.be

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:52 am

In what looks a very timely manner given tonight's news the Unofficial Partner Podcast looks at the Business of European Football - the podcast was made as a result of last weeks news of a European Premier League - as always it provides a fascinating historical insight by talking to people who helped shaped that history

https://www.unofficialpartner.com/podca ... il-carling

Includes some interesting thought around the fact that investors like JP Morgan are looking at the global advertising market ($750 billion of which almost half goes to the GAAF - Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook and their Chinese counterparts) for growth not media rights as they are currently distributed.

the podcast also specifically addresses this article from Phil Carling published in 2019 on the plateauing of Premier League media rights values

https://www.sportcal.com/Insight/Opinion/126697

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Oct 28, 2020 2:19 am

Just to underline my point this morning about Project Big Picture's seemingly unrealistic valuation of Premier League right's in the next cycle, try this from SportCal.com earlier this month and remember that the Premier League is readying tender documents for that cycle for release before Christmas

Bundesliga's warning to rivals: Rights talks are tougher than ever
by Jonathan Rest

Bundesliga International chief executive Robert Klein talks Jonathan Rest through the German top flight's global broadcast picture in a brutal sales climate. Author
1st October 2020, 09:27


Covid-19, coming two years on from the collapse of the MP & Silva agency, the fallout of which is still being digested by rights-owners and holders alike, has created the most challenging environment for the sports business industry.

German soccer has, perhaps, felt the impact of the two hits more than its peers as Bundesliga International arm, the league's commercial worldwide sales unit headed up by Robert Klein, has spent much of the last 18 months in the market for its new rights cycle, which began with the 2020-21 campaign that kicked off on 18 September.

With Fox’s mammoth 80-territory, five-year deal with the Bundesliga having come to an end last season, the league adopted a more direct sales approach, which has to date yielded 48 broadcast contracts, up from around 20 in the previous cycle.

The half century will be brought up when an English-language, pay-television agreement is reached in sub-Saharan Africa and, more importantly, the broadcast picture is clarified in the Middle East and North Africa, where on the eve of the new season, pay-TV operator BeIN Sports announced it had not agreed terms with the Bundesliga over a renewal.

Talks are ongoing and are at various stages in both regions, but there was no coverage for matchday two last weekend and little sign of deals being in place for this weekend.

Tough negotiations are taking place across the industry at present.

“The current challenges we face as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic are some of the most difficult we have seen as an industry,” Klein tells The Boardroom. “Federations, leagues and clubs around the world are working to combat the economic impact of the virus.

“Managing the league’s international growth, we have to take a long-term view. Rights holders across the globe are already feeling the effect with numerous examples of media rights contracts being terminated, handed back or not renewed in recent months.”

Such high-profile examples include: England’s Premier League terminating its deal with PPTV in China; BeIN renegotiating the final season of its multi-territory Serie A deal; DAZN exiting Serie A and Copa Sudamericana rights contracts in Brazil and extending and renegotiating a domestic agreement with Japan’s J. League, which puts greater emphasis on profit sharing, with lower upfront fees; and Globo relinquishing Copa Libertadores rights in Brazil.

For many leagues and broadcasters, the coronavirus pandemic hit just as the impact of MP & Silva’s collapse was beginning to wane, influencing pricing in already soft markets.

Klein says the insolvency of MP & Silva, in late 2018, “had wide-reaching consequences for the entire sports rights industry with significant financial losses for rights holders and uncertainty/lack of broadcasts.”

MP & Silva held Bundesliga rights in 34 European countries between 2017-18 and 2020-21, but just a year into that contract Klein’s team faced a race against time to land new contracts, following the termination of its agreement with the agency, which later folded.

One deal has already been concluded in Europe for the cycle beginning 2021-22, with Nordic Entertainment Group, the regional media giant, while an announcement is expected this month on a deal on the continent with a broadcaster covering three territories that is strong “from both a partner and financial aspect,” Klein notes.

The sales process in Europe is expected to ramp up over the final few months of 2020, as Bundesliga International eyes a welcome boost to the revenues.

Media rights revenue was around €250 million ($291 million) in the 2019-20 season.

“The net result for us is that revenues have been impacted by Covid-19 and a changing media landscape,” Klein continues. “We have more direct contracts than ever before with partners who understand the fascination of the Bundesliga.

“Our European rights cycle has started very strongly. Aligned to our commercial partners’ businesses [Amazon Web Services and Mondelez International came on board this year], the Bundesliga International revenues will be growing again as of next season already.”

Such commercial partnerships are understood to be bring in around €50 million, with the expectation that will grow in future seasons.

For now, the focus of Bundesliga International is on MENA and sub-Saharan Africa English language rights (Canal Plus Afrique has French-language rights).

Negotiations with BeIN in MENA went to the wire, but financial terms could not be reached with the broadcaster insistent that rights in the region have been significantly devalued by the surge in piracy.

The Bundesliga has been at the forefront of combatting IP theft, being a signatory to various official documents calling for the Saudi Arabian government to shut down the beoutQ platform, which has been at the centre of the piracy debate.

The Bundesliga is now in “active discussions with interested parties” in MENA, but there is no quick fix with very few other pan-regional broadcasters that can offer a like-for-like replacement to BeIN’s 24-territory deal.

Klein explains: “It makes it more difficult for sure, but there are a couple of players who can offer pan-regional, and there is a general movement and interest from other players to come into this space because they want to create media companies and be present in the region. So, there are opportunities, but I think it will take a little bit longer.”

After matchday three this coming weekend, there will be a two-week international break which will offer some respite to get a deal done.

While the Bundesliga does have the option to go direct-to-consumer in MENA in some kind of streaming capacity, Klein notes that “because of the nature of where the discussions are, we are holding back on that,” suggesting the blackout will not be long-lasting.

One market where innovative broadcasting solutions have been found is Latin America.
Just this week Bundesliga International, with the help of the Sportfive agency, struck a deal with OneFootball, whereby all matches from the top two divisions are being streamed across the nine Spanish-speaking South American countries this season for free on the digital platform's app.

That built on a three-year deal agreed earlier in September between the Bundesliga and OneFootball in Brazil, with commercial broadcaster Bandeirantes completing the offering in the country.

Elsewhere Claro Sports, the network owned by Mexican telecoms giant América Móvil, is offering one match live and on demand from each round of fixtures across 17 Latin American countries, excluding Brazil but including Mexico, where it is one of four broadcast partners along with pay-TV duo Fox and Sky and free-to-air commercial broadcaster TV Azteca.

Those contracts range from one to three years in length, emphasising the flexible approach needed in present rights negotiations.

Klein says: “Sales in this period have proved challenging. As an example, South America was already a difficult environment pre-Covid, with macro-economic challenges and a changing media landscape [the Disney acquisition of Fox, and the subsequent Fox sell-off in Brazil and Mexico].

“Latin America effectively came to a standstill in March as the continent went into lockdown to combat the pandemic. Despite this adverse situation we have found agreements with great partners and in some instances we have found really innovative deals, which will both deliver for our current fans and build the Bundesliga fan base.”

It is a model that, if it proves successful, could be rolled out in other markets.

“It is a great mix of digital, free-to-air and pay options which reflects both current and future consumption,” Klein adds. “We will be watching the audiences carefully across those combined channels, but also the marketing, programming and promotion around it.

“For example, TV Azteca has Liga MX games and the [kick-off] timings are quite similar. If Bundesliga is the lead in programming for these domestic matches, we would anticipate higher audiences.

“We hope that this strategy will deliver growth and engagement. If it proves successful, we might look to replicate it elsewhere, and take a similar approach with our free-to-air deals.”

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Oct 28, 2020 11:04 am

It appears that Southend Utd have found the money to pay of their Tax bill this morning - or at least enough of it to prevent themselves being wound up in court

https://twitter.com/KieranMaguire/statu ... 6570583042

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:23 pm

The BBC are saying Southend have paid all the Outstanding tax - seems like the owner has kept his promise

Southend United pay up £493,991 tax bill as winding-up petition dismissed
Last updated on26 minutes ago26 minutes ago.

Southend United have settled tax debts worth £493,931, with a winding-up petition against the League Two club dismissed in the High Court.

The case had been adjourned for a fourth time in September to allow the Shrimpers more time to settle the debt.

It was dismissed earlier in the Insolvency and Companies Court.

On the pitch, the club are bottom of League Two and winless after their first nine matches following a home defeat by Oldham on Tuesday.

Southend have been able to refinance the club after it was announced in April an agreement had been reached with the borough council to sell their Roots Hall ground to planning developers.

More than 500 new homes are planned to be built on the site when the club move to their new Fossetts Farm stadium.

In September, National League club Macclesfield Town were wound up over debts worth more than £500,000.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:43 pm

Chester Perry wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:27 am
Through the life of this thread I have posted about sport and football as a political tool from spots washing through to legitimising. It is clear that throughout history Sport has been a tool of diplomacy - that can be traced back to the Olympiads of Ancient Greece. But now we actually have a developing niche both academically and commercially for Sports Diplomacy, here the Football Collective Podcast speaks to one of the leading exponents in this area Gavin Price - it should come as no surprise that the worls most popular sport crops up regularly in the conversation

https://soundcloud.com/thefootballcolle ... er&p=a&c=1
Yesterday saw the launch of a new Geosport platform for Academic research - Simon Chadwick being one of the principals in it's creation - it is likely to grow into a serious resource very quickly - so for those that are interested you can find up dates to it here

https://www.iris-france.org/geosport/

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:56 pm

The EFL find themselves a new sponsor for the Football League Trophy - a competition killed by the inclusion of Cat 1 Academy teams from the Premier League and Championship - as Checkatrade ended their involvement 2 years early and after only 1 season.

https://www.efl.com/news/2020/october/p ... fl-trophy/

this thread from @Uglygame highlights problems with the competition, it's rapid sponsor turnover and just who the current sponsor is and what baggage comes with them

https://twitter.com/uglygame/status/1321429757955874822

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Oct 28, 2020 2:24 pm

With PPV still coming under huge scrutiny, that backlash likely to render any price reduction redundant and neither domestic broadcasters or the Premier League wanting to go back to free to air the focus of the League and it's members will inevitably return to getting fans back at games

Manchester United have opened the first salvo of the latest attack - from the BBC

Manchester United modify Old Trafford to hold 23,500 socially distanced fans
Last updated on56 minutes ago

Manchester United have modified Old Trafford to accommodate 23,500 socially distanced spectators, and say they are "bemused" by the ongoing ban on fans at stadiums.

The government had proposed crowds be gradually reintroduced from the start of October but made a U-turn following a rise in coronavirus cases.

"We received government guidelines," said Collette Roche, United's chief operating officer. "I'm convinced that we would be able to [accommodate fans] safely."

Last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new restrictions were likely to remain in place for the next six months.

The financial impact of the pandemic has severely affected several sports and teams, including United who suffered a £70m drop in expected revenue in the period to 30 June 2020 as a direct result of it.

Roche told Sky Sports News: "It's quite bemusing to understand why people can gather in other settings such as on an aeroplane or in a restaurant, or even in a cinema to watch football, when we know we've got the plans and the process is ready to deliver a match day here safely.

"We spent around two months working with the government guidelines to develop the right processes and measures to make sure that we can have around 23,500 people in this stadium safely social distancing."

She added that United had plans to introduce staggered arrival times for fans and temperature checks before entry to minimise risks.

Earlier in October, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said clubs had been punished by a "quadruple whammy" over the continuing ban.

He told the Times: "Firstly that the optimism of 1 October has been taken away; secondly that there will be a sports bailout but that it wouldn't include football; thirdly that the Premier League will be expected to secure the future of the EFL while dealing with the implications of having no fans until possibly March; finally the opening up of entertainment arenas within sometimes a couple of miles of football grounds without any road map for the return of football supporters."

Premier League football had been free to watch via subscription channels following last season's resumption in the summer, but since then a controversial extra £14.95 pay-per-view fee has been introduced for some games.

Fans boycotting these games have raised more than £300,000 for charity, with the TV scheme set to continue at least until next month's international break.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Oct 28, 2020 5:12 pm

Rick Parry has attacked the government today in a letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden for not bailing out the EFL - from the Times - notice the theme of the Premier League (as well as the EFL and National League teams) not getting gate revenues

Rick Parry accuses government of victimising EFL clubs amid ‘unfair’ treatment
exclusive
Martyn Ziegler, Chief Sports Reporter
Wednesday October 28 2020, 3.15pm, The Times

Football clubs are being “victimised” by the government’s “unfair” refusal to provide financial support during the Covid-19 pandemic while providing hundreds of millions to the arts, the chairman of the English Football League has warned ministers in a hard-hitting letter.

The letter from Rick Parry to the culture secretary Oliver Dowden, a copy of which has been seen by The Times, spells out the crisis affecting clubs and questions why they are being “ignored” by a government that has provided a £1.5 billion rescue package for arts. He says fans “will never forgive” the government if their clubs go bust.

Parry writes: “While football grounds in Rochdale, Grimsby, Mansfield and Carlisle might seem an awful long way from Glyndebourne or the Royal Ballet, they are nonetheless equally important parts of our nation’s heritage.

“It must have dawned on you that it is deeply unfair that cultural institutions like these are receiving government hand-outs while also being able to generate revenues by admitting the paying public.”

Parry’s letter, which has been copied to all 72 clubs, says the Premier League may not be able to fund the size of the bailout needed by the EFL. The tone of the letter highlights the EFL’s belief that time has run out for many clubs.

It goes on: “For some reason, football is being regarded as a peculiarly undeserving case and, as a result, many of our clubs have now reached the conclusion that we are at best being ignored by a government that doesn’t understand our national sport and at worst being victimised by it.

“Ultimately, the football public will judge the performance of this Conservative government on how many football clubs remain in business once the pandemic finally subsides. Certainly, those communities that are inextricably linked to their local team will never forgive it if their beloved football clubs are driven into extinction.”

Dowden has previously insisted that the 20 Premier League clubs must support the 72 in the EFL, who say they need £250 million to survive a season without fans. So far the top flight has only offered £20 million to clubs in League One and League Two, plus another £30 million in loans as an emergency fund.

Parry’s letter says: “Discussions with the Premier League continue, however it is clear that top-flight clubs are also feeling the effects of the pandemic, particularly the loss of gate revenue, and it may not be in a position to provide the level of support that is required.

“Therefore, the onus remains on you to remedy the situation rather than thinking of it as ‘job done’. After all, it is the government that is currently preventing fans from going to games not the Premier League.

“EFL clubs, almost all of them the social cornerstone of the towns and cities they bear the names of, stand on the brink of a financial precipice.

“The government’s response to the crisis that is engulfing football is particularly galling when compared with the comparative generosity being extended to other areas of your portfolio — for example, the £1.5 billion funding package to the arts sector alone.

“Yet at the same time, football is told to support itself and its clubs have to play behind closed doors. I am sure you can understand how this disparity in approach must look to football fans in constituencies across the country.”

Parry’s letter calls for “a clear plan”, including getting fans safely back into stadiums as soon as possible and allowing clubs to defer PAYE payments “so that clubs do not continue to haemorrhage cash while playing behind closed doors”.

He adds: “In any event, clubs will soon begin defaulting on these payments and the government would be better off managing this situation rather than having it land on its toes.”

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Oct 28, 2020 5:45 pm

I suppose we should be thankful that David Conn has no knew revelations of underhand practices by senior football officials relating to Project Big Picture today - Instead he collates all the details surrounding the role of Greg Clarke in this new article for the Guardian

Greg Clarke has surrendered the FA's moral authority to lead football
David Conn
FA chairman posed as the good English football man standing up to billionaires but that was not Project Big Picture’s reality

Wed 28 Oct 2020 15.55 GMT Last modified on Wed 28 Oct 2020 16.35 GMT

When the Football Association chairman, Greg Clarke, manoeuvred into the space left by Richard Scudamore’s departure from the Premier League and started Project Big Picture, he told his small group of invited participants they needed the “moral authority” to secure changes to the game. Sadly the plans Clarke developed – and the misleading accounts he has given after they were leaked and exposed to the light – have stripped any moral authority he and the FA had to reshape football in these critical times. Clarke was trying, when he initiated the talks in January, to restore the FA as football’s governing body after its hammerings in the Scudamore years, but he has become a walking advert for the FA’s replacement by an independent regulator.

He had shown vision and astuteness in starting the process, foreseeing the inevitable Premier League internal battle with the big six clubs over globally expanding commercial opportunities, so he invited them first to his talks: Bruce Buck, the Chelsea chairman, Manchester United’s and Liverpool’s US owners, then from the leagues Rick Parry, the EFL chairman, and Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive. Masters, Scudamore’s belated replacement after two appointments fell through and many candidates were reportedly put off by the prospect of marshalling the politics, declined to take part and Buck thereafter kept him informed that the talks were continuing.

The plans the group produced by the final meeting on 19 May, which John Henry, Liverpool’s majority owner, resurrected by contacting Clarke again in late September, were principally to reduce the Premier League to 18 clubs, solidify voting control with the big six clubs, and share 25% net TV money with the EFL.

The simplest-to-grasp theme in the furore when the plans leaked and were published was to depict Henry and Joel Glazer of Manchester United as one-dimensional, greedy, vote-grabbing US billionaires, and contrast them with the rounded English football men such as Clarke who, warts and all, try to do right by the game. That narrative glosses over the disasters, division, greed and governance failures delivered by English football men over the decades along with the game’s glories, and the fact that many made personal fortunes selling their clubs to Americans.

The game has seen how the football men such as Clarke, Masters and the Premier League chairman, Gary Hoffman, played it when Project Big Picture was leaked. The Premier League made a statement saying it had “seen media reports” about the plans, which it heavily criticised, suggesting they were the result of bad-faith discussions. The talks were reported as a plot between Henry, Glazer and Parry, with personal attacks relished on all three. The FA and Premier League allowed that narrative to run for days, without clarifying that Clarke had initiated the process and invited Buck, Henry, Glazer, Parry and Masters, who had therefore known about the talks for eight months, or that Hoffman had been given a copy a week earlier and written to the big six in positive terms about the proposals.

Clarke finally entered the arena after two days of this media coverage. He gave his project and invitees a comprehensive dumping in a letter to the FA council, published on the FA’s website. It positioned him as the good English football man, the FA chairman looking for consensus against the threat of the money men. He had “participated in the early stages of discussions”, he wrote, but had “discontinued” his involvement “when the principal aim of these discussions became the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few clubs with a breakaway league mooted as a threat”.

It is only subsequently that the information has been prised out, that Clarke initiated the talks, raised the European or global breakaway threat himself as an opportunity for change, is understood to have gone to every meeting, and to have called on 16 May for “execution” of the plans. After they were put on hold because of the coronavirus crisis, Clarke was involved in resurrecting them in late September, contacted by Henry, who throughout appears to have appreciated that changes had to involve the FA.

Parry injected some factual counterbalance after four days, writing to the EFL’s board, informing them Clarke had initiated the talks and had invited him and Masters, attaching a paper Clarke had written at the start. That suggested a Premier League 1 and 2 of 18 clubs each, and exhumed the FA’s old idea of Premier League B teams in a reduced-status EFL.

Clarke responded by producing a new narrative, now sent out by the FA but without the public trumpeting of his council letter. It confirms he did initiate the talks, still claims he walked away in “early May” and says he was then unaware of any other Big Picture “event” until the leak and publication. He also claims that his document suggesting Premier League 1 and 2 did not reflect his own ideas, but was a summary of ideas the group had discussed. As the Guardian has revealed, Clarke produced a later note, in March, in which he wrote of that first document: “I opined in my original paper.” We suggested to the FA that this clearly indicates that the first one did indeed reflect his own opinions, but the game’s governing body has still not clarified that little detail.

It was such a clear story, the big bad US billionaires backroom plotting with Parry, the original Premier League breakaway architect, to carve up English football to their own advantage, the redistribution to the EFL mostly viewed with total cynicism. The reality turned out to be that the FA chairman initiated and worked on the plans throughout, then sprinted away when they leaked, leaving his invitees to be attacked. That was where our most senior English football man ended up, with his “Big Picture” bid to reclaim the game and the “moral authority” of its historic governing body.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:46 pm

The EFL and particularly clubs in the Championship are still displaying an outrageous level of ignorance ow what they were actually being offered - The Telegraph reports that they are trying to get the big 6 to revive their offer - they should be talking to the 14 who can actually get a vote through, it is of no surprise that Andy Pilley is featured in this report - He may be on the EFL board but I wouldn't trust him an inch.

Exclusive: Championship clubs pushing for key aims of 'Project Big Picture' to be revived
TOM MORGAN OCTOBER 28, 2020

Championship clubs are pressing England's big six to revive key aims of 'Project Big Picture' as the Premier League races to produce its alternative vision for the pyramid by Christmas.

A tug-of-war over the future of the English game is intensifying again in the coming weeks as key figures at the heart of separate reform plots launch fresh lobbying campaigns for support.

The Premier League is inviting the Football League to be part of a strategic review it announced in response to Telegraph Sport revelations that Liverpool and Manchester United were plotting sweeping changes.

However, the vast majority of Championship clubs remain sold on the headline principles of PBP, most of all the pioneering plan to carve out 25 per cent of top tier revenue to the lower leagues and sign off an immediate £250million bail-out.

Both those proposals are seen as a non-starter for the top tier's planned blueprint - expected by the New Year - because the 14 smaller clubs would end up with a smaller slice of the pie.

As a result, EFL clubs face a race against time to persuade the big six clubs to end their reticence in going public with an endorsement for the merits of PBP, now in its 18th draft.

The EFL itself is keeping options open, having also signalled initial support for a third plan, fronted by former FA chairman David Bernstein and former England defender Gary Neville. The centre-piece of that proposal is the creation of an independent regulator who would oversee the distribution of a levy on Premier League broadcast income that would be used to close the current financial chasm with the rest of English football all the way down to the grassroots.

🗣️ "Who can not want fans to get a better deal if you grew up supporting football?"

🗣️ "Football is so important to the fabric of this country." @GNev2 on the future of football is fantastic. 👏

This is *THE* best thing you will see today. 📺 pic.twitter.com/CQ7LKMBK2c

— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 26, 2020
However, preference in the Championship is firmly with the more advanced aims of PBP. Among those to come out in strong support earlier this month was Peter Ridsdale, the former Leeds United chairman who is now advising Preston North End, who said the proposals were a “unique opportunity”.

“There was almost unanimous support for the proposals, and that has not dimmed in the intervening weeks, although there is an acceptance that PBP is damaged as a concept," said one source close to talks.

There is frustration among those clubs that United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City have been silent since being lobbied by Premier League chairman Gary Hoffman, and his chief executive, Richard Masters, at a crunch meeting two days after the Telegraph expose.

The league chiefs' intervention, on Tuesday March 13, proved crucial in stopping Liverpool, in particular, from putting up much of a fight as PBP was effectively vetoed by the rest of the league at a shareholders' summit the next day.

Instead, the top tier announced plans to review the "future structures and financing of English football" while offering a £50m loans and grant package to Leagues One and Two in the intervening period.

The Championship was left reeling by the offer, and talks between the two competitions remain unresolved, even after the Premier League clubs met again this week to discuss the issue. David Baldwin, the EFL's outgoing chief executive, is in regular contact with Masters, over a potential fresh offer.

Rick Parry, the EFL chairman who played a key role in cheerleading for PBP before it was torpedoed, on Wednesday turned his frustrations over the league's financial plight on Government. In a letter to Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, he said football clubs are being “victimised” by the “unfair” refusal to provide financial support while ministers dish out hundreds of millions to the arts.

"While football grounds in Rochdale, Grimsby, Mansfield and Carlisle might seem an awful long way from Glyndebourne or the Royal Ballet, they are nonetheless equally import parts of our nation’s heritage," he wrote, underlining the EFL's request for relief on PAYE payments to HMRC.

Andy Pilley, the Fleetwood Town chairman, revealed how eight EFL clubs "would have not been able to pay their staff in October" without a "rapidly dwindling" emergency loan support pot the league has in place.

"By Christmas, 20 EFL clubs will be on the edge of extinction" without Government help, he warned.

Meanwhile, the big six clubs were on Wednesday night dismissing fresh rumblings of a European Super League, this time prompted by outgoing Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu saying his club was joining it. Fifa said it is not aware of any agreement for Barca to join a £4.6bn European Premier League first mooted by Real Madrid.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Thu Oct 29, 2020 1:51 pm

@SwissRamble looks at the 2019/20 financial results of Ajax - a big fish in a small pond that rely heavily on player sales and Uefa prize monies

https://twitter.com/SwissRamble/status/ ... 4655560704

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Thu Oct 29, 2020 2:08 pm

It is noce to see that the key players in Spanish football get on just as well and behave just as well as their English counterparts - these are the 2 biggest leagues in the world - god help us all - this from the Associated Press


Tebas: Pérez behind Bartomeu announcement on Super League
By TALES AZZONI
yesterday

Javier Tebas told The Associated Press it was Pérez who prodded outgoing Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu to talk about the proposed new league in an effort to give it more credibility.

“Bartomeu was directed by Florentino, that is what I believe,” Tebas said in a telephone interview. “This (league) has been a dream by the Real Madrid president. ... He has worked for this for a long time, this is nothing new. But it is a big mistake because he doesn’t understand its financial consequences.”

Tebas has been one of the more outspoken critics of the much talked-about Europe-wide competition for only elite teams, saying a Super League would be disastrous because it would hurt the local leagues and the majority of European clubs.

The league president said Bartomeu, who resigned along with his board of directors on Tuesday in the fallout from his feud with Lionel Messi, has been following the ideas of Real Madrid in recent years.

“Barcelona used to have its own voice when dealing with the league, with UEFA and with FIFA,” Tebas said. “But for the last three years it only repeats what Real Madrid says.”

He said Bartomeu served as a “spokesperson” for Pérez, whom he calls the mastermind of the Super League idea.

Tebas did not elaborate on how or why he said Barcelona and Bartomeu were echoing Madrid’s ideas, only saying that maybe they have been showing too much respect for their rivals.

Tebas said Bartomeu has “zero” authority in the soccer industry and that the Super League announcement on his last day on the job was just the latest of his recent mistakes.

Neither Real Madrid nor Barcelona responded to requests for comment following Tebas’ charge.

Tebas said Barcelona’s intention to participate in a Super League would do little to help the new competition get started, adding the will of a few clubs wouldn’t outweigh the rest of the soccer industry.

“In the medium term this tournament would be a failure,” the Spanish league president said. “Professional soccer is not only about the decision of four, five or six clubs who want to play in a competition to win more money.”

Rumors of a Super League often materialize ahead of UEFA talks to consider changes to the Champions League format, which are expected for the 2024-25 season.

FIFA said it was “not aware of any agreement” related to the Super League.

“The topic of a so-called ‘European Super League’ comes up every now and then and FIFA has no wish to comment further on this since there are already well established football institutional structures to deal with it,” the governing body said in a statement.

But Arsene Wenger, the former Arsenal manager who is now FIFA’s head of global football development, has been more direct in criticizing any new Super League because of the effect it would have on domestic competitions. Wenger believes European clubs are trying to negate the financial advantage of the English Premier League.

“The other leagues tried to destroy the advantage the Premier League has,” Wenger told the AP before Bartomeu’s announcement. “For them, the best thing to attain that is to create a European league. So that means to destroy the Premier League, basically. So if they get the agreement from the English big clubs, it will happen.”

The president of the Portuguese soccer federation, who is a UEFA vice president, said the new league “violates all principles of sporting merit.”

“The world is currently experiencing its greatest challenge, at least for the last century, and the last thing it needs is the exacerbation of selfishness and greed,” Fernando Gomes said in a statement. “The Super League will have no possible path of support in Portugal, and in my opinion all governing bodies should refuse it in a very clear way.”

Rainer Koch, a German member of the UEFA executive committee, said a Super League with 18-20 clubs without promotion and relegation rules “would rip into the heart of European football and must therefore be strictly rejected.”

“It would massively jeopardize the balance of interests between national associations, leagues and clubs in all 55 UEFA member associations,” he said.

Tebas said that the Super League plan remains “very clandestine” and noted that that there was no real public support from other clubs after Bartomeu’s announcement.

“If they were so sure of it, they would be more transparent about it,” Tebas said. “They know that it is an impossible project. The clubs need the national leagues and they need the Champions League in this current configuration.”

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Thu Oct 29, 2020 2:28 pm

given the backlash to PPV this opinion piece in SportsProMedia about the tackling of pirate streams is quite topical

You can only tackle the streaming pirates by studying their every move
Simon Brydon, Synamedia's senior director of sports rights anti-piracy, on the complexities of tackling sports broadcast piracy.

Posted: October 28 2020By: Simon Brydon

From Novak Djokovic analysing hours of video footage of his next opponent’s patterns of play to England hockey goalkeeper Maddie Hinch referring to her black book of handwritten notes about the penalty takers at the Rio Olympics, gaining intelligence on the opposition is critical to secure an advantage. And getting the edge involves squeezing every ounce of data and intelligence available.

Even watching the behaviour of the opposing team during warmups can pay dividends. Picking up subtle signals, such as whether players discreetly tap their shin pads to indicate they are ready to receive the ball, will inform game strategy.

Likewise, as a new season of live sport bursts back on our screens, sports rights holders and video service providers need intelligence to outwit those opponents who are cheating them out of billions of dollars: video pirates.

Piracy is a global problem on an industrial scale. Over the last 18 months in Europe alone, we have seen the number of subscriptions to illegal pirate sites rise by 25 per cent to more than 20 million active subscribers. With an expected US$29 billion spend on sports rights in 2020, today’s video pirates are continuously upping their game to cash in on the action and exploit vulnerabilities at every link of the distribution chain. Their robust, savvy operations and smart technologies are increasingly giving operators and sports rights holders a run for their money.

According to ABI Research, pirates streaming live sports in Europe cost legitimate providers an estimated €941 million (US$1.1 billion) over the last year. Adding insult to injury, sports fans also continue to give piracy a sporting chance. A recent global study conducted for Synamedia by Ampere Analysis found that while 89 per cent of sports fans have a pay-TV or subscription over-the-top (OTT) service, more than half (51 per cent) still watch pirate sports services at least once a month while only 16 per cent of those surveyed said they would never watch pirated sports. With more European top tier soccer games than ever before being broadcast live this season, but fewer free to view air games available, the tide of illegal streaming is set to rise.

Leaner and meaner during lockdown
Combining the forensic intelligence gathered by Synamedia's global operational security team - including undercover cyber and field investigators, psychology, criminology and sociology experts - with new artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning techniques has given Synamedia interesting insights into video pirates’ preparations for the new season.

Synamedia has seen that pirates have been upgrading for growth by adding more servers to scale faster, as well as new features – such as more cloud DVR channels and extended catch up.

Illicit content providers have also been working on security upgrades for their own software to make it harder for their systems to be penetrated. This includes recruiting coders to pen test and perform quality control on their applications, just as a legitimate software business would.

The number of new domain registrations brazenly namechecking popular legitimate streaming services such as Netflix has risen significantly. Pirates created more than 47,000 new domains during the peak of lockdown, between the end of February to the end of April, and are still waiting on the reserve benches: pirates can bring them into play as soon as any of their services are penetrated or taken down.

Without live events, pirates turned their attention to plundering historic video content. Some developed service enhancements - for example one pirate network introduced a three-day catch-up TV service and doubled its cloud DVR support from 40 to 80 channels overnight.

But live streaming is not the only form of piracy that streaming providers need to address in their game plan. Credential sharing also eats away at revenues and profits. Pirates make it easy for non-paying users to get full access to streaming services, even premium content in HD, with a rich user experience using stolen credentials. Once obtained, the pirates run each username and password combination through account checkers to validate the details for each specific service before putting them up for sale on marketplaces and forums on the open or dark web. As a result, credentials for popular sports services can be purchased for just US$15 for lifetime access, and a log in for a mainstream streaming service can cost as little as US$2.50.

Opposition analysis is a game-changer
Understanding and analysing how opponents perform is vital to stay one step ahead. When the competition is siphoning off billions in revenue, investing in a new data-led approach, one which blends human intelligence and smart digital tools, is critical to connect the dots and create a comprehensive picture of the piracy landscape.

With this insight, operators can build action plans with the right strategies and technologies in place to detect, degrade and disrupt the illegal streams, redirect viewers to legitimate services and measure the impact and ROI of their anti-piracy investment. Taking video pirate sites down promptly is only possible by engaging all industry players, as well as working alongside regulatory and law enforcement agencies. By continuing to deliver ever more compelling and creative content and services the industry can ensure consumers choose to watch legitimately and safely.

About Synamedia

Synamedia has 30+ years’ experience in video security solutions, and developed the longest unhacked solution on the market. Since its inception, Synamedia’s operational security team has brought many criminals to the attention of law enforcement officials. Synamedia protects approximately $70 billion in operator revenues every year.

About the author

Simon Brydon has worked as a senior executive in the sports industry for 20 years. He joined Synamedia in 2020 from Pitch International, a leading global sports marketing agency.
From 2008 to 2014, Simon ran the media and digital business of Racing UK where he was responsible for managing and distributing the media rights for the UK’s top 34 racecourses. Simon led the way with several ground-breaking digital media innovations including the first launch of a live subscription service on iPhone.

In 2003 he created Cycling Television, the live OTT sports TV channel broadcasting the best professional cycling globally. With over 220 days of racing, Cycling TV was a pioneering business and became a world leader in this emerging sector. In 2007 Simon sold the business to a Canadian media company.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Thu Oct 29, 2020 2:34 pm

When you think of football on TV in the US it is easy to fall into the trap that it is watched on NSBC/Peacock or ESPN, or such like, however 55% of all football watch in the US is on Univision whose programming is in Spanish. This feature from SportsProMedia gives a greater insight

‘We’re taking the Champions League to the broadest audience’: Univision’s European soccer strategy
More Americans watch European soccer’s elite competition in Spanish than they do in English. Eric Conrad, Univision’s executive vice president of sports programming and acquisitions, tells SportsPro how the network is channelling Hispanic passion into its sports coverage.

Posted: October 29 2020By: Tom Bassam

When you consider who watches the sport in America, perhaps it is not surprising that the broadcast home of soccer in the US in not ESPN, NBC or CBS. Instead, it is the Spanish-language network Univision that dominates soccer viewership.

Perhaps what is more surprising is Univision’s market share in soccer. With a rights portfolio that includes Major League Soccer (MLS), Mexico’s Liga MX and the Uefa Champions League and Europa League, European soccer’s top club competitions, Univision can lay claim to an impressive 55 per cent of all soccer viewership in the US.

This has not come about by accident. Eric Conrad, Univision’s executive vice president of sports programming and acquisitions, says the network has been aggressive in expanding its soccer broadcast partnerships. Univision is about to enter its second rights cycle as the Spanish-language broadcaster in the US for the Champions League and Europa League. The Miami-based media company, along with CBS, is paying a reported US$150 million for the contract, and while the majority of the fee is being paid by the English network, it is not drawing the majority of the viewers.

Picking up the Champions League rights ahead of the one-off final eight tournament in August, CBS followed its predecessor, Turner Sports, in putting games behind a paywall. Univision’s coverage was, however, free-to-air (FTA), which only pressed home its advantage.

The broadcast of Bayern Munich’s semi-final win over Lyon across Univision’s various channels brought in an average of 963,000 viewers, peaking at 981,000. Those figures broke the US record for a Champions League semi-final live broadcast, which was set by Paris Saint-Germain’s victory over RB Leipzig the previous day at 879,000. Before the final, Univision and TUDN’s largest combined audience came during Bayern’s 8-2 demolition of Barcelona in the quarter-final, which totalled 1.36 million viewers, peaking at 1.52 million. Meanwhile, Lyon’s 3-1 victory over Manchester City at that same stage also netted 1.18 million total viewers.

Despite the absence of a Spanish side to help drive the numbers, more than two million viewers saw Bayern beat PSG in the most-watched Champions League final in the US since 2015.

For this season’s group stage, Univision is again reporting strong viewership. The first round of Champions League fixtures on the UniMas network averaged 340,000 viewers, up 21 per cent on last year. That topped out with Bayern’s thumping win over Atletico Madrid, which saw an average of 492,000 tune into UniMas. Even on Univision’s pay-TV Galavision network, Manchester United’s shock win over PSG brought in 183,000 viewers.

SportsPro spoke to Conrad to discover how Univision is using soccer to capitalise on its unique market position.

How has Univision built up such a strong audience for its Champions League coverage?
We’re into our third season now with the Champions League. The great opportunity we saw with the rights when we acquired them ahead of the 2018/19 season was that we viewed it as the most prestigious soccer tournament in the world, yet in the US it had not yet met the reach that such a property would normally enjoy.

From the onset we were very aggressive in acquiring the rights and then saying we’re going to make these marquee matches available to the broadest audience possible. So we scheduled games, which are obviously played at concurrent times, across our linear network. So we have matches on our two free-to-air networks, our 24-hour sports network TUDN, and our broadly distributed basic cable network as well. So from the onset we were all in on making the best matches available across our linear networks and then all of the matches available on our digital portfolio as well.

We started growing right from the onset, creating pre-game shows, having reporters onsite at the stadiums in Europe, then launching more platforms, TUDN Extra and Zona Futbol, a conference channel or whiparound channel to cover all the matches at once.

So when you take something away, like we had with the pandemic, we saw that the passion was there for [the Champions League’s] return. We couldn’t have been happier with the [viewership figures]. It truly surpassed our own expectations.

Even on the Europa League side, with Sevilla and Inter Milan, that was a 70 per cent increase in ratings from the prior year’s final.

What do you put your recent high-profile success with the competition down to? Is it too simplistic just to cite CBS putting matches behind a paywall?
The prior English language broadcaster Turner had a very similar [paywall] strategy to CBS. It wasn’t as if we went from having more than one English-language match available on linear networks in the US [against us]. It was a very similar distribution, of course there was a transition there with Turner opting out of the rights and CBS coming in a year early. That maybe created a window of uncertainty where fans were unsure of where to find those matches, but that’s the advantage [to Univision] in saying we’re going to make these matches available to broadest audience possible – we’re easy to find if you speak Spanish or you don’t.

I think it was a bit more of the story we built across our networks, creating the storylines that hopefully made it must-watch live sports for our audience.

We were already back with our Mexican league coverage. Liga MX is the most-watched soccer property here in the States. So having that back in our air was great for the tune in and promotion of the return of the Champions League. Between the ability to leverage our free-to-air reach and coverage on that network, plus our 24-hour sports network, plus the coverage on digital, plus we had reporters in Europe even during the pandemic with interviews and creating stories for us, we generated a lot of excitement around the return of the Champions League and Europa League.

Does Univision see itself as a competitor with the English-language networks?
We do not see ourselves as competing with the English-language [broadcasters], which is why we were the drivers of bifurcating the rights in many instances. We do see our audience as loyal and passionate towards our coverage. Generally speaking, as soccer interest grows here in the US, so will our engagement and our reach. We have 55 per cent of all soccer viewership in the US, when the interest in the sport grows, so will our audience.

What is your audience growth strategy?

Naturally our focus is the Hispanic community in the United States, which continues to grow year over year.

We have the most consumed Spanish-language digital portfolio in the US and both last year, and this year, soccer viewing on Univision accounted for 55 per cent of all the soccer viewership in the US. That number grows to 79 per cent for primetime viewing. So we’ve established ourselves as the home for soccer in the United States.

The majority of our Liga MX audience is watching Champions League and visa versa, that speaks to the passion that our audience has for the sport and our marquee properties. Of course the Liga MX audience differs a bit in that so many Hispanics in the US are Mexican-Americans or of Mexican origin, so they have a natural affinity to Liga MX and when you layer on top of that the star power, the best players in the world and the prestige of the Uefa Champions League, it creates this frequency of tune that is unbeatable. With Uefa properties being available in the week in the afternoon and then Liga MX in primetime, there’s not overlap in windows whatsoever which allows us to continue the cycle of consumption.

What are some of the audience trends you notice within your viewership?
Historically Real Madrid and Barcelona have been the most-watched club teams across our networks, but that’s evolving as well. We were very pleased to have Bayern Munich from Germany, who perhaps historically there wasn’t as large a following for in the Spanish language, versus PSG in the final but still set two million viewers on an weekend afternoon.

Our audience does tend to follow the national team players, predominantly from Mexican national team, so we do see a growth when we do see a star player at one of those [European] clubs. Be it Christian Pulisic at Chelsea or Raul Jimenez at Wolves last year in the Europa League, we do see a ratings spike in those situations. With Colombian-Americans too when [Colombian] players play we do see an uptick in ratings.

On the digital front, how are you engaging with cord cutters or cord-nevers?
TUDN is our sports brand, the name of our linear [sports] network but the name that encompasses all of our sports content. TUDN app streams all the Uefa Champions League matches, that also includes highlights, results and all the typical that a fan would want to access during the season – that’s a free app. TUDN Extra is a digital extension we launched in collaboration we launched with our [multichannel video programming distributors] here in the States - that’s where we place all the remaining Champions League and Europa League matches outside of linear ecosystem. As part of the TUDN extra offering, we also make available the Zona Futbol conference channel, which is available in the group stage of both the Champions League and Europa League.

We want to be in front of you wherever you are. We have the rights to work with Uefa to work with the various social media destinations to place engaging content there. One thing we’ve seen resonate with out audience is to do a dedicated Facebook show in advance of the window opening for our matches and that will help to drive audience to a digital TUDN Extra match or a linear match. At launch you have less time to prepare, but over the years we’ve grown the number of video interviews, analysis for both Champions League and Europa League.

After ever group stage game we have a dedicated social media show, with two of our most well-known [on-screen] talents. It’s called Noches Magicas and it covers the results of Champions League and Europa League. In August we had our most successful delivery of the Champions League on digital, much like our linear ratings we do look to grow that in the coming year.

You are also a domestic broadcaster for MLS and the next rights tender is approaching. What can you tell us there and how is that property trending against Liga MX?
We are [MLS’] current broadcast partner through 2022, but we’ve been a partner since the 90s. We’re proud to see how they have grown as a property in the States. The ratings over the past three years have been strong, we’re the exclusive home of a weekly game and we also air the MLS All-Star game and the MLS Cup, as well as two playoff matches. As the rights conversations are ongoing I can’t speak to it, but we would love to continue our partnership with Major League Soccer.

Liga MX is still the most-watched soccer league in the US, but we don’t view them as competitive environments. We’re able to schedule the Mexican league on certain nights of the week and MLS on other nights or afternoons on the weekends. So much like the Uefa Champions League, which is weekdays in the afternoons, it really helps to grow our overall portfolio in terms of having the audience flow from one match to the next.

From that perspective too it’s a more diverse audience that comes to consumer MLS, whereas Mexican league is pretty Mexico-centric – 75 per cent of viewers are Mexican – our MLS viewers are much more diverse than that, which is always welcome.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Thu Oct 29, 2020 2:43 pm

La Liga clubs have been given until the end of the season to end betting sponsorships - from SportsBusiness.com

La Liga clubs told to end betting deals by end of 2020/21 season
Spain’s minister of consumer affairs appears to reject requests for longer transition.

Posted: October 29 2020By: Tom Bassam
La Liga clubs told to end betting deals by end of 2020/21 season
Getty Images

- Ban could cost La Liga clubs €90m in combined annual revenue
- Seven of the 20 Spanish top-flight clubs have shirt sponsorships with gambling brands

Spain’s minister of consumer affairs, Alberto Garzón, has sent a letter to domestic top-flight soccer clubs calling on them to end their gambling partnerships after the conclusion of the 2020/21 season.

In anticipation of the previously announced new laws regarding gambling industry marketing, the letter informs La Liga clubs that their contracts with betting companies will be prohibited once the new royal decree is officially in place.

The decree, which covers all sports in Spain, impacts sponsorship deals of whatever type, be that visual branding or simply associated rights.

Seven of the 20 teams in top-flight La Liga have shirt sponsorship deals with gambling companies. These are Alavés (Betway), Cádiz (Dafabet), Granada (Winamax), Levante (Betway), Real Betis (Betway), Sevilla (MarathonBet) and Valencia (Bwin).

In the second tier, Girona and Leganés have respective principal partnerships with MarathonBet and Betway.

La Liga also has its own tie-up with Sportium, which serves as the league’s official sportsbook.

Domestic giants Real Madrid have a deal with Codere as their Spanish market betting operator but also have recently penned a contract with Kok Sports in Asia. Those overseas deals may not be impacted if the new decree follows the Italian model in allowing overseas betting sponsorships. Barcelona’s official betting partnership with 1XBet is a global deal.

With clubs already facing serious financial difficulties due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, La Liga president Javier Tebas has said teams would lose an additional combined €90 million (US$105 million) if they were forced to drop gambling deals. Tebas also called for a transition period of up to three years to help teams acclimatise, but the letter appears to reject that request.

The letter adds that betting companies sponsoring teams and athletes had contributed to the ‘normalising’ of betting which has ‘serious health and social risks’. It claims that athletes' status as role models had led to an increase in gambling among young people aged 18 to 25, rising from 29 per cent to 40 per cent in the last four years. The amount of money spent by young people in Spain on gambling, meanwhile, had risen by 13 per cent annually.

The new decree will limit marketing content from the gambling industry on TV, radio and other video media outlets to be limited to one hour per day between 1am and 5am. The law, approved by the European Commission, would also apply a blanket ban on betting sponsorships on kits and in stadiums.

Garzón’s proposal would also extend the prohibition of using the ‘name brand or trade name of a betting operator to identify a sports facility or entertainment facility’. In addition, according to previous reports, ‘no sponsorship activities may be carried out that involve substituting or adding to the name of a team or sports competition or of any other entity outside the sector of gambling and betting, the name or commercial name of an operator’. Such a move would prohibit gambling firms taking up naming rights partnerships.

Welcome offers to new customers could also be tightened, with a maximum amount of €100 (US$113) proposed. These will only be accessible to people who have cumulatively had an open betting account for at least one month, have had the required documents verified and made at least three deposits.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:41 pm

apparently 8 EFL clubs have been bailed out by emergency loans this week - from the Mail

REVEALED: Eight clubs have been saved from going bust this week by emergency EFL loans but 20 more are on the brink as Fleetwood Town chairman warns 'working class people will never forgive' the government if it does not help
EFL created a £50 million emergency loan fund for clubs at risk of going bust
League says loans will not solve the financial crisis in England's lower leagues
Clubs ask for government funds, PAYE deferrals and fans back in grounds
Government insists there is enough money in football to solve the crisis
By CHARLIE WALKER FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 14:10, 29 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:15, 29 October 2020

Eight football league clubs have been saved from administration by emergency loan payments from the EFL this week, but another 20 could go bust before Christmas.

As revealed by Sportsmail, the EFL introduced a £50 million emergency loan scheme for stricken clubs after it failed to strike a bail-out deal with the Premier League and with no prospect of direct financial support from Government.

EFL clubs are hugely dependent on matchday income, which ranges from a quarter to a third of all revenue in the different divisions, and they have been crippled by the coronavirus restrictions, which ban fans from stadiums.

A host of clubs were looking into the financial abyss and were widely expected to miss their October payroll and go out of business

But the loans will allow them to limp along a little longer. However, another 20 clubs are believed to be staggering towards Christmas and club chairmen believe they too will need a loan to stay afloat into the New Year.

'Eight clubs would not have been able to keep going, but they had access to the emergency fund from the EFL,' said Andy Pilley, chairman of Fleetwood Town, which loses around £300,000-a-month as result of the ban on fans.

'We desperately need the government's help. Without that we will be looking at another 20 clubs running out of money by Christmas.'

The EFL's £50 million emergency loan fund for clubs is only a stop-gap measure. It is an advance on money they would have received anyway next season and will have to be repaid by withholding some of those payments when they are due.

Hence, the EFL and its clubs are arguing for a bail-out followed by a restructure of English football so clubs become more sustainable.

On Wednesday, EFL chairman Rick Parry wrote an explosive letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden pleading for Government grants for EFL clubs.

He said that football was being 'regarded as a peculiarly undeserving case' given that £1.5 billion of funding was being directed to the Arts sector to help alleviate the impact of the pandemic.

Fleetwood's Mr Pilley added: 'We are going to be talking about how we lost football clubs unless the Government helps find money from somewhere.'

Echoing Mr Parry's position that the football-loving public will 'judge the Conservative government' if clubs go out of business, Mr Pilley, who campaigned for the Tories in Fleetwood at the last election, said: 'The Conservative Party will suffer immensely if they allow football clubs to go to the wall.

'Working class people will never forgive them.'

The political point is sharpened by the Conservative's success in northern constituencies, which helped them win the last election and the government's subsequent commitment to 'level up' opportunity between north and south.

If clubs, particularly in small towns and provincial communities, go bust the EFL argues it will be a particularly bitter blow to the social fabric of those areas.

In addition to Government funding, the EFL is also asking for relief on PAYE tax payments and a coherent plan to get fans back into stadiums.

But Government has steadfastly refused to countenance funding the EFL, suggesting that the Premier League is well-placed to help.

A £50m offer from the Premier League to League One and Two, which comprised loans and grants, was turned down by clubs earlier this month because it ignored the Championship teams.

Suggestion of £250m bailout as part of Project Big Picture was squashed by the Premier League clubs because it would have handed even greater wealth and power to the biggest six sides in the country.

In a statement, a Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesperson said: "We have been clear that professional football has the means to support itself and have been assured by the football authorities that they have no intention to let any club go bust due to the pandemic

"We have secured a package for the National League and our focus is now on supporting those sports and sectors that need it most and cannot look after themselves. We urge the EFL and Premier League to finalise a deal as soon as possible."

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:45 pm

That news comes as the EFL clubs are facing losing staff as the government furlough scheme comes to an end - this from the Telegraph

Football League clubs left 'in limbo' with end of furlough scheme as potential job-cutting talks begin
JEREMY WILSON OCTOBER 29, 2020

Football League clubs have opened talks about potentially cutting staff after being left “in limbo” as the Government’s furlough scheme draws to an end.

With the current job retention scheme, which allowed staff to be retained on 80 per cent of pay, closing this weekend and clubs unsure whether they are eligible for winter support, the English Football League has warned of an urgent risk.

The Government has stressed that professional football “has the means to support itself” through the Covid-19 pandemic but the Premier League and EFL have so far failed to reach any agreement on a potential bail-out.

“It is inevitable that EFL clubs, like many other businesses, are considering their options as the furlough scheme comes to an end,” said an EFL spokesperson. “Operations stretch way beyond match days and whilst they remain open to play matches; they remain closed in almost every other aspect. Our clubs are in limbo. There remains no clarity from the government that they will even be eligible for the chancellor’s new support schemes and remain in danger of falling through the cracks.

“Football requires emergency assistance or we face the real prospect of our football clubs, the heartbeat of 72 towns and cities across England and Wales, being forced into hibernation and/or worse.”

Rick Parry, the EFL chairman, had advocated “Project Big Picture”, which would have seen the Premier League advance £250 million down the professional pyramid as part of a range of structural reform, but this was roundly rejected by most top-flight clubs. They in turn suggested £50 million in grants to League One and League Two but, with Championship clubs missing out, that was rejected by the EFL.

“As we sit here now, we can’t really see any light at the end of the tunnel,” said Ben Robinson, Burton Albion chairman. “In the spring, we believe our cash flow is going to be severely tested and that’s after taking advantage of all the options available.

“We’ve taken out a substantial loan, which is interest-free for the first 12 months, maximised the furlough scheme, sold a player to Chelsea [goalkeeper Teddy Sharman-Lowe] and had money from our cup game against Aston Villa.”

Mark Palios, the Tranmere owner, said that furlough had helped reduce their losses by about £550,000 but that they had already made 20 staff redundant during the summer. Of the new government scheme, Palios said: “There is a closed scheme and open scheme for businesses and we do not have the details of the closed scheme. We don’t have any paying gates but we are technically opened. We are in this difficult position where we have to employ our major cost-line while we are not allowed to take any revenues in.”

Parry had contrasted football with Glyndebourne Opera House in his letter to the Government, but it responded yesterday by saying that the EFL chair had been “misleading” in suggesting it had so far benefited from the

£1.57 billion recovery fund that was advanced to the arts and culture.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

of course Parry's claim that Glyndebourne receiving government funding is wrong, which they politely pointed out today

https://twitter.com/glyndebourne/status ... 6434335744

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Thu Oct 29, 2020 11:21 pm

A new blog piece from the chaps at Vysyble reflecting on the outcry over Project Big Picture, the European Premier League, Josep Maria Bartomeu's claim that Barcelona had signed up to a European Super League and even the "Our Beautiful Game" manifesto, and why despite the ridicule the Americans are right to question the way the game is currently structured.

https://vysyble.com/blog-1

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Thu Oct 29, 2020 11:37 pm

The summer of 2019 saw plenty of scandalous reports on CAF president Ahmad Ahmad (just type his name in the search box at the top of the page for the reports) and his abuse of the confederation for his own gain.

Today we have new reports that he is not only trying to get re-elected for his role at CAF

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/africa/54722657

but that he is simultaneously facing the prospect of a FIFA ban for ethics breeches

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/africa/54722656

He is also still under investigation from the French equivalent of the Serious Fraud Office

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Thu Oct 29, 2020 11:41 pm

The news this week that 19 Premier League clubs (including ours) had signed up to the FA's new diversity code created the usual tirade of abuse that led to another locked thread on this board - which is a shame because I wanted to add this to that thread - The Premier League want ot take it further and even include the code in boardroom appointments (which had been part of the early discussions) from the Telegraph

Premier League preparing to set more ambitious diversity targets among coaching staff and in boardrooms
MIKE MCGRATH OCTOBER 29, 2020

The Premier League is preparing to set more ambitious diversity targets among coaching staff and in boardrooms.

Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive, wrote to clubs this week endorsing the Football Association’s new voluntary code tackling inequality within the game. The “equality standard programme” is set to be adjusted to adopt aspects of the code.

The FA is setting targets for increasing diversity in senior leadership and coaching positions. Forty clubs signed up initially with others from the English Football League since showing their interest to commit to the new targets.

Clubs in the top division have the existing Premier League Equality Standard as a framework for diversity and it is understood it will be tweaked next year to take in aspects of the FA’s code.

Masters has sent an email to clubs supporting the new code, where clubs have pledged that 25 per cent of new coaching appointments will be black, Asian or of mixed heritage, with at least 10 per cent in senior positions. Shortlists for interview will have at least one male and one female black, Asian or of mixed heritage candidate.

Southampton were the only top-flight club not to sign up to the diversity code but there is hope they eventually will. The club will continue to have discussions with Paul Elliott, chair of the FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board, and will assess how the code aligns with the Premier League.

Paul Cleal, equality adviser to the Premier League Board, has also been working closely with clubs on policies, with a lack of representation in senior leadership positions highlighted this year, particularly after Black Lives Matter protests in England.

Players have “taken the knee” in support of BLM before matches, although QPR director of football Les Ferdinand has argued the message has now been lost and it is “not dissimilar to a fancy hashtag or a nice pin badge”.

Across Europe there are different attitudes towards the gesture and Marseille did not take the knee against Manchester City in the Champions League this week. However, the symbol still has support from some players who feel it shows purpose and keeps BLM in the public eye.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Fri Oct 30, 2020 12:29 am

Our friend The Esk has a simple plan for the redistribution of football revenues

https://theesk.org/2020/10/29/a-simple- ... -revenues/
This user liked this post: The esk

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Fri Oct 30, 2020 11:40 am

Interesting news for Derby County, they are in takeover takes with parties from Abu Dhabi - they hate Leeds too (if you believe the middle east stand-off is being played out as a proxy war in English football)

https://theathletic.com/news/derby-newc ... JQROiLw7Cn

Exclusive: Sheikh Khaled turns attention from Newcastle takeover to Derby
30 October 2020Updated 11:21 GMT

A senior member of the Abu Dhabi royal family who recently failed with high-profile bids for Liverpool and Newcastle United is interested in a Derby County takeover, Matt Slater can reveal.

Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan, 62, is the cousin of Manchester City's owner Sheikh Mansour and owns the Bin Zayed Group, a Dubai-based conglomerate.

Current owner Mel Morris bought Derby in 2015 but The Athletic understands he has been trying to sell at least a significant chunk of the club since last season.

When did Sheikh Khaled become interested in Derby?
Last month, Derventio Holdings (UK) Limited was registered at Companies House, the UK's registrar of companies, with three directors: Bin Zayed Group managing director Midhat Kamil Kidwai and two Swiss-based British entrepreneurs, Andrew Obolensky and Christopher Samuelson. Sheikh Khaled is listed as a "person with significant control".

Derventio was a Roman town that grew to become the modern city of Derby and representatives of the new company are understood to have attended Derby's recent home against Watford.

What experience do the group have?
Sheikh Khaled was unsuccessful with a bid for Liverpool in 2018 that was worth a reported £2 billion and an offer of £350 million for Newcastle in 2019.

Samuelson is no stranger to English football, having been involved in Russian businessman Anton Zingarevich's takeover of Reading in 2012 and the 2016 purchase of Aston Villa by a Chinese consortium led by Tony Xia.

The 74-year-old Englishman was also behind a failed investment in Everton in 2004 and an unsuccessful bid for Bristol Rovers in 2015.

What is the current situation?
Derby's current owner Morris bought the Championship side from Andy Appleby's American Partners group in 2015 but has been trying to sell at least a significant chunk of the club for at least a year, with Swiss financier Henry Gabay and Foster Gillett, the son of former Liverpool co-owner George Gillett, among those interested in the club.

Having spent six seasons in the Premier League around the turn of new millennium, Derby have only spent one season in the top flight since 2002 and this season is their 13th in a row in the Championship. According to the most recent edition of The Sunday Times Rich List, Morris is worth more than £500 million, largely thanks to his central involvement in the company behind the Candy Crush computer game, but even his wealth has its limits.

Derby have haemorrhaged money in recent seasons, spending large sums on transfer fees and wages but falling short in the play-offs four times in the last six years. Last year, Morris sold the club's Pride Park stadium to another company he owns for £81 million - a transaction that enabled Derby to avoid a breach of the English Football League's profitability and sustainability rules.

Neither the Bin Zayed Group nor Samuelson have responded to requests for comment.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Fri Oct 30, 2020 12:23 pm

This is fascinating - @FootballLaw talking about how appearance bonuses work in contractual terms - imagine getting subbed on 69 minutes, no appearance bonus

https://twitter.com/FootballCFB/status/ ... 9750796288

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Fri Oct 30, 2020 1:55 pm

Strange goings on at Oldham have been a feature for a few years now - this story about club captain David Wheater - exiled for refusing a pay cut (and not being paid at all) is probably not the only example of it's kind in the EFL at the moment

https://pushtheboundary.co.uk/freewheatz-30-10-2020

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:41 pm

this is big news - Nasser al Khelaifi - President of PSG, UEFA Executive Council Member amongst many other roles has been acquitted of corruption charges by a Swiss Court

https://twitter.com/tariqpanja/status/1 ... 1667474433

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Fri Oct 30, 2020 3:05 pm

a fascinating article on the issues of supporter involvement in the most democratic club in elite football and how it contributed to the downfall and resignation of it's President Josep Maria Bartomeu by @Marcotti for ESPN

Barcelona's Bartomeu era ends with shame but shows the struggle of club's presidential model

Oct 29, 2020 - Gabriele Marcotti - Senior Writer, ESPN FC

Josep Maria Bartomeu is no longer president of Barcelona. He resigned Tuesday after facing tons of public pressure -- including, he says, "threats and insults" -- and a de facto impeachment vote he would almost certainly have lost.

One, perhaps superficial, reading is that this is a triumph for democracy -- or, at least, the version that governs Futbol Club Barcelona. Bartomeu was elected, his actions displeased voters, and there was a mechanism in place for him to be recalled. Enough public pressure was exerted from both within (Gerard Pique, Lionel Messi) and without (parts of the media, former presidents) that voters took action.

This is an option that fans of other clubs with unpopular leaders do not have, and however imperfect Barcelona's setup might be, there's a voice for supporters beyond the usual boycotts and voting with your wallet.

The old maxim is that democracy is the fairest system of government, but dictatorship is the most efficient. There's some truth to that in football. If you have absolute power indefinitely (or until you decide to sell up), you can do what you like. If you're continually freaking out about polls or reelections, your natural tendency will be to think short-term.

Bartomeu will be remembered for many things, perhaps chiefly for the fact that the greatest player in the club's history tried to leave the club this past summer, slamming the door behind him. But, in fact, the Lionel Messi crisis is nothing more than another example of the difficulties encountered when trying to balance short-term and long-term thinking.

Under Bartomeu's watch, the club came within a whisker of becoming the first sports franchise to break the one billion Euro ($1.17 billion) mark in revenue, something made possible in part by taking their merchandising, retail and licensing activities in-house and pursuing an aggressive and successful sponsorship strategy. That was the sort of short-term move that took guts and foresight: You sacrifice short-term guaranteed cash from partners for long-term growth and revenue.

The problem is that a football club isn't a retail brand; it gets judged every week by what happens on the pitch, and in the department of weekly, short-term results, Bartomeu came up desperately short. That's not so much when it comes to results on the pitch, which were mixed -- in his nearly seven seasons at the helm, they won four Liga titles (good) and four Copas del Rey (also good), but they advanced past the quarterfinals of the Champions League just twice (not so good) -- but, rather, in the actions he took to keep the team competitive.

Bartomeu made, or enabled those around him to make, a raft of poor decisions, most of them reacting to short-term needs. Neymar accepts Paris Saint-Germain's offer and walks out after exercising his €222m buyout clause? Let's blow the whole fee (and then some) on Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho, gambling that one or the other will fill the superstar gap.

Dembele is injured all the time? Cool, let's blow another €41m on Malcom and then give him only six league starts because, well, he's not good.

Coutinho doesn't live up to his €145m superstar price tag? No problem! Let's spend another €120m on Antoine Griezmann, even though he has zero chemistry with Messi and Luis Suarez and made us look silly the year before, when he did a 180-degree turn after all but agreeing to join us.

We need a backup center-forward? Let's sign Kevin-Prince Boateng, who is 31 years old, has scored 10 or more league goals just once in his career and, perhaps most importantly, is not a center-forward.

Obviously, Bartomeu wasn't making footballing decisions, but the buck stopped with him, and the spending had consequences.

Bartomeu's decision to step down before an impeachment vote means the club can now look to the future, but their presidential model will surely cause similar issues with future leaders. Noelia Deniz/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images
The wage bill continuously ballooned under his watch. In 2018-19, it stood at €529m ($620m), which was already more than twice as much as all but eight other clubs in the world and €98m ($114m) more than the second-highest wage bill in football (Real Madrid). Last season, it was set to rise by another €100m ($117m) before wage deferrals and cuts as a result of the coronavirus pandemic took out some of the sting.

One of the side effects of all this is that debt also grew significantly before the pandemic and then, obviously, grew even further after the pandemic, to the point that it's now close to half a billion Euros. It's also worth noting that in cash terms, the situation is far from rosy: According to the financial blogger @Swissramble, Barcelona's habit of paying for transfers in installments means they'll need to fork out a further €168m ($197m) in net terms over the next few years.

Most will remember Bartomeu for the fact that the unthinkable -- Messi announcing he wanted to leave the club -- happened under his watch. We're not privy to the details of their relationship, so apportioning blame would be unfair. What we do know is that most of what Bartomeu did in his handling of Messi backfired badly, whether it was facilitating the Eric Abidal interview calling out the dressing room (which prompted a rare Messi statement) or the salary-cut negotiation (another Messi riposte) or simply saying that he was 100 percent certain Messi would stay, which culminated in the burofax and Messi telling the club he wanted to leave.

All of the above were short-term reactions to short-term issues. All of them he got badly wrong.

That's the downside of Barca's "democratic" model. You want to think long-term for the good of the club, but you end up acting short-term to react to immediate concerns -- or what you think are immediate concerns. It's hard to be good at both, and Bartomeu certainly came up short in the latter.

What's next? Elections in a few months, of course, but most of all, a chance for those who starred on the pitch in Barcelona's latest golden era -- and who, directly or indirectly, had a hand in Bartomeu's departure -- to make their mark.

I'm referring to Messi, of course, but also Pique, Xavi, possibly Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets. Some will continue playing, for a while longer anyway, some will not, and others have already quit. But they defined the most glorious period of Barcelona's history (from Pep Guardiola onward), and they are the descendants of the second-most glorious period (the Johan Cruyff years).

It's easy to forget, but this is a club that, prior to 1990, had won 10 Liga titles in 61 years. (They've won 16 in the past 30.) These men have earned the right to a voice in shaping the club's future, and they will exercise it either directly or indirectly by backing candidates and programs at the next election -- and, in the case of Pique, perhaps by running for president one day.

That's the Barcelona version of democracy. Yes, it's imperfect and can lead to debacles such as the end of the Bartomeu Era, in which you're stuck between present and future and make poor decisions. Sure, if the goal is simply to amass silverware and break the billion-Euro revenue mark, then they'd probably be far better off if they were owned by an enlightened multibillionaire who could hire smart people to make cold-blooded long-term decisions without endless consultation.

But that isn't the goal -- at least, not for the organization that calls itself "more than a club."

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:10 pm

West Ham have been at the revolving credit again

https://twitter.com/KieranMaguire/statu ... 7106413571

after satisfying a previous charge on these assets in August West Ham have used them for a new credit facility with Barclays

all the filing details can be found here

https://find-and-update.company-informa ... ng-history

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:18 pm

Jamie Carragher interviews Rick Parry in the Telegraph

Jamie Carragher exclusively interviews EFL chairman Rick Parry: 'Project Big Picture is not dead'
JAMIE CARRAGHER OCTOBER 30, 2020

Throughout my discussion with EFL chairman Rick Parry about ‘Project Big Picture’ and its subsequent fall-out, there is one obstacle I cannot overcome.

“Rick, you can’t seriously expect me and football fans to believe the American owners of Liverpool and Manchester United care about the long-term future of English football?”

“I absolutely believe they care,” Parry replies. “I know they are genuine because I have been talking to them for long enough, otherwise I would not have gone with this.”

I am sceptical. While Parry firefights for what is widely perceived as a power grab by English football’s biggest clubs, Liverpool and United wilted at the first confrontation and voted against their own proposals.

That is poor from the two most powerful advocates. Having digested the contents of the document in the past three weeks - and discussed them with my Sky colleague Gary Neville on Monday Night Football - I believe there is too much at stake and too much to admire in the plans. All those in favour should argue the case and address the most severe criticism. Instead, they are letting Parry absorb the flak.

That was on my mind when I asked if he would address some of the biggest concerns. When he agreed, I began by suggesting his silent partners have let him down.

“No. Not at all,” he insists. “The fact is it was Liverpool, Manchester United and the EFL who decided to stick our heads above the parapet. They put their names to it and allowed me to say they back it. To me, the proof of it is in the plan for the pyramid. Why would they be prepared to give 25 per cent of the Premier League’s money to the EFL if they did not care? If they are prepared to come out and talk, then maybe you will believe me.

“There is this idea that we were going around behind people’s backs. It is simply not true. This was not a backroom, behind-closed-doors discussion. There has been a process going on for months involving many people. And the whole process was started by the Football Association."

That is a controversial point. FA chairman Greg Clarke says he walked away early when a ‘breakaway league was mooted’.

“I know my interpretation,” says Parry. “As far as I am concerned, we had a series of meetings with all relevant parties around the table which took us to May. Understandably, everyone then got distracted with the challenge of ending last season and the Covid outbreak. It was not the right time to launch anything radical.

“If I have a regret about the FA, it is that having had the courage to start the process, it is a shame they didn’t say there are great bits in this and help take it forward. There are fantastic benefits for the FA so it is a shame that after stimulating the process, they did not continue that leadership. They are the governing body. They should be the ones saying change is required.

“I was incredibly frustrated we could not get this through by May so we could put it into motion for this season. Then what happened when the plans were put forward is that it was immediately leaked. It was leaked to try to kill it. That meant we didn’t launch it as we would have liked.

“Suddenly it was being portrayed as good against evil, as if Manchester United and Liverpool are somehow evil. That is outrageous. Let’s not forget that some of the so-called ‘good’ guys were saying they wanted to stop the season not long ago. Where is the good in that? That is just self-interest.

“The bottom line is the plan is way too good to be allowed to die. There are too many good elements to it.”

The resistance of 14 Premier League clubs has focused the debate on the unacceptable elements which obviously need rethinking. I despise the hypocrisy whenever I see representatives of the 14 top-flight clubs accuse others of self-interest.

Even so, given so much hostility, it surprises me Parry does not consider ‘Big Picture’ already dead, at least in its current form.

“No no. Absolutely not. I do not believe it is,” he says. “There is too much good in it. The debate has to be kept alive. The EFL will not lie down and shut up. The Premier League has promised a strategic review. They recognise there needs to be change. I hope it happens speedily.

"It is not complicated. It could be done really quickly. We have EFL clubs finding it challenging to pay wages in November. Others will be struggling around Christmas. Without supporters, by February and March there will be more in that situation.”

Ideas such as ending anti-competitive parachute payments and redistributing wealth among 92 clubs are a no-brainer, as is capping away tickets at £20 and freeing up the fixture schedule. A resolution to the thornier questions of preventing the top six assuming more control seems less feasible.

There is no way English football can accept businessmen based in Boston or Palm Beach calling the shots, especially as we have no way of knowing who they will sell to years from now.

“Obviously the governance aspect is what has been picked on as the negative," Parry admits. "And I do not know how easy it will be to reduce the Premier League to 18 clubs. But we need to focus more on the longer-term and what is best for the game. Championship clubs are supportive of an 18-team Premier League, willing to give up a promotion place for a plan which makes them more sustainable. If our clubs can do that, why can’t the 14 Premier League clubs who are so resistant do that?

“There are six clubs who have been in the Premier League forever, and 43 who have occupied the other 14 places. Clubs like Aston Villa, West Ham, Newcastle must all think there is a possibility of spending time in the EFL in future. If that happens, the ‘Big Picture’ plan will soften the blow for them.

“Unfortunately, when it comes to voting, very often people look at the short-term rather than long-term. They ask themselves what suits them right now instead of what might benefit them in five or 10 years from now.”

That is easy for Parry to say in his current role. If he was the chief executive of Aston Villa, West Ham, or Newcastle, would he be arguing that?

He pauses. “That is a great question. The easy answer is for me to say I would love to think I would be looking at the longer-term. But I absolutely get the challenges those clubs face. I would say look towards the next 10 years, not the next six months.”

The threat of Liverpool and United leaving to join a European Super League - something Parry says he has "never believed in" - further antagonised opponents who see this as big boys’ posturing.

Liverpool and United fans would never tolerate such a breakaway, so even if that threat is ever made it will be an empty one. Supporters would march on Anfield and Old Trafford to halt it.

I have known Parry for over 20 years and know him as someone who tends to keep his own counsel rather than be so vocal in the media. His incessant calls for Premier League and government intervention strike me as proof enough of the gravity of the EFL situation, and the urgent need for a resolution.

But I do wonder if Parry's Liverpool connections - and the inevitable accusations of a conflict of interest - have been easy for his fiercest critics to exploit.

“You must have known people would accuse you of that?” I told my former boss.

“That kind of observation does not bother me. I am chairman of the EFL and I represent the interest of our clubs,” he says.

“It has nothing to do with my connection with Liverpool. My response to that is this, ‘Who wouldn’t be interested in two of our greatest clubs showing leadership when the game needs it?'”

What about the fact he is a former Premier League chief executive? Does this not put him in a difficult position arguing for EFL clubs?

“One of my last acts at the Premier League in the mid-90s was to get the clubs to unanimously agree to give 20 per cent of our TV revenues to the Football League,” Parry reminds me.

“Instead, the Football League board did their own deal with Sky. Ever since they have been thinking, ‘What if we had that 20 per cent now?’ So for me it is 25 years of being completely consistent. My role now is to do the best for the EFL and this proposal received overwhelming support from our clubs. The benefits are enormous. So why would you not stand up for that?”

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:28 pm

Chester Perry wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 6:15 pm
Another new player in the shirt deal market, and this one is British (Liverpool based) - Rangers sign a £25m deal with Castore, that looks like it will be for club wide apparel - press release only talks about it being a multi year deal rather than a defined term - Steven Gerard was instrumental in the deal (which sounds a little strange to me). This is a big step for such a young company, especially with all the other deals they are currently talking about

https://castore.com/uk/castore-x-rangers-partnership/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/footb ... deals.html

Is the shirt deal market due for a shake up? not seen this many new entrants since the late 1980's early 1990's
Rangers kit supplier Castore are now ready to take a team in the Premier League having come to an agreement with Newcastle United - from the Mail

Luxury sportswear brand Castore make their move into the Premier League as they 'agree kit deal with Newcastle' after launching £25m partnership with Rangers earlier this year
- Sportswear brand Castore are set to become Newcastle's official kit supplier
- British-based company have been looking to enter the Premier League market
- It comes after they signed a multi-year £25m deal with Rangers in the summer
- The Ibrox side have been locked in a legal battle with Ashley's Sports Direct
- Castore founder Tom Beahon denied Ashley bank-rolled their move into football
By SAM MCEVOY FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 13:59, 30 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:31, 30 October 2020

Castore have made their move in the Premier League market after reportedly agreeing a deal to supply kits for Newcastle United.

The emerging UK sportswear brand made their first foray into the sport after they struck a £25million multi-year deal with Rangers earlier this year.

And now the company, founded by brothers Tom and Phil Beahon, will replace Puma as the Magpies' kit suppliers from next season onwards, according to Sportcal.

Rangers have had long-running court battles with former shareholder and current Newcastle owner, Mike Ashley, over a merchandising contract with Sports Direct.

The legal dispute led to Rangers fans boycotting the kits in an attempt to get Ashley out of the club.

Shortly after Castore agreed to supply kits for Rangers, co-founder Tom Beahon was forced to dismiss internet speculation that Ashley's Fraser's Group were one of the investors bank-rolling their move into football.

Beahon told Sportsmail in May: 'We have investors who like to remain private. Our biggest investor is one of the wealthiest families in the UK.

'For the record, it's not Mike Ashley despite some of the things I've read online in the last couple of weeks.

'Our investors are backing Castore to go and achieve the vision we have to go and build a truly global brand.

'In order to do that we knew that our first football partnership would be with one of the most global, historic, high profile clubs in the world.'

The two Beahon brothers established online luxury brand Castore four years ago and now appear to be making their move into the Premier League, while they plan to add Serie A and LaLiga clubs to the roster in the coming months.

A court previously ruled that Sports Direct should have been given the chance to match a deal struck with current supplier Elite/Hummel.

Satisfied that Ashley will have no influence on the new arrangement, however, Beahon described the Castore agreement as a 'new start'.

While the immediate attention has turned to football, Castore are also working away in the background within other sports.

With Andy Murray already a brand ambassador, they are looking to branch out even further and have hinted that deals within rugby union and cricket are already some way along the pipeline.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Sat Oct 31, 2020 11:22 pm

Earlier this week David Conn in the Guardian revealed that FA Chairman had been lying about his involvement in Project Big Big - suggesting he was involved in the initial drafts and the later versions that were revealed by the Telegraph - Now the Telegraph has revealed that he was involved in the creation of all 18 drafts of the document

Exclusive: FA chairman Greg Clarke was involved in all 18 Project Big Picture drafts despite saying he walked away
TOM MORGAN OCTOBER 31, 2020

Football Association chairman Greg Clarke had input on all 18 drafts of 'Project Big Picture' despite later claiming he had backed off early from the plot, Telegraph Sport understands.

Clarke - who helped torpedo the proposals with a critical letter after they were first disclosed by Telegraph Sport three weeks ago - was allegedly present at all the significant meetings, and it is understood he has never indicated he would voice opposition.

Renewed pressure on the 62 year-old to clarify his actions to the FA Council comes as MPs and fans groups said patience had run out over the failure by football's leaders to tackle the financial catastrophe caused by Covid-19.

Ministers are understood to be in daily talks about how to help break the current deadlock after a fortnight of no apparent progress since the Premier League offered a "derisory" £50 million loans and grants offer. Malcolm Clarke, the Football Supporters Association chairman and FA Council supporters' representative, said the only answer was for the Government to fast-track its pre-election manifesto pledge for a fan-led review.

Meanwhile, Julian Knight, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, expressed concern at "explosive" claims that Clarke's involvement in PBP was more extensive than the FA Council had been led to believe. “Instead of coming together – like leaders in other sports have done – football’s top brass are using the Covid crisis to power broke," Mr Knight said. "Instead, what they should be doing is ensuring the survival of all league clubs, with the strong supporting the weak. Covid has exposed many of the fissures in our society but football, uniquely, is showing itself in the poorest of lights.”

Clarke's role in PBP was called into question after he helped derail the proposals in an open letter to the FA Council two days after Telegraph Sport disclosed details of a revolutionary plot led by Manchester United and Liverpool.

The FA chief distanced himself from the project, saying he "discontinued my involvement and counselled a more consensus-based approach" in "late spring" after other leading figures in the game and the Culture Secretary condemned what they perceived as secret power grab by United and Liverpool's American ownership.

However, other figures close to the process claim he was a key figure throughout. Clarke, it is understood, was present throughout at least seven times, including their final secret summit on May 19. In addition, he provided input on drafts one to 18 of the document, Telegraph Sport understands.

One source close to the project says Clarke's subsequent actions in attacking the proposals were "staggering". Telegraph Sport had already disclosed two weeks ago how Clarke had instigated early meetings, floating controversial 'Premier League 2' and B-team ideas.

Malcolm Clarke, of the FSA, said: "We are focussed on ideas, not personalities, or who said what, when, in this sorry saga, in which the so-called football family had shown itself yet again to be a very dysfunctional family, which is incapable of regulating or reforming itself. We call upon the Government to set up the 'fan-led' review promised in its election manifesto as soon as possible, and we will work with other people and groups who want to achieve the kind of reforms which supporters want to see. Change is urgently required but not the kind of change Project Big Picture proposed, whoever was behind those ideas"

The FA said on Saturday that it had "nothing further to add" on Clarke's previous statement to Telegraph Sport stating he was "part of the early discussions which involved a number of Premier League clubs, with the knowledge of senior FA members". Clarke had claimed then that the first paper he produced "captures a summary of what areas and issues were discussed at an early meeting".

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Sat Oct 31, 2020 11:26 pm

Naturally all this leads to questions as to just what Clarke is really looking to do - unfortunately I think the Telegraph have missed the mark here, though it feels like they will have more to follow.

Special Report: What does FA chairman Greg Clarke really want with Project Big Picture?
TOM MORGAN OCTOBER 31, 2020

Greg Clarke, the Football Association chairman, likens cash-strapped clubs to ailing wildebeest. “When there is a sick animal, it falls behind the herd,” he says. “The hyenas come out of the jungle and bad things happen.” His safari analogy to rescue football was first offered up when he was targeted by headhunters to become chairman of the Football League in 2010.

Clarke explained then that he had been “traumatised” by his time running his beloved Leicester City as they fell into “desperate” financial trouble in 2002. “I nearly lost my club and I want to make sure that nobody else loses theirs,” he told the board. “There are some fundamental things we have to do.”

Clarke left the newly built King Power, took the EFL job and effected partial reform within a year. His warning that £1 billion debts across the pyramid would double by 2015 prompted the clubs to quickly vote in favour of salary spending limits in Leagues One and Two, as well as tougher financial fair play rules.

However, by autumn 2019, the struggling wildebeest he warned of were still being felled. Amid the fallout from the collapse of League One Bury, Clarke, now having moved on to the FA, set his sights on more radical change.

“I will go back to my analogy of the herd of animals,” he pontificated to the digital, culture, media and sport committee, flanked by counterparts from the Premier League and EFL. “Once people drop behind the herd, the hyenas appear.”

Covid was still confined to a market in Wuhan then, and “Project Big Picture” – the blueprint unearthed three weeks ago by Telegraph Sport – had yet to enter the first of its 18 drafts. Yet Clarke already sensed 2020 would be the year to strike, with European Super League breakaway threats all but certain to resume.

“You have to keep them (the clubs) financially healthy so you don’t have to do all these desperate things,” he said of bail-outs and external interventions.

“You have to impose draconian financial controls that stop them making bets that could prejudice the future of the club, and you have to impose them with a rod of iron.”

As the new year arrived, Clarke kept in close contact with the two other footballing representatives at the DCMS hearing in the hope of developing ideas. PBP, it is understood, was floated for the first time in February. By that point, Clarke had already met for a brainstorm with three of the biggest powerbrokers in the game – Bruce Buck, of Chelsea, Ed Woodward, of Manchester United, and Tom Werner, of Liverpool.

The invite was extended to Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive, who turned it down amid concerns that all clubs should be represented. However, Rick Parry, the EFL chairman, now in position instead of interim Debbie Jevans, enthused over the prospect of revolution.

Talks were productive from the start, according to key members present, and it was Clarke who provided some of the most revolutionary ideas. Early in the process he went to the trouble of preparing a preliminary paper which included B-team proposals and a “Premier League 2” idea.

Clarke, 62, claimed previously, after his notes were leaked to Telegraph Sport, that they were a “summary” of discussions, but other key figures at meetings have since insisted the thoughts were almost entirely his.

Emails exchanged between the group show Clarke’s increasing enthusiasm to accelerate the process as coronavirus tightened its grip on Britain and the sporting landscape in March. “This offers a window of opportunity to reshape English football,” he wrote.

As the weeks wore on, there were eight get-togethers. Clarke, it is understood, was present throughout at least seven times, including their final secret summit on May 19. He also provided input on drafts one to 18 of the document, Telegraph Sport understands. It is in this context that the breakaway group was left shocked and angry when the FA chief pulled a screeching about-turn when the plan finally went public.

PBP sent shockwaves across the game as the blueprint was published on Telegraph Sport’s website on Sunday Oct 11, but the ambitious proposal did not land as its authors hoped.

Commitments to provide a total £350 million bail-out as well as 25 per cent of all future joint TV revenues to the EFL were framed by other leading figures as a power grab by United and Liverpool’s American ownership. Parry was then left to shoulder cheerleading responsibilities alone.

Then, two days later, came Clarke’s torpedo. “In late spring, when the principal aim of these discussions became the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few clubs with a breakaway league mooted as a threat, I of course, discontinued my involvement and counselled a more consensus-based approach involving all Premier League clubs and its chair and CEO,” Clarke wrote in an open letter to the FA Council.

Parry was first to break cover to voice his dismay as the Premier League turned down the proposals the next day. In an email seen by this paper, he told members of the EFL board that “it was Greg who initiated this process”.

“I know my interpretation,” Parry elaborated in an interview with Telegraph Sport on Saturday. “If I have a regret about the FA, it is that having had the courage to start the process, it is a shame they didn’t say there are great bits in this and help take it forward.”

Other sources close to the project say Clarke’s actions have been “staggering”. “To suggest he has walked away from this in the spring is not how anyone but Clarke remembers this,” one insider said. “He was still providing input on the very final draft. It’s such a shame it’s ended with bad blood because Clarke was showing laudable leadership in at least trying to generate solutions.”

As the drafts reached advanced stages, Telegraph Sport understands concerns were raised by Clarke to Parry on May 19 about how the remaining 14 Premier League teams would ever accept giving the “Big Six” more voting powers and a bigger slice of the pie. The FA said it had “nothing further to add” when given fresh detail on Clarke’s involvement.

However, multiple figures at the meeting have denied claims he ever spoke of walking away. Neither were there any suggestions that he saw this as a power grab. One of the last conversations that is said to have taken place face to face between Parry and Clarke was when the EFL chairman asked his FA counterpart how they will know if it has succeeded.

Clarke was said to have responded by naming a high-profile columnist providing a positive write-up. As it turned out, the journalist he had cited wrote a piece condemning the plans.

The next day, lo and behold, Clarke published his own thunderous verdict as he sought to distance himself. Just as ruthless as the hyenas he had been warning us about.
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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:36 am

@SwissRamble looks at the 2019/20 financial results of AS Roma

https://twitter.com/SwissRamble/status/ ... 5923489792

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Royboyclaret » Mon Nov 02, 2020 12:22 pm

Chester Perry wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:36 am
@SwissRamble looks at the 2019/20 financial results of AS Roma

https://twitter.com/SwissRamble/status/ ... 5923489792
Some frightening numbers there for AS Roma, including a Net Loss of Euros 204m.

Yet another example of a top European club that's financially out of control.

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