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 » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:49 pm

Some interesting stats coming through re the restart tv figures

https://www.sportbusiness.com/2020/06/a ... audiences/

Chester Perry
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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:53 pm

The loss of pre-season tours this summer will serve to exacerbate losses - some are already planning alternatives - from SportsProMedia.com

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund announce virtual preseason tours
German soccer clubs to host digital fan events for Asian market.

Posted: June 26 2020By: Steven Impey

German soccer giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have both announced plans to replace their respective summer tours of Asia with a series of digital events.

Both Bundesliga clubs have confirmed that they will be staying in Europe in August as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on schedules and travel plans.

Instead, Bayern will allow international fans to follow the team’s 2020/21 pre-season preparations in real-time via the club’s digital platforms between 25th July and 2nd August, including virtual autograph sessions, virtual fan challenges and interactive sessions with players.

The Audi Digital Summer Tour, which will be delivered in collaboration with the club’s official automobile partner, will also include in-house coverage of a preseason friendly against an unnamed opponent at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “As we are unfortunately unable to go on the Audi Summer Tour this year as planned, and as normal for so many years, we have now created this global digital initiative together with our partner Audi, to maintain and nurture the worldwide bond of the FC Bayern family, particularly during this period of the coronavirus pandemic. Our fans across the globe can look forward to exciting content on our platforms.”

Bayern's announcement followed that of rivals Borussia Dortmund, who have also revealed plans for a BVB Virtual Asia Tour.

Designed in collaboration with the club’s Chinese offices in Shanghai and Singapore, the initiative will allow fans to livestream training sessions and friendly games, as well take part in several interactive events with players.

Dortmund’s managing director Carsten Cramer said: “Many fans and partners from the region were in touch with us saying that they still wanted to get as close to the players as possible, especially in this most difficult of situations.

“This inspired us to strengthen our digital communications from Dortmund to Asia in close cooperation with our office locations in Singapore and Shanghai as part of our preparations for the 2020/21 Bundesliga season.”

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:06 pm

Meanwhile Wolves are building their brand through esports - from SportsProMedia.com

‘Our esports can be bigger than the club’: How gaming is leading Wolves’ charge in China and beyond

A multifaceted brand building approach has helped grow Wolverhampton Wanderers’ fanbase exponentially. Russell Jones, the club’s general manager for marketing and commercial growth, tells SportsPro how gaming is at the centre of the Premier League side's plans for global expansion.

Posted: June 25 2020By: Ed Dixon

For many soccer fans, the return of the Premier League on 17th June was the clearest sign yet that the world was returning to normal, or something close to resembling it at the very least.

Despite empty stadiums, artificial crowd noise and social distancing, the beautiful game was back, as broadcasters were quick to remind us.

For Wolverhampton Wanderers, a late surge towards the Uefa Champions League was back on after defeating West Ham United 2-0 at the London Stadium on their return to action. But that is not to say the prior lockdown had been a quiet one for the Midlands club.

Since being acquired by Chinese investment group Fosun International in July 2016, the ambitious owners have taken the team from the English third tier to the cusp of European soccer’s top club competition, as well as taking the Wolves brand into markets untapped by their previous owners. It is a pathway even the coronavirus pandemic has been unable to halt.

A central pillar of Wolves’ brand building is esports. While the decimation of the sporting calendar has seen competitive gaming garner mainstream attention over the last three months, with rights holders and broadcasters quick to jump on the bandwagon, Wolves’ approach has been rather more considered.

Rather than sticking to competitions such as the ePremierLeague Invitational – played on EA Sports’ FIFA title and won by Wolves forward Diogo Jota – the club have branched out in order to best tap the esports market.

In March, just as the global health crisis had suspended English soccer’s top flight, Wolves launched their very own esports tournament portal, enabling users to take part in online gaming events across a string of titles. New ground was then broken with the club’s first ever Fortnite tournaments – a game with 350 million registered players – in addition to partnering with the Gulf Racing team for the virtual 24 hours of Le Mans and joining the Identity V League, which sees them represented in the Call of the Abyss competition.

Looking at the numbers, Le Mans’ virtual race had a cumulative TV and digital audience of 63 million, while Identity V League boasts more than 180 million players. Enticing figures for any ambitious sports team looking for a global brand boost.

“It's always a funny thing to talk about brands when you talk about football clubs because, rightly, fans will not consider themselves part of a brand, they'll consider themselves part of a community,” Russell Jones, Wolves’ general manager for marketing and commercial growth, tells SportsPro.

“But brand from our perspective almost sits above. If you look at brand architecture, you have the brand at the top and then a series of pillars and the football club would be one pillar and clearly the most important pillar.

“We also recognise that having a brand architecture framed in that way allows us to build other pillars. One of those is clearly esports. We do see that, at some point, as a completely separate business with its own fanbase.”

Eager to lay some firm foundations, Wolves made their first foray into esports via FIFA, which Jones says provided ample opportunity “to reach a different demographic”. That involved signing Brazilian gamers Flávio Brito and Ébio Bernardes – neither of whom had a passport before joining the club – with Brito becoming the first Brazil player to represent a Premier League team in esports.

Taking two young men from humble beginnings and catapulting them onto the global gaming stage via competitions such as the FIFA eWorld Cup is a story in itself. But couple that with Wolves being the only Premier League side to qualify for a tournament broadcast in six languages to 140 million viewers in 75 countries – as well as engaging with the soccer-mad Brazilian market – then you start to get an idea just how integral esports is to the club’s growth plans.

“First and foremost, we looked at the market opportunities,” says Jones. “There are 2.6 billion gamers now.

“This is not about teenagers in dark rooms playing games throughout the night anymore. 50 per cent of gamers are female, 47 per cent are parents. From our perspective, we saw that as a great opportunity to reach a new audience and also build a synergy with the Wolves brand eventually.

“If teams aren't thinking about gaming then they are going to be under threat because I don't think football clubs will be the [only] competition for each other moving for forward. I think it will be the gaming and esports industry.

“Wolves are very fortunate that they've got a chairman [Jeff Shi] that gets esports. He understands the opportunity within the industry and he genuinely believes, as do we as a football club, that our esports pillar can be bigger than the football club. Clearly, lockdown has magnified the industry as a whole but it never changed our strategy to build an esports programme.”

Unsurprisingly, given Wolves’ Chinese ties through their owners, the country has also been marked as a key target. In 2019, a Newzoo study projected China to generate esports revenues of US$210 million for that year. The likes of Manchester City – the first Premier League club to enter the Chinese competitive gaming market – along with Formula One and the National Basketball Association (NBA) are others also looking for a piece of the pie.

To that end, Wolves partnered with the Weibo Esports Club in February 2019, initially launching a team in the professional FIFA Online 4 Star League (FSL). The partnership later saw teams established for the Crazyracing KartRider title and then, in January this year, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG).

“Esports and gaming just generally is massive there, so we have an esports China operation,” says Jones of the club's gaming house in Ganzhou where their players live and compete.

So far, the club have racked up half a million esports followers in the country across their official accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, Douyu, Weibo, WeChat and TikTok. Added to that, more than one million viewers in China regularly tune in to competitions such as the Kartrider League, where Wolves sat second at the time of writing.

“Right now, our target is a million followers across our entire esports programme, that's our focus,” continues Jones. “We work with a number of different partners both here and in China, and the idea of that now is for us to have a sustainable programme and provide other opportunities to young people to develop the esports programme.”

Jones, who joined Wolves from marketing agency Fan Hunters having also worked for Aston Villa, describes his current employers as a “challenger club” that are “going to dare to be different”. With that comes a specific way of doing things, but it also prompts a wider question for other brands wondering how best to corner such a large market like China.

Modern marketers consistently stress that the old method of slapping a company logo here, there and everywhere is no longer enough. Yet, finding alternative ways to maximise a partnership is another challenge in itself. Helping that dilemma, however, is esports’ potential for an expanded sponsorship inventory.

“As well as growing our fanbase, which is a key consideration, it also enables us to tell different commercial stories,” notes Jones.

“So when we are talking to potential partners who’ve got a certain amount of budget or they've got really interesting young gamers or they're interested in certain regions we can start pushing them in the direction of our esports programme, rather than potentially a first team sponsorship that might not be quite right for their brand at that time.

“It’s about trying to find partners that are going to add to the game itself. We talk about it and the industry talks about this idea of badging content and I don’t think any of us are really looking to do that. We're looking for a partner that is genuinely going to help our programme evolve and develop.

“We are very open about the fact that we consider ourselves a challenger club. We might not always get it right but we're going to challenge. So when we're giving our positioning statement when we're talking to brands, we believe we are the challenger club for challenger brands.”

That coaction also applies to Wolves’ own brand pillars. By allowing one to compliment the other, Jones believes it offers further opportunities to grow the club’s fanbase and revenue streams.

“We realised with fashion and esports that there is a lot of synergy,” he explains. “A lot of our fashion range we will filter through our esports players. We're running a load of live WeChat broadcasts where you can buy esports fashion products from our WeChat store.

“We collaborate with a number of different high end designers and we were involved in Paris fashion week this year and we were involved with the Shanghai fashion show. We've got our fashion products available in 22 boutique stores throughout China.

“We're looking at a collaboration with a very well-known publisher, a very well-known game in the UK, which will probably launch around August to September. Again, there will be a fashion element to that and will allow our followers to be able to buy products that you'll see in the game when that collaboration launches.”

The signing of Mexican Raúl Jiménez has prompted additional ways to get creative. Wolves held two FIFA activations in Mexico over the last month featuring the 29-year-old playing against Club América’s Giovanni Dos Santos and Inter Miami’s Rodolfo Pizarro. Both were televised on the TUDN sports channel and streamed to millions of fans.

Pushing the envelope further outside of gaming, Jiménez’s friendship with WWE wrestler Sin Cara saw the forward don a Wolves-inspired lucha libre mask (see below) after scoring in last year’s FA Cup semi-final. Though that fighting spirit could not prevent the club from slipping to a 3-2 defeat to Watford, it has helped produce other tangible results.

“Our fanbase has gone through a 400 per cent growth over the course of the last 18 months,” says Jones, who cites Jiménez as one of the biggest contributors.

“He's opened up the Mexican market to us, we've done an awful lot of campaigns in Mexico. We now have five times more followers in Mexico than we do in the UK.”

The multi-layered and so far successful approach is unlikely to abate. When asked if Wolves will turn their attention to the top rung of esports titles – League of Legends, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike, among others – Jones says Wolves will remain patient, though hinted it may be a future possibility.

“Buying into a franchise, particularly for Overwatch and League of Legends, is incredibly expensive," he says. "From the research that we've done, we're probably not quite ready to invest into those franchises. So, we'll look to invest into games where we feel we can be sustainable and continue to tell our brand stories. For us, right now, we're looking at Rocket League as a really interesting opportunity.”

Wolves’ lofty aspirations come amid a forecast of financial uncertainty brought on by coronavirus. While teams will potentially have to temper their long-term plans in an effort to balance the books, Jones reckons his own club’s model can help continue their upward trajectory.

“The ambition is really strong," Jones begins, "but's it's ambition to do it in a different way compared to how the likes of Manchester City have done it. You can't just spend that money anymore, so it's a got to be a much more sustainable model. That's where the investment into these other pillars comes from.

“If you have a really strong fashion business and a really strong esports business, for example, which actually are far less affected by on pitch performance, then as a brand you can still be really strong despite the roller coaster your football club might go on.

“We're very daring as a club and we've managed to sell that narrative into our fans. When you are doing well that's absolutely the time to start trying different things because your fans are much more forgiving.”

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:44 pm

The FT with an article that suggests that Liverpool's title win will bring jobs to Merseyside

Liverpool’s Premier League triumph brings joy and jobs to Merseyside
ANDY BOUNDS JUNE 26, 2020

Liam Moran says he was “put into a Liverpool shirt as soon as I was born” in 2000. Since then his hometown team have won every major football club trophy except the English Premier League, the one fans coveted most.

That changed on Thursday evening. Winning the title ended an unprecedented 30-year wait for a domestic championship, the club’s 19th, securing Liverpool’s place among the sport’s elite — and an economic legacy for the city.

The Reds contribute about 4 per cent of the economic activity in Liverpool annually and have often been a rallying point in tough times, of which the city has seen more than most.

When Liverpool’s first title since the Premier League was created in 1992 was confirmed on Thursday after Manchester City, the only other club left in the title chase, lost to Chelsea, Mr Moran resisted the temptation to join thousands of celebrating fans at the club’s Anfield stadium. The coronavirus pandemic has closed stadiums and mass gatherings are still banned.

“It’s the big one,” he said of the title, “the only trophy I haven’t seen. It’s overwhelming.”

Analysts agree. Dan Jones, head of the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, the consultancy, said winning the Premier League was worth far more than the prize money.

“There is something special about this one,” said Mr Jones. “Football was not invented in 1992 but the fact they are winning their first Premier League title does change the brand. It cements them in the top echelon of football teams.”

For England's top flight clubs the aim is to finish the Premier League season in the top four to secure qualification for the lucrative Champions League, which Liverpool won in 2019. It is worth €15m-€80m, compared with the £2m that separates the top two in the Premier League.

“But the game is not just about money, it is about glory,” said Mr Jones. “It will help attract more sponsors and players. They can add champions of England to European and world champions.”

The club’s success also makes it more likely it will expand its stadium, adding the hospitality seats that bring big-spending visitors.

Liverpool already generates £454m of economic value for the city, according to a report on the 2017-18 season by Deloitte, and £497m to the wider Merseyside region. It accounts for more than 4,500 full-time equivalent jobs across the Liverpool economy (2.3 per cent of all jobs), and an additional 1,200 positions across the region.

After decades of industrial and manufacturing decline in Liverpool that began in the 1960s, the club has helped underpin a recovery over the past 20 years based on culture, tourism and professional services.

A big contribution is the roughly 1.5m fans who attend games each season, spending £102m. Half come from the UK beyond Merseyside and 9 per cent from overseas.

If the club proceeds with enlarging Anfield from 54,000 seats to 60,000, it would add about £85m to the club’s annual economic impact, Deloitte found.

“Liverpool has lots to see but what really sells it is football and music,” said Mr Jones, a reference to the enduring popularity of The Beatles. Hotelier Steven Hesketh agrees. “Liverpool at home for us is the difference between a good week and a great week,” he said. “The city feels alive when Liverpool are at home.”

His Richmond hotel in the city centre is fully booked when Anfield hosts a game but lockdown means he will miss out on “three or four nights of nonstop partying” after the title win. “I am very worried about the impact because it is a city reliant on events and tourism.”

But football is not immune to coronavirus. Liverpool’s income was £533m last season and Deloitte anticipates Premier League clubs will lose about a fifth of revenues on average because of empty stadiums and rebates to broadcasters.

Steve Rotheram, metro mayor of the Liverpool City Region and an Anfield season-ticket holder, said there would be a delayed financial boost. “This achievement will cement our pre-eminent position as an international destination of choice.”

History could have been very different. In 2010 Liverpool finished seventh in the league and were starved of investment after the then American owners loaded the club with debt.

With the club threatened with being put into administration — which could have led to relegation — businessman Martin Broughton was brought in as chairman to sell it. The Chelsea fan’s six months in the city taught him how crucial the club was. “The place has had a lot of difficulties over the years and football is the big rallying factor for the city to get through.”

Sir Martin sold to Fenway Sports Group [FSG] for £300m. “It’s worth at least £2bn now,” he said.

FSG is controlled by US hedge fund manager John Henry who revived the Boston Red Sox baseball team in the 2000s.

Mr Moran, an apprentice railway engineer, said the wait for success had been worth it, even allowing for a five-day coach trip to Kyiv to see the Reds lose to Real Madrid in the 2018 Champions League final. Surveying the club flags hanging from many houses on his way to work, he fully expects the glory days to continue.

“We are clearly the best team in the world. Everybody knows that. We can do it again next year and for a few years more.”

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:27 am

Chester Perry wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:57 am
Judging by a few threads still very active on the board a number are not impressed with the handling of our contract situation (which appears to include our manager) - Arsenal fans it seems are more unhappy at their contract dealings and then there is the not Nick Ames

so small matter of agents

https://arseblog.com/2020/06/good-news- ... tionships/

There is a lot of noise going on about Kia Joorabchian at the moment, I suspect we are going to be hearing quite a bit about him in the coming weeks

for now we have @SportingIntel https://twitter.com/sportingintel/statu ... 3288140800

and this in the Mail https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/footb ... chian.html
Here is the Guardian on Joorabchian

Kia Joorabchian's growing influence sheds light on Arsenal's identity crisis
The super-agent’s involvement in some eyebrow-raising deals has sparked fears that the once famously resourceful club no longer has a coherent approach to recruitment

Nick Ames - Sat 27 Jun 2020 18.15 BSTLast modified on Sat 27 Jun 2020 18.17 BST

TalkSport but, when he began discussing David Luiz’s future 10 days ago, ears pricked up among many who deal regularly with Arsenal. One particular line from the agent served as a flashing light. The Premier League’s contract deadline of 23 June was fast approaching and Joorabchian believed there was plenty of work to do. “There are several issues within the whole structure that will be resolved,” he said, before returning to the theme of his high-profile client.

Joorabchian’s working relationship with the Arsenal hierarchy is no secret, and he was perfectly entitled to provide a commentary. But for some who have harboured reservations about his influence it was, as one puts it, the final straw. However it was intended, the statement felt overly familiar with the club’s internal concerns. The events that followed have shed light on the identity crisis evolving within Arsenal, which has caused dismay among former and existing staff.

The worry is that Arsenal, once famously resourceful, have entrusted too much responsibility for recruitment to a narrow list of associates that includes Joorabchian, a super-agent with a storied past in helping broker big deals and a long-time friend of the technical director, Edu.

There is, of course, nothing to stop them working together, and there are many ways to address squad-building requirements. But eyebrows were raised on Tuesday when the 33-year-old David Luiz, one of the club’s highest earners at a time when Covid-19 and a poor season have forced some difficult financial decisions, was enlisted for a further year.

Perhaps more jarring was the fact Cédric Soares, the 28-year-old who had been prevented by injury from making his debut since joining on loan from Southampton, was tied down on a long-term deal that effectively makes him the deputy right-back.

Both players are represented by Joorabchian and his company, Sports Invest UK.

Transfers of that nature would, while entirely legitimate, have been anathema under Arsène Wenger. He generally shied away from deals with bigger-name agents and had little time for heavy investments in older players. But Joorabchian’s hand has been evident in a clutch of moves involving Arsenal in the past year, the first being a move that was completed on 8 August, a month after Edu, a former player, returned to Arsenal. The Football Association’s list of intermediary transactions, released this week, shows Sports Invest UK represented Arsenal in Alex Iwobi’s £35m move to Everton.

Iwobi’s and Everton’s side of the deal was, according to the list, overseen separately by the agency that represents the player. It is not unusual for different parties to work on the different ends of a transfer, even more so when involving moves from abroad, and there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing. Some experienced industry figures simply point out that given Arsenal and Everton are familiar rivals and worked together 18 months previously when Theo Walcott made the same move it appears a convoluted way to have done business.

David Luiz arrived from Chelsea on the same day and Soares followed in January. Willian, another Joorabchian client, has been linked with a summer arrival although the Observer understands that while there is strong interest on Arsenal’s part no final decision has been made on his future.

The fear in certain quarters is that Arsenal’s executive team are wed to a select set of voices and marginalising those with an alternative view, particularly when it comes to transfers and planning. Nobody doubted the club’s approach needed modernising in the post-Wenger era and that is why there was surprise when Sven Mislintat, the head of recruitment, moved on in February 2019.

Since then, the suggestion is that Arsenal have surrendered a coherent approach to player-spotting and handed too much power to the contacts books of Edu and the head of football, Raúl Sanllehi. Some members of staff are believed to feel frozen out and there is particular angst that Arsenal, who also conducted a revamp of their academy staff in November, may be losing ground in any chase for the best young players. One former employee claims the club’s approach no longer fitted their values and the high-performance culture fostered under Wenger has been allowed to ebb away.

There is a view that Arsenal’s hierarchy are awkward customers. It has not gone unnoticed among certain club personnel over the past two seasons that certain agents and contacts do not return calls as frequently. One player representative says he sighs inwardly when an Arsenal number shows up on his phone; another is strongly critical of their communication skills.

It goes without saying that everyone in the picture has their own agenda and that every agent has clients’ interests to look after. That is all part of the game but it becomes more problematic when, as some suggest has occurred, potential deals begin to falter.

For all the structural issues the biggest problem is, another source says, a “lack of relevant brains”. Arsenal are well known, as per the words of their director Josh Kroenke, to be operating a “Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget”, and given their league position that will not change unless Mikel Arteta is given the squad clearout he desires this summer. That means they ideally require value – and preferably resale value – in the market, operating more like Borussia Dortmund or RB Salzburg than Barcelona or Real Madrid.

“Finally Arsenal have people who really understand football and are footballing people in the back-room staff,” Joorabchian said in a separate TalkSport interview last July, referencing Sanllehi and Edu. “But the question is whether or not the finances will be made available.”

If not, then what? The bigger issue appears to be whether Sanllehi, who helped bring Neymar to Barcelona, and the former Brazil general manager Edu have the expertise to run Arsenal in a lean, streamlined fashion according to those parameters. Another figure familiar with their way of working does not believe so, suggesting Arsenal risk being a “mid-table team within three to four years” if nothing changes.

There remains enough promise to remove such doomsday scenarios. The acquisitions of Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba a year ago showed that elements are still in place for Arsenal to find players with a genuine chance of becoming high-class performers. Match-winning contributions by Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock at Southampton on Thursday were reminders the academy, can still turn up wonders. To realise all that potential, though, the sense is that Arsenal need to remember exactly how those things became true.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:16 am

The Relationship between Abu Dhabi's MBZ an Saudi's MBS is something that I have posted about before p here the telegraph give a refresher and try yo put some context as to how it will affect the Premier League if the takeover is approved.

Special report: The complex relationship between Saudi Arabia and UAE that could soon shape the Premier League
TOM MORGAN JUNE 28, 2020

In spring 2015, as Manchester City were being pipped to the Premier League title by Chelsea, the club's Abu Dhabi ruling family fixed eyes on a new project closer to their home.

Crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the elder brother of City owner Sheikh Mansour, surprised diplomats by inviting Saudi Arabia's new minister of defence, Mohammed bin Salman, for a weekend hunting with falcons.

The wide-eyed Saudi, then aged just 29, was a B-list royal compared to 54-year-old bin Zayed, the Middle East's most influential power broker. Yet, as they camped under the stars on the UAE-Saudi border, the two men formed a useful bond. MBZ - described by one expert as "the ultimate Machiavellian" - was sowing the seeds that would lead to Saudi dramatically aligning the oil-rich and ultraconservative nation with its smaller and more liberal neighbour.

Five years on, these allies of the Arabic world might have been on opposing sides today in the unlikely setting of the FA Cup. Sources close to a potential Saudi takeover at Newcastle had earmarked the encounter against UAE-owned Man City as a potential first match of the new regime. However, deliberations at Premier League HQ continue, leaving impulsive young bin Salman waiting a few more days at least for a chance to emulate the man observers describe as his "mentor".

"I would say MBZ had a very important role to play in the making of MBS, along with his father," says Andreas Krieg, political risk analyst and professor at King’s College London. "From then on there was this mentor relationship where MBS looks up to MBZ for guidance and has done so ever since."

Prof Krieg said MBZ had received an intelligence report in 2014 that MBS was destined for the top. By June 2017, the charm offensive paid off: his protege became Saudi crown prince following King Salman's decision to depose Muhammad bin Nayef.

The camping trips with MBZ, his older brother figure, continued and at least one meeting took place on the Seychelles, both arriving at the luxury islands on their yachts. "MBZ has been cultivating MBS now for half a decade," says Ahmed Gatnash, co-founder of the Kawaakibi Foundation for greater liberties in Muslim communities. "They have very similar ways now. The same hawkish views, the same propensity for military conflict - this attitude that most problems can be solved by throwing large amounts of money at them. The UAE has been very successful in developing a global brand and MBS since coming to power thinks this is the path he needs to take."

The murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been disastrous for his efforts to earn new Western allies, but MBS has pressed ahead with dramatic reform in his attempts to modernise Saudi, and diverse his economy away from oil. He has stood with UAE on a number of domestic and foreign adventures, including regional conflicts such as the Yemen war and blockade on Qatar. Then came MBS's extraordinary ambition to build an equivalent of Dubai from scratch - the 10,230 square mile Neom development that will cost Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund at least £400 billion pounds.

Now, of course, comes his Keeping Up With The Joneses attempt to embark on Premier League football club ownership. A potential £300million takeover has already caused bitter division, with criticism from Amnesty over Saudi's human rights record and a damning World Trade Organisation report on the country's role in allowing the multi-billion piracy theft of Qatar-based broadcaster BeIN Sports.

However, many Newcastle fans appear willing to welcome the Saudi cash bonanza. Nobody can be worse than Mike Ashley, surely? Those monitoring MBS's movements are not so certain. Saudi's Public Investment Fund (PIF) is among the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, with total estimated assets of almost £300billion, but few are expecting resources to match the £1.3billion that MBZ's family have used to transform Man City into a European superpower.

"A club like Newcastle needs root and branch renewal and that would come at a really bad time for Saudi," says Gatnash. "I don't think Newcastle will get what they hope for. The Saudis have been cutting salaries by 30 percent, including doctors. They don't have the money to go around at the moment. They are struggling and his track record shows MBS is brash."

Gatnash cites an International Monetary Fund report in February that the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf face a budget reckoning within 15 years as oil demand nears peak levels

"It was looking at long term trends and this happened before the oil crash and the pandemic so suddenly the forecast is looking very optimistic," Gatnash added. "MBS knows this because ever since he came to power he's been the one making these moves because he's been saying 'we have to diversify the economy - we have to get out of oil'. There have been attempts to privatise to generate cash elsewhere and that's what worries me about the Newcastle saga. He talks a big game but at the end of the day he just goes back to the same old way of doing things, which is excessive spending, polishing his own brand and showing off. It can go wrong."

Prof Krieg agrees, describing MBS as a "very young, impulsive character who doesn't really understand how to run a Government or a state" as he rushes through attempts to transform Saudi from a "very autocratic police state, second to only Iran or North Korea".

The key players in Saudi-Emirati relations that could soon shape the Premier League
Subject to pending Premier League approval in the coming days, Saudi’s Public Investment Fund would take an 80 per cent stake in the club, with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Saudi Public investment fund, in line to be nominated chairman of Newcastle. Middle East sources confirmed Al-Rumayyan is in the crown prince's "inner circle" and described the key advisor as a calmer, more experienced hand than MBS. "The Saudis are actually the most passionate about football in the Gulf," said Prof Krieg. Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Limited, meanwhile, will take 10 per cent with the final 10 per cent being acquired by one of Britain’s wealthiest families, the Reuben Brothers.

For UAE, meanwhile, and the owners of Man City, there is a strategic advantage to seeing Saudi attempt the same foreign adventures, but failing: it makes them look good. "There is real instability in Saudi whereas the UAE are very good financial planners," Gatnash added. "They built this over 40 years in the middle of the desert and they now have substantial non-oil-related incomes. Saudi doesn't, however, and yet they are entering this long-term project at Newcastle."

Bill Law, a Middle East analyst who is editor of the Arab Digest, said MBZ had repeatedly proven himself the "older and wiser head". "By and large, my view is that MBZ basically got what MBS was about," he said. "MBS craves the limelight. So MBZ said 'fine, you take the limelight'. And he is in the background. And I think that he has played MBS very very effectively. I think he encourages him on these grandiose projects. MBS is a sucker for these huge projects."

Prog Kreig, of King's College, said he had spoken to senior Saudis who "say that they have been set up by the Emiratis because the Saudis get the majority of the criticism in the Western world, for the most part rightly so, while the Emirates have created this immaculate reputation, despite the fact they are involved in war in Lebanon, Libya and human rights abuses within Dubai with British citizens."

Law says the Premier League is now in a "difficult bind". "With the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, this guy has a very damaged reputation, and that’s not going to go away," he added.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:06 am

Chester Perry wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 9:44 pm
Swiss Authorities inform Sepp Blatter that he is the target of a criminal investigation in Switzerland for suspected mismanagement of a $1 million payment from soccer funds. Again about FIFA business with Jack Warner, latest case follows the Caribbean TV deal closed by prosecutors a few weeks ago. - targeting other ex-FIFA officials too.

https://apnews.com/cea744aa9b63535833234aeacaf5c541
Michel Platini joins Blatter as a formal suspect in an investigation by Swiss Police - all related to those additional Payments that got the pair of them banned from the game

https://apnews.com/62060895ef83e953620c602fe7d7657c

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:26 am

this is not the way to get the Premier League to authorise your take-over - from the MAil

Saudi Arabia promise to shut down ANY piracy as they look to wrap up £300m Newcastle takeover... but have angered Premier League and others by claiming they were not sending complaints to the right EMAIL ADDRESS
- TV piracy of games is one of the stumbling blocks of Newcastle's Saudi takeover
- Saudi Arabia's PIF claims it has not received copyright violation complaints
- They say they would happily shut down any illegal piracy of the Premier League
- The Premier League is angered by the suggestion of a wrong email address
By ROB DRAPER and JAMES SHARPE FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

PUBLISHED: 00:32, 28 June 2020 | UPDATED: 00:34, 28 June 2020

Saudi Arabia have appeared to offer a way out of the piracy dispute that had put serious doubts over their £300m takeover of Newcastle.

However, in doing so, the club's prospective buyers have also caused great anger among many sporting authorities, including the Premier League, which could lead to further delays.

The Mail on Sunday have seen a letter sent by a member of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) to the UK Government which claim they will happily shut down any illegal piracy of Premier League football — if only someone had complained to the correct email address.

The country's de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman is also the chairman of the PIF which is looking to buy an 80 per cent stake in Newcastle.

Saudi Arabia have long faced continued scrutiny regarding their involvement in beoutQ, the company which broadcasts pirated footage of every Premier League game.

However, the letter signed by Saudi Arabia's minister of commerce Dr Majid Bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, who is also on the PIF board, said: 'No evidence of civil or criminal copyright violation at all has been provided to the Saudi authorities responsible for enforcing intellectual property rights in Saudi Arabia.

'We want to confirm how simple and transparent our process is for submitting information and claims regarding the protection of intellectual property.

'In order to raise an intellectual property issue in Saudi Arabia, a right holder only needs to send an email to the responsible authorities.'

The Premier League, who will be responsible for approving the takeover deal, are also understood to have received a letter. While they declined to comment last night, it is believed that league bosses were left frustrated by Saudi's claim that they are unaware of any concerns about their role in piracy.

La Liga, the National Basketball Association and Wimbledon are also believed to have been angered by the letter.

It comes after the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled that the beoutQ service was 'operated by individuals or entities subject to the criminal jurisdiction of Saudi Arabia' and that the state had breached intellectual property rights by failing to tackle it, although the letter also strangely claims that the WTO gave the Saudi regime 'complete vindication'.

'The Panel rejected claims that our Government supported the alleged copyright piracy and the Panel did not find that any copyright pirate was based on our territory,' the letter read.

While the tone of the letter is believed to have angered the likes of the Premier League, the Saudi's agreement to shut down any piracy is expected to be seen as a way of resolving the major issue that is holding back the takeover.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

a swift reminder of the 9 attempts that the Premier League made to find legal representation in Saudi to start a lawsuit to end the piracy

https://twitter.com/Dr_Ulrichsen/status ... 4435057665

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:35 am

Meanwhile the war of words between Qatar an Saudi goes on

https://www.gco.gov.qa/en/2020/06/27/go ... anization/

Here is what Simon Chadwick thinks

https://twitter.com/Prof_Chadwick/statu ... 5465768960

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Vegas Claret » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:05 am

Chester Perry wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:35 am
Meanwhile the war of words between Qatar an Saudi goes on

https://www.gco.gov.qa/en/2020/06/27/go ... anization/

Here is what Simon Chadwick thinks

https://twitter.com/Prof_Chadwick/statu ... 5465768960
"For those awaiting acquisition of their clubs by an overseas buyer, another reminder that such investments are not rational economic transactions...."

that needs sticking on the investor thread !

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:41 pm

Chester Perry wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:34 pm
It appears that Hull City owner's the Allam family have fallen out with the Athletic - because a journalist sought to establish a club;s position on an article they were researching - it had not been published and still hasn't as far as I am aware - the response to the request is unusual to say the least

https://www.hullcitytigers.com/club-sta ... -athletic/
the Football Today Podcasts asks - Why Are Hull City at War With the Media?

https://www.footballtodaypodcast.com/po ... -the-media

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Hipper » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:20 pm

Chester Perry wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:44 pm
The FT with an article that suggests that Liverpool's title win will bring jobs to Merseyside

Liverpool’s Premier League triumph brings joy and jobs to Merseyside
ANDY BOUNDS JUNE 26, 2020

Liam Moran says..... “But the game is not just about money, it is about glory,” said Mr Jones. “It will help attract more sponsors and players.
In other words, 'The Glory' will help attract more money!

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:50 pm

Hipper wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:20 pm
In other words, 'The Glory' will help attract more money!
Much of the the city of Liverpool's resurgent economy has bee based on visitors - shopping, museums music and football - not really sustainable in a pandemic world, and they are definitely worried about it.

The club exploit the visitor market like no other in the country - season tickets are limited to about half the capacity of Anfield, there are about 8k - 10k corporate seats - the rest are sold in two online sales a year at premium prices to the "global fanbase" who pay around £25 a year for the privilege of being able to join the queue (online only) for those sales.

A couple of years back the club commissioned a Deloitte report that found that Liverpool's Champions League run to the final they lost against Madrid - brought over £400m to the Merseyside economy.

there was a report in the Times at the weekend that Liverpool would have been expected to overhaul Man United's earnings this season if it wasn't for covid19 - @KieranMaguire was the guy making that claim
This user liked this post: Hipper

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:01 pm

DAZN goes through some significant upheaval as the Chief Executive leaves and their are some big changes going on in how it operates - from SportsBusiness,com

EXCLUSIVE: DAZN chief executive Denyer steps down
Martin Ross - June 29, 2020

Simon Denyer is leaving his role as chief executive of DAZN Group, the global sports subscription service and media company, SportBusiness understands, amid an executive restructure that increases the involvement of owner Access Industries, the multinational industrial group.

Denyer is to be replaced by James Rushton, currently chief revenue officer, who becomes acting chief executive. Denyer will retain an association by taking a sports investment advisory role at Access Industries.

An internal memo from John Skipper, DAZN group executive chairman, informed staff of the changes today (Monday). The memo, seen by SportBusiness, said that Access Industries owner Len Blavatnik “has asked Simon Denyer to assume a new role at Access Industries to advise on new ventures in sport”.

Rushton was chief executive of the DAZN OTT streaming business before Perform Group divided its assets to create two separate entities in September 2018. Denyer was at that time chief executive of Perform Group, having co-founded the company with Oli Slipper in 2007 (upon the merger of Premium TV and Inform Group).

In addition, Ed McCarthy, Access Industries’ corporate director and portfolio manager, has joined DAZN and will sit on the company’s executive committee, playing “a critical role” in delivering the group strategy, the memo read. McCarthy has already liaised with the DAZN senior leadership in recent years.

The changes will take effect immediately.

Rushton is one of the old guard at DAZN/Perform, having joined Premium TV in 2003 after just under four years as commercial director at English football side Birmingham City. During his time at the group he has also held senior roles including managing director of the APAC region, along with managing director of Australia and New Zealand.

Skipper described Denyer as “an innovator across many elements of the sports media industry” and said his talents would be “a tremendous asset to Access as that organisation looks to explore new opportunities in the sports landscape”.

The need for funding at DAZN has become more acute in recent months, with the OTT streaming operation hit hard by the Covid-19 shutdown.

Skipper said in the memo that DAZN remains “well positioned” and that Access Industries supports its direction. This comes after DAZN last week secured a package of domestic Bundesliga broadcast rights in Germany, Switzerland and Austria from 2021-22 to 2024-25, an indication of the owner’s ongoing appetite for premium sports rights despite the problems caused by Covid-19.

At the end of March, DAZN began to inform sports rights-holders that it would not make its next rights fee payments for any content that has yet to be delivered. An unspecified number of the company’s 2,600 staff were also furloughed.

The measures were put in place as DAZN looked to survive the crisis and revive the business later in the year.

Rights payments have resumed as live sport has returned, with a deal recently struck for Serie A rights payments, and it was recently reported that Blavatnik was looking for investors in DAZN.

It also emerged recently that DAZN Group was in “final stage” negotiations to sell its Goal.com football website to US-based private equity firm TPG Capital. Executives “with knowledge of the discussions” told The New York Times that TPG is in talks to secure the business for as much as $125m (€111.3m). News of the TPG talks coincided with Blavatnik raising $1.9bn by offloading shares in Warner Music.

Goal.com and the SportingNews and Spox.com websites are housed under DAZN Group, which also includes the flagship OTT streaming business and the global rights partnerships operations. The data and betting sides of the business became part of the Perform Content operation, which then merged with US-based sports, data and technology company Stats as part of an investment by Vista Equity Partners, the US private equity and venture capital firm.

Before the pandemic struck, DAZN hired Goldman Sachs with a view to raising as much as $500m in investments.

DAZN currently operates in nine countries – Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain Switzerland, and the US – and had planned to roll out a global service in May (including a long-awaited launch in Southeast Asia). That launch remains on hold.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:24 pm

A new writer for us - @YannickRamcke with his blog OffTheFieldBusiness.de written in English - This is an extensive post (yes that means long, actually very long) looking at the concessions the Premier League is having to make to keep the money coming in and it's long term impact amongst other things

https://www.offthefieldbusiness.de/sing ... s-to-Watch

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:36 pm

Rick Parry talks to the Times about how he is trying to save the EFL

Rick Parry: Clubs have saved people during the coronavirus crisis – my job is to save them

Henry Winter, Chief Football Writer - Monday June 29 2020, 5.00pm, The Times

When Rick Parry went for his interview to be English Football League chairman, he was asked why he was interested in the EFL. He had run the Premier League, after all, and run Liverpool. “I said because the EFL matters,” Parry recalls. “Seventy one, seventy two really important clubs, 18 million fans a year, some great football, some great characters. It’s vibrant. And the clubs are at the heart of their communities.” Parry pauses. “Covid definitely wasn’t in the job description.”

This week, Parry’s clubs will highlight the life-saving community work they’ve done during the pandemic while a board meeting will discuss the future of the leagues. It has been a challenging period for Parry, trying to ensure that the pyramid stays in shape despite the financial tempest blowing through clubs with their draining costs, closed turnstiles and revenue streams becoming trickles.

“Most nights have been sleepless,” Parry admits, talking this morning via the video conferencing app Teams. Yet the 65-year-old has managed to cajole clubs to agree to a formula to see out the season, either through a points-per-game (PPG) formula but retaining the play-offs, such as the Sky Bet League Two final today, or completion of the Championship programme. Parry’s experience, patience and persuasive skills have been tested.

Clubs like Peterborough United and Tranmere Rovers felt the unforgiving edge of PPG. “When you’re taking tough decisions you’re never going to please everybody,” Parry replies. “Whatever formula you come up with for ending a season some people are going to be aggrieved but then they’re aggrieved at the end of every season anyway.

“There are always winners. There are always losers. It’s a game of passion, emotion. When I was at Liverpool I used to say it was a game of black and white, never any shades of grey, either things were great or awful. Clubs that have done well out of PPG are ecstatic. Those that haven’t are dismal. But what we did was fair. It was logical.

“My preference was to play out the season always at every level but the clubs in the lower divisions took what was probably the right decision in the end. Trying to get all the games played simultaneously would have been challenging. Our aim is to get through this crisis, not just in terms of the next few months, but the next year, the next two years, with 72 clubs intact. I’m not subscribing to that ‘maybe 50 clubs will go to the wall’ song by any stretch of the imagination.

“Bury haven’t been forgotten [after their expulsion because of financial chaos]. There is a very large vacuum in that community and people trying to resurrect football in Bury, as we’ve seen many times over the years, a club goes and a fledging one emerges. It’s about keeping the entire pyramid alive. I don’t subscribe to the talk of ‘well maybe it’s time for a trimming, maybe we’ve got too many clubs’. I come from completely the opposite perspective. It’s more important than ever to keep them alive. Clearly there are a few who are finding it tough but I’m genuinely optimistic we will find solutions and we will get through it.”

Even with their own existence under threat, clubs rallied to people in need. “We’ve seen the best of the clubs in many ways, shining examples in helping the community,” Parry continues. During the pandemic, EFL clubs have delivered more than 210,000 food packages, 13,000 items of personal protection equipment and 3,500 prescriptions. They’ve made more than 120,000 phone-calls to vulnerable and elderly. “Just think of the impact that has if your manager picks up the phone and asks how you are?” Parry adds. “It’s a simple thing to do but incredibly impactful.

“Clubs do save lives by being there, by providing support, also by providing hope. In a time of crisis having hope is incredibly important. It’s really important not to give up. It’s important to have something to dream about, and football 100 per cent brings that.

“Your bond with your football club is a massively deep emotional bond that is lifelong and spans generations so people will turn to their clubs in times of need. It is a big responsibility that we carry but it’s also a huge opportunity. It’s fantastic that so many clubs have recognised that responsibility and responded so positively.”

He thinks of the 36.6 million people in England and Wales who live within a ten-mile radius of an EFL club. “Our reach is extraordinary,” Parry says. “Many of our clubs are in the most deprived areas of the country. During the previous season, 2018-19, we touched around 900,000 people through the community schemes.”

During the pandemic, more than 30 clubs have opened their doors to the NHS, offering space and facilities in stadia for testing and accommodation. Plymouth Argyle were among the first to throw open their doors for the NHS. “It’s difficult to single clubs out — I feel I’m being unkind to others who also do brilliant work — but Plymouth are a really good example,” Parry says. “Burton Albion are another very good example. They responded instantly as soon as the crisis started setting up a food distribution hub, making the stadium available to NHS for staff and key workers. Middlesbrough were delivering food parcels straight away, school meals and hundreds of phone calls to elderly and disabled supporters. There are beacons everywhere you look.”

The beacons will burn with even more hope for the clubs themselves if they can welcome back fans as early as possible next season. At Wednesday’s EFL meeting they may discuss when that start will be. Parry sounds upbeat. “The green shoots of recovery are definitely there. I don’t want to pre-empt what the government’s going to say in the next couple of weeks but the talk about spectators returning, albeit gradually, is definitely ramping up in volume at the moment.

“We absolutely mustn’t get complacent. I don’t think for one minute the virus is permanently vanished but compared with where we were even six weeks ago there are definitely grounds for cautious optimism. We are not out of the woods yet. I’ve never known a situation where there are so many moving parts and where there is so much uncertainty. Planning ahead is really difficult because we just don’t know.”

What everyone does know, and accepts, is the need for more financial sanity and stability amongst EFL clubs. “It is a huge wake-up call not just in the costs but in terms of the way that we share revenues,” Parry adds. “The lottery that is the Championship with total wages at 107 per cent of turnover, losses in hundreds of millions, wasn’t sustainable at any time. It’s definitely not sustainable now. Something has to be done not just because of the crisis but to make sure clubs are properly sustainable going forward.”

Like? “Salary caps are being discussed at every level. We already have salary caps in Leagues One and Leagues Two but it’s a different form of salary cap that’s now being debated. The problem with the previous cap it was a percentage of revenue. In the case of some clubs like Bury it was a percentage of revenue that never actually arrived. A hard salary cap is a different form of cap. In theory, it is simpler to monitor.”

Reports suggest a cap of £2.5 million for League One clubs and £1.5 million for League Two with players aged under 21 exempt. One figure mentioned for the Championship was £18 million.

“The difference will be the debate at Championship level,” Parry says, “but again you can’t go beyond the basic number that says 107 per cent of turnover spent on wages. Over the last five seasons, it has been 99 per cent or above every single season. It’s a trend that has, frankly, been getting worse despite the fact that we have the profit and sustainability rules, we still have clubs in the Championship racking up £300m in losses. They are not actually making the clubs either profitable or sustainable.”

Parry wants money from the Premier League to be more equitable, spread around, rather than primarily lavished on relegated clubs like Huddersfield Town, Cardiff City and Fulham from last season with West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City and Swansea City also eligible. “Parachute payments are divisive. We have six clubs in the Championship who between them are receiving around £226 million in parachute payments (this season) and then the other 18 clubs receiving £81 million between them.

“It is not an equitable split. It encourages irrational behaviour from the clubs who are not in receipt of parachute payments. I definitely think they should go. The parachute payment addresses the symptom but not the problem. Why are they helping clubs who are dropping out of the Premier League? They are helping them because there is a chasm. Why don’t we address the chasm? Then we wouldn’t need the parachute payments.

“If you look a couple of seasons ago, you had Leeds United receiving around £4 million in TV money and Huddersfield who were in the Premier League, albeit briefly, receiving £100 million. How can that be right? For the benefit of clubs in the Premier League and in the Championship we need to get rid of the cliff edge. We need to narrow the gap between the two.”

One of the suggestions to address cost down the pyramid has been to regionalise North and South. “I don’t see that. Obviously in football you never say never but definitely not on my horizon at the moment.” Parry’s immediate horizon was Wembley for tonight’s League Two play-off final, and a moment to reflect on his work during the pandemic. “Working with great people, working with great clubs is a privilege,” Parry says. “The EFL matters.”

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:38 pm

Premier League Chief Exec Richard Masters appeared before the parliamentary DCMS Committee today to talk about the restart and other issues post Covid19 pause

The press have picked up on the comments re the Newcastle takeover

https://www.theguardian.com/football/20 ... -tells-mps

his full grilling is here for you to watch - over an hour long

https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/2 ... 0deaacf7f0

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:47 pm

Chester Perry wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:38 pm
Premier League Chief Exec Richard Masters appeared before the parliamentary DCMS Committee today to talk about the restart and other issues post Covid19 pause

The press have picked up on the comments re the Newcastle takeover

https://www.theguardian.com/football/20 ... -tells-mps

his full grilling is here for you to watch - over an hour long

https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/2 ... 0deaacf7f0
Lots of political points scoring going on here - I still cannot believe that the Premier League are not clearly spelling out that they are losing a lot more money than the EFL - yet paying the EFL, their Academies and grassroots the original planned sums - increasing the losses for the Premier League. I know they do not want to appear aggressive, but there must be a way to get that message across

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:33 pm

Piece from SportsBusiness.com on the threat to the proposed private equity finance investment into Serie A

Politics may scupper Serie A private equity investment, predicts leading Italian finance journalist
Kevin Roberts - June 29, 2020

Cash-strapped Serie-A clubs could find it difficult to agree a deal with a private equity investor because of internal politics and deep-seated rivalries, according to leading Italian financial journalist and football analyst Marco Bellinazzo.

Speaking to SportBusiness ahead of tomorrow’s key meeting of Lega Serie A clubs which will address a raft of financial and media issues, Bellinazzo said: “Because of the political approach which overrides everything else it could be difficult.

“The clubs don’t trust each other and while smaller clubs see this as an opportunity to boost their cash flow, the big clubs like Juventus, Milan and Inter are concerned there may be issues around governance which will disadvantage them.”

In May, private equity firm CVC Capital Partners tabled a bid worth a reported €2.2bn ($2.47bn) for a stake in a new company which would be set up to sell Serie A’s media and commercial rights over a 10-year period.

Since then two other companies, Bain Capital and Advent, are reported to have made offers.

But according to Bellinazzo, there has been little or no communication between the league and CVC since the initial offer was made and a committee began to examine it in detail.

While he believes that this is the best possible time for private equity to invest in Italian football because of its relative lack of commercial development, it would be a big ask to turn the sport around quickly.

He said: “The offers are so big that it would take 20 years for football in Italy to be worth so much.”

The bids come against a background of uncertainty around Serie A’s revenues which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis which interrupted the season. Most if not all clubs have already borrowed against future media revenues and Bellinazzo says the current cumulative debt is around €250bn.

“The problem is that they have borrowed just to cover current spending levels, not to build for the future,” Bellinazzo said.

Consideration of private equity offers comes at a time of confusion over future media rights revenue. Although payment issues with domestic rights-holder DAZN and international rights-holder IMG over withholding of fees following the suspension of the season have now been settled, there are other areas to tackle.

It was reported last week that the league had issued pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia with an ultimatum to pay its missed rights fee instalments totalling €131m ($147.3m).

Sky holds the rights to seven of the 10 weekly fixtures, a total of 266 matches broadcast on its platforms per season. DAZN holds the rights to the remaining three matches giving it a total of 114 per season. The deals with Sky and DAZN are worth €973m per season.

The rights sales process for the cycle beginning with the 2021-22 season was due to have started in April but has been delayed and, according to Bellinazzo, the uncertainty has led Mediapro, the broadcast production and rights agency, to re-think plans for a joint venture on a Lega channel and to demand the return of a €64m deposit lodged with the league.

He explained: “There is already some doubt about their ability to maintain the same financial level because of lack of competition to Sky Italia and DAZN in the domestic market and because Sky’s valuation is affected by the law which prevents them enjoying exclusivity.

“There are also problems internationally. IMG has not been successful, and part of the reason is that Serie A has not invested in building and enhancing its brand overseas in the way than LaLiga and others have done.”

Pay-television broadcaster BeIN Media Group holds Serie A rights across a slew of territories, including France, Australia and the Middle East and North Africa in a deal running from 2018-19 to 2020-21. The broadcaster has now succeeded in renegotiating its agreement, which was worth around $170m per season.

Bellinazzo believes that the key to re-building the finances of Serie-A is in the depth of commercial and governance expertise which a major private equity investor could inject.

He observed: “The potential to have a big financial investor as part of the operation around Serie A is an extremely important opportunity. With proper financial support and management, it could be up there with the (German) Bundesliga and (Spain’s) LaLiga.

“In Italy there is already an appealing fiscal regime to attract players and with specific investment in events, infrastructure and academies the brand would be significantly enhanced.

“But if PE is simply looking for a profit in three years without developing a proper growth strategy it will simply not be a success.”

Interestingly, Bellinazzo also feels that enhancing the governance and commercial performance of Serie A will have an impact further down the Italian football pyramid.

“It will encourage people to look at investing in smaller clubs and those which have fallen out of the top level. A club like Palermo, which was in Serie A five years ago but is now in the fourth level, might be seen as a good investment if there was the right level of revenue at the top to aim for.”

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Royboyclaret » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:35 pm

Chester Perry wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:38 pm
Premier League Chief Exec Richard Masters appeared before the parliamentary DCMS Committee today to talk about the restart and other issues post Covid19 pause

The press have picked up on the comments re the Newcastle takeover

https://www.theguardian.com/football/20 ... -tells-mps

his full grilling is here for you to watch - over an hour long

https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/2 ... 0deaacf7f0
Humiliating, not too strong a word from a neutral's perspective. So why do I think the Newcastle fans will see things a whole lot differently.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Royboyclaret » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:41 pm

Chester Perry wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:47 pm
Lots of political points scoring going on here - I still cannot believe that the Premier League are not clearly spelling out that they are losing a lot more money than the EFL - yet paying the EFL, their Academies and grassroots the original planned sums - increasing the losses for the Premier League. I know they do not want to appear aggressive, but there must be a way to get that message across
Think we established recently that Parachute Payments and Solidarity Payments from the PL to the EFL accounted for some £371million in '18/'19. Over £1billion throughout the '16/'19 three year cycle and yet some continue to doubt the generosity of the PL to those lower down the pyramid.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:50 pm

Royboyclaret wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:41 pm
Think we established recently that Parachute Payments and Solidarity Payments from the PL to the EFL accounted for some £371million in '18/'19. Over £1billion throughout the '16/'19 three year cycle and yet some continue to doubt the generosity of the PL to those lower down the pyramid.
Master's said they were paying £110m in Solidarity, £60m to Academies, £30m to football charities this season - then there is the £90m to the PFA then Parachutes - none of which have been diluted by the rebates they have had to accept. He also said that even with restart completing successfully his member clubs will lose £700m all told from projected earnings this season - none of which was recognised by the committee members who were all looking for additional monies for the EFL, Non League, grassroots, Children's and the Women's game - absolutely bonkers.

This is the crap that Garlick has to listen too and still keep Sean and the fans happy with contracts and signings

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Royboyclaret » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:14 pm

Chester Perry wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:50 pm
Master's said they were paying £110m in Solidarity, £60m to Academies, £30m to football charities this season - then there is the £90m to the PFA then Parachutes - none of which have been diluted by the rebates they have had to accept. He also said that even with restart completing successfully his member clubs will lose £700m all told from projected earnings this season - none of which was recognised by the committee members who were all looking for additional monies for the EFL, Non League, grassroots, Children's and the Women's game - absolutely bonkers.

This is the crap that Garlick has to listen too and still keep Sean and the fans happy with contracts and signings
This is the big problem that Garlick will have in that so few people realise the enormity of the impact of both domestic and overseas rebates on both this season and potentially next. Even though some payments that relate to this season are held over until next, they still require provision in this year's accounts.

Today, of course, is the final day in our financial year and this morning I was asked to provide a forecast Profit & Loss account for the said year. Not surprisingly the bottom line proved to be an eye-watering moment for various people and the details are probably best kept away from this forum at least for the time being.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:21 pm

Royboyclaret wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:14 pm
This is the big problem that Garlick will have in that so few people realise the enormity of the impact of both domestic and overseas rebates on both this season and potentially next. Even though some payments that relate to this season are held over until next, they still require provision in this year's accounts.

Today, of course, is the final day in our financial year and this morning I was asked to provide a forecast Profit & Loss account for the said year. Not surprisingly the bottom line proved to be an eye-watering moment for various people and the details are probably best kept away from this forum at least for the time being.
I understand Roy, though I do feel thaere are stilll a lot on this board that are still in need of a reality check
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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:38 pm

Stories emerging that Sheffield Wednesday have not paid some players in full this month - the club are awaiting the outcome from last weeks EFL hearing of financial irregularities, which could see points deductions, and we know clubs have had points deducted for failing to pay their players on time - Wednesday are currently only 10 points above the relegation places

https://twitter.com/robstaton/status/12 ... 4870102017

EDIT https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53242237
Last edited by Chester Perry on Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:42 pm

And speaking of repeated late payers - Macclesfield today released their 2018/19 financial Accounts - on the last possible opportunity - not that they show much

https://twitter.com/KieranMaguire/statu ... 8837822464

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:47 pm

Burton Albion - who are a much more sane club - also released their 2018/19 accounts today

https://twitter.com/KieranMaguire/statu ... 2320584716

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:52 pm

Today was also the last day for Derby to release their 2018/19 financial results - nothing as yet from the club or at Companies House

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:58 pm

Chester Perry wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:38 pm
Premier League Chief Exec Richard Masters appeared before the parliamentary DCMS Committee today to talk about the restart and other issues post Covid19 pause

The press have picked up on the comments re the Newcastle takeover

https://www.theguardian.com/football/20 ... -tells-mps

his full grilling is here for you to watch - over an hour long

https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/2 ... 0deaacf7f0
This Thread started by Simon Chadwick is interesting re the discussion on the Newcastle takeover, not just for his comments but for the additional posts from others as to the SNP's links to Qatar

https://twitter.com/Prof_Chadwick/statu ... 6784162819

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:10 pm

And on the subject of that Saudi takeover and the way they played the outcome of that WTO report on piracy of the BeIN sports feeds this thread from Matt Slater of The Athletic is particularly illuminating.

https://twitter.com/mjshrimper/status/1 ... 6905687040

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:28 pm

Chester Perry wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:34 pm
It appears that Hull City owner's the Allam family have fallen out with the Athletic - because a journalist sought to establish a club;s position on an article they were researching - it had not been published and still hasn't as far as I am aware - the response to the request is unusual to say the least

https://www.hullcitytigers.com/club-sta ... -athletic/
Chester Perry wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:41 pm
the Football Today Podcasts asks - Why Are Hull City at War With the Media?

https://www.footballtodaypodcast.com/po ... -the-media
The Tifo Football Podcast (Tifo Football is now owned by the Athletic remember) asks What is going on at Hull City?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXl2VhP ... e=youtu.be

https://podfollow.com/tifofootballpodcast/view

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:37 pm

Missed out earlier that the Premier League have also offered £1m to the WSL for testing to help them next season

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53237189

they have also offered £200k to the national league for testing to help them with their play-offs

https://www.thenonleaguefootballpaper.c ... de-season/

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:15 am

The Daily Mail is claiming that Man City will find out the judgement of their CAS appeal on July 13th

Manchester City will learn their European fate on July 13 after they appealed two-year Champions League ban in three-day Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing last month
- Manchester City have been locked in a battle with UEFA after their European ban
- City were banned from Europe for two years for breaching Financial Fair Play
- They appealed against the punishment to the Court of Arbitration for Sport
- A three-day hearing was heard in Switzerland and over video conference
By MIKE KEEGAN FOR THE DAILY MAIL

PUBLISHED: 22:30, 30 June 2020 | UPDATED: 23:21, 30 June 2020

Manchester City are set to learn their European fate on July 13, Sportsmail understands.

Last season's Premier League champions have been locked in a battle with UEFA after they were banned from European football for two years in February for breaches of the governing body's Financial Fair Play rules.

They appealed against the punishment — which came with a 30million euros (£27m) fine — to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and a three-day hearing was heard in Switzerland and over video conference last month.

At the time, CAS said that a verdict was likely to be published in the first half of July. However, it can be disclosed that parties have been told that July 13 will be D-day.

The verdict was expected on July 10, but UEFA are understood to have asked for it to be pushed back to avoid clashing with the draw for the Champions League quarter-finals, semi-finals and final which takes place on that date.

The result will be significant. Should the ban be upheld, City will have to persuade their star players, in particular, 29-year-old Kevin de Bruyne, to remain at the Etihad Stadium despite two years without European football. They will also miss out on the vast revenues that the Champions League brings.

Such a verdict would have the knock-on effect that City's place in next season's competition will go to the club which finishes in fifth place in the Premier League.

Should City's appeal be successful, it will be seen as a landmark victory and serious questions of UEFA's FFP system will be asked. A third option that the ban is cut is also a possibility.

City were found by UEFA to have committed 'serious breaches' of the rules between 2012 and 2016 following an investigation launched after Portuguese hacker Rui Pinto leaked documents including internal emails from the club to German media.

Following the announcement of the ban and fine they immediately announced their intention to appeal with chief executive Ferran Soriano stating that they had 'irrefutable evidence' to back up their case.

Pinto is currently under house arrest and is awaiting trial in Portugal.

Both Manchester City and UEFA declined to comment.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:28 am

just come across this extraordinary tale about a proposed Olympic Marseille from last Friday - not sure if it is totally believable (for me the sums don't add up - of course the Saudi's have been linked with OM for some time

https://translate.google.com/translate? ... on-1005763

If it is the Saudi's the approach sports/entertainment still looks to much scattergun - there does not appear to be a real strategy - which Simon Chadwick repeated today

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by claret54 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:29 am

Chester Perry wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:21 pm
I understand Roy, though I do feel thaere are stilll a lot on this board that are still in need of a reality check
Please give us a reality check. It's easy to see that income will be down both from TV money and match day income. But not easy to translate that into specific numbers for this financial year and the next one.Would be interesting for further insight. And might help an understanding of the conflict between chairman and manager.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:47 am

Chester Perry wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 9:44 pm
Swiss Authorities inform Sepp Blatter that he is the target of a criminal investigation in Switzerland for suspected mismanagement of a $1 million payment from soccer funds. Again about FIFA business with Jack Warner, latest case follows the Caribbean TV deal closed by prosecutors a few weeks ago. - targeting other ex-FIFA officials too.

https://apnews.com/cea744aa9b63535833234aeacaf5c541
Chester Perry wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:06 am
Michel Platini joins Blatter as a formal suspect in an investigation by Swiss Police - all related to those additional Payments that got the pair of them banned from the game

https://apnews.com/62060895ef83e953620c602fe7d7657c
Marcus Kattner the former FIFA Finance Director who signed off these and other payments has been banned from football for 10 years

https://twitter.com/sportingintel/statu ... 3555094530

the atrocious history of FIFA dodgy payments/cash machine to it's own officials - in a 57 page doc from FIFA themselves - otherwise known as the judgement decision

https://img.fifa.com/image/upload/k9ps9 ... ey9e4p.pdf

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:52 am

Simon Stone looks at the implications of relegation for West Ham

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53215371

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:18 pm

claret54 wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:29 am
Please give us a reality check. It's easy to see that income will be down both from TV money and match day income. But not easy to translate that into specific numbers for this financial year and the next one. Would be interesting for further insight. And might help an understanding of the conflict between chairman and manager.
I don't think anything has changed much since the last time I broke it all down - the issue is cash flow, we have lots going out and nothing coming in

- I reckon we have had around £35m (+/- £5m) in outgoings since the pause - Salaries, operating costs, restart costs etc. That would likely clear out all our working capital we had in hand, and we won't have paid the bonuses yet because the season hasn't ended, though we know we will have to because we are safe in the Premier League.

- Then there are the outstanding transfer payments - we are due to both pay and receive £14m about this time - much will depend on who can start the payment carousel. There will also be £3m - £5m in condition transfer payments to pay - the main trigger is Premier League safety I would assume.

- We still don't know if the restart will complete successfully. if it doesn't then the armageddon scenario of a tv rebate for £762m immediately comes into play. Think Leicester lockdown, south coast beaches, Liverpool partying and demonstrations that could lead to a second wave as to why the club would be cautious.

- All that naturally affects your short term planning - the club still does not know what the current season's income will be (the variations depending on what happens could be as much as £30m)

- Much of the same goes for planning next seasons budget - the club do not know the base they will be operating from (this seasons - not year - final financial position - loss or profit - and by how much). Nor do they know what the minimum income will be next season - TV rebates are likely, match attendance is uncertain, day to day commercial activities curtailed, sponsorship income reduced. They do know what their current base costs are though and that will be making them nervous.
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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by summitclaret » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:33 pm

The reality is there. Hope Sean understands it and shuts his gob in public about the Board.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:14 pm

Borussia Dortmund reveal the financial impact of Covid19 now the Bundesliga season has ended - from SportsProMedia.com

Borussia Dortmund braced for €45m losses from Covid-19
Loss of ‘€15m’ in matchday income sees Bundesliga club facing shortfall.

Posted: June 30 2020By: Ed Dixon

- BVB projecting pre-EBITDA earnings of €62m
- Advertising, TV, hospitality and merchandising revenues all suffer
- Pre-pandemic Dortmund were on track to post a 2019/20 gross profit of €297.4m
- German soccer giants Borussia Dortmund are expecting losses of around €45 million (US$50.5 million) as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The club are anticipating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to hit €62 million (US$69.6 million) for the 2019/20 financial period. But with Covid-19 suspending the Bundesliga campaign for more than two months, before resuming on 16th May behind closed doors, the empty Signal Iduna Park stadium has seen Dortmund’s revenues dry up, with advertising, hospitality and other matchday income affected.

According to Kicker, Dortmund’s five remaining home games this season at the deserted 81,000 venue saw the team miss out on €15 million (US$16.8 million) in earnings, with the sports news outlet also reporting a decline in TV money and merchandising.

Added to this, with the global transfer market expected to tighten as clubs aim to cut spending, Dortmund’s opportunity to earn money from player sales is also set to shrink. The club have raked in more than UK£200 million (US$245.8 million) from outgoings from the start of the 2018/19 campaign.

Despite this, Dortmund stated they ‘are well equipped to bear these losses,’ supported by a €17.4 million (US$19.5 million) net profit and consolidated revenues of €489.5 million (US$549.7 million) for 2018/19. The club also inked a bumper extension with kit supplier Puma in November 2019, reportedly worth €250 million (US$280.7 million) until the end of 2027/28.

Before coronavirus struck, in the first six months of the 2019/20 financial period, Dortmund were on track to post a gross profit of €297.4 million (US$334 million) and a total profit of €3 million (US$3.4 million).

Executives at the club say they plan ‘to develop new concepts and measures for the start of the 2020/21 season’ to address the impending financial fallout.

On the pitch, Dortmund rounded off the 2019/20 Bundesliga campaign on a disappointing note, losing 4-0 at home to Hoffenheim, though still managed to finish runners-up behind Bayern Munich, who clinched their eighth straight league title.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:46 pm

It appears more vultures are circling - we have yet another interested party for a share in the Ownership of Serie A - I make that 5 bidders now - from SportsProMedia.com

Report: Cinven joins list of Serie A suitors
London-based company reportedly weighing investment in Italy’s top soccer league.

Posted: July 1 2020By: Michael Long

- Private equity firm joins Advent, CVC, Bain and Blackstone as suitors
- Serie A considering hiring specialist advisors to oversee bidding process
- Private equity firm Cinven has emerged as the latest name to be linked with an investment in Italian soccer’s Serie A.

According to Bloomberg, the London-based company joins Advent International and Bain Capital as a potential suitor for the league after a period of exclusive talks with CVC Capital Partners came to an end.

Serie A bosses and the league’s 20 teams are now mulling over whether to hire advisors and begin a new bidding process, reports Bloomberg.

Representatives for Cinven and Serie A declined to comment when approached for comment by Bloomberg, which notes that a firm offer is not guaranteed.

Previous reports said Serie A is looking to sell a minority stake in a separate division that manages the league’s broadcast rights, both domestically and on an international basis.

Last month, Bain Capital tabled a reported €3 billion (US$3.4 billion) preliminary offer for a 25 per cent stake in the business, while Advent’s subsequent bid was said to value Italian soccer’s top flight at €13 billion (US$14.6 billion).

Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners had reportedly been in exclusive talks with Serie A over a €2.2 billion (US$2.4 billion) deal to acquire 20 per cent of the league.

Meanwhile US-based Blackstone was linked with a €100 million (US$112 million) short-term loan to help Serie A clubs mitigate against the financial impact of the ongoing pandemic.

All bids have been made since the onset of the health crisis, which Gabriele Gravina, president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), recently said had already cost Serie A €500 million (US$526 million).

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:53 pm

As though we didn't have enough issues in football between Qatar and Saudi Arabia - they now seem to be bidding against one another for the 2027 Asian Football Championships - from SportsBusiness.com - no wonder BeoutQ has disappeared from the airwaves.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia face off again in 2027 Asian Cup bid race
Adam Nelson, Europe office - July 1, 2020

The Asian Football Confederation has announced the five bidders for its 2027 Asian Cup, with Saudi Arabia and Qatar against set to face each other in another bidding race.

India, Iran and Uzbekistan are the three others countries joining the Middle Eastern neighbours in submitting their formal candidature to host the event.

The AFC intends to announce its final decision next year, after carrying out an assessment of the bids over the coming months.

Iran – in 1968 and 1976 – and Qatar – 1988 and 2011 – have both hosted the tournament twice before, while the other three are competing to stage their first ever Asian Cups. Iran won the competition on both occasions it has hosted.

Earlier this year, Gulf rivals Saudi Arabia and Qatar were also named as the two candidates aiming to host the 2030 Asian Games, as the political enmity between the states continues to spill over into the sporting world.

The two have also recently clashed over the proposed takeover of Premier League side Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, with Yousef Al-Obaidly, chief executive of Qatar-based pay-television broadcaster beIN Media Group, urging authorities in the UK to block the purchase.

AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, said: “On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to thank all our member associations for stepping forward to express their desire and for sharing our ambitions to host a world-class stage for our players, teams, officials and fans and I wish all of them the very best in the bidding process.”

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:58 pm

The Belgian Football Federation looks to capitalise on the rise in the rankings of it's national team - from SportsBusiness.com

Rise of the Red Devils drives new Belgian FA partnership strategy
Ben Cronin, Europe Editor - July 1, 2020

- Once as low as #66 in Fifa’s ranking, Belgium are now top of the world
- But the legacy of an old-school partnership strategy left money on the table
- A new approach with digital at its heart is being rolled out

Under normal circumstances, millions of football fans across Europe and around the world would currently be immersed in Euro 2020.

But nobody needs reminding that these are far from normal times. The competition’s rescheduling for next summer is a particular blow for the Royal Belgian Football Association, whose star-studded team has topped the Fifa rankings for the past two years and were among the favourites to be crowned Champions of Europe.

That status represents a remarkable turnaround for ‘The Red Devils’ who failed to qualify for the finals of the Euros in 2004, 2008 and 2012 or the Fifa World Cups of 2006 or 2010.

According to Manu Leroy, director of marketing at the Royal Belgian Football Association, those were dark days for the sport and the country. At one stage the team slumped to 66th in the Fifa rankings but, even as it withered, a new generation of talent was maturing and has since flowered. Those players ply their trade at some of the world’s biggest clubs in the biggest leagues and many have become global stars in their own right.

But while the team was reaching new heights on the field, the commercial infrastructure behind it had failed to keep up and opportunities to build on established revenue streams and develop new ones were missed.

Now, under the new RBFA management, that is changing. A new commercial strategy has been developed with the aim of making Belgium one of the leading National Associations. An extensive Benchmarking exercise, conducted with the help of Uefa’s ‘Grow’ programme, has provided vital guidance and focus and a commercial revolution is now under way to mirror that on the pitch.

“It’s about transforming the Belgian FA from what was a sort of sports ministry into a modern commercial company,” says Leroy.

“We are in the best possible place sporting-wise, so we want to be on the same level in every other respect, including the commercial side.

“Working with Uefa we benchmarked against Spain in terms of performance, Portugal in terms of being a similar size of market, and Holland and the Nordics in relation to a population with similar spending power. We wanted to see where we sat in terms of different categories of sponsorship. What we learned – and what I already had a gut feel about – is that we were not making the most of the opportunity we now have.

“When the team was not qualifying for the finals of competitions it was like a commercial desert. Now we are turning around a strategy which was a bit old-school to make it far more modern and more measurable. In doing so it is our ambition to become less dependent on team results by establishing new parameters and building a database so that we can always give value to partners even if we fall down the rankings.”

Many of the current roster of 12 partners have been with the Belgian FA over the long haul and Leroy admits that their loyalty during the bad times made it difficult to increase fees to reflect the new reality.

“But now they understand that we are #1 in the world and that prices have gone up. But they are not just paying for the same level of service. We are building new layers on top of the visibility and ticketing part.

“For instance, producing branded content is really important because we have a gigantic reach. We are the biggest influencer in Belgium, so we want to leverage that for our partners and use the data we have.

“Luckily the predecessors here invested in in building a solid database. We’re actually in a process of cleaning that up so that we are able to extract data, segment it and give other types of return to the to our partners.”

Data and content are central to the new proposition. Work on a brand-new digital platform is due to start shortly for completion by early 2021.

“That’s when the magic will start to happen and when we will be able to deliver on our digital promise,” explains Leroy, who expects to see usage ramp up ahead of the rescheduled Euros next June.

His vision is of a virtuous circle that sees fans signing up to download an app, which delivers a feast of unique content, and the personal data they agree to provide in return becomes valuable currency for the Belgian FA when pitching to brands and pricing partnerships.

“Branded content has an important role. It is produced by us as a sort of media house and has our tone of voice. The key thing is that it has to be relevant and make people want to watch it. That means using players and coaches and going behind the scenes to produce things you just won’t see on classical media,” he says.

The hunger to associate with a team of stars scattered across Europe is evident whenever Belgium plays in a major tournament. The flags, shirts and painted faces represent the united face of a county which, says Leroy, is complicated by its regionalism and language divisions.

But arising from that is a group of players who come from different cities and regions and different ethnicities. They say that ultimately talent trumps all and it is a group of players whose fortunes are followed by Belgian fans wherever they play.

“It doesn’t matter that they don’t play in the Belgian league because most people have pay-TV and can watch them play wherever they are. The interesting thing we have noted is Belgian fans become fans of the clubs they play for and then move with them. So, a fan might follow Eden Hazard at Chelsea and then become a Real Madrid fan when he moves there,” Leroy says.

And it is in access to those players that much of the value of the Belgian FA’s sponsorship proposition lies.

“Right now, we have quite a flat structure in which most of the 12 main partners get pretty much the same inventory and opportunities, but they don’t all pay the exact same fee. That sometimes causes frustration among our partners.

“We are moving toward a pyramid in which a smaller number of sponsors get more and receive more. Our goal is to have a clearer structure that will protect our most valuable asset, the player IP.

“In the past all partners got shooting time with the players for commercials but we need to be able to control that and ensure that you have to pay a certain entry level fee to get that access….it’s worth a lot.

”Right now we have some legacy deals so what we are doing is creating clarity and additional value propositions for the cycle after the 2022 World Cup when existing deals are finished and we have a clean sheet as the new pyramid kicks-in.”

Leroy says that fans have become a little blasé about success, making it more difficult to sell tickets for qualifying games at the 50,000 capacity King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.

“Now that we are always in Pot One (for the top seeds) we always have games against less interesting teams and these can be a challenge,” he said.

“To address this, we’ve reactivated our fan club, which rewards loyal fans who have their own section within the stadium, and we have introduced entertainment like post-game concerts and half-time DJ sets to make each game more of an event.” A 42,000 crowd for an inevitably one-sided Euro 2020 qualifier against Cyprus in November suggests that the strategy is beginning to work.

Its s not only the men’s senior team which is subject to the new commercial strategy. The upwardly mobile Red Flames women’s team is, for the first time, treated as a separate entity and opportunity.

“In the past if you sponsored the men the women’s team was thrown in as part of the same deal. That’s no longer the case, there are no more free rides,” Leroy explains.

“The women’s team offers different opportunities to different brands so companies can now partner with just the women’s team. We’re delighted to have sold our first women’s team-only partnership to Connections, a travel agency, and other brands are beginning to look seriously at the opportunity. We have also sold media rights to the women’s team to public television for the first time.”

Leroy’s strategy aims to maximise the value of the Belgian national team while it is on top of the world and maintain that value should form and position dip. Head coach Roberto Martínez has put in place a talent identification and development system and there is confindence that the pipeline is in good shape and that the country can look forward to another decade or so of success, defined as remaining in Fifa’s top 10.

Like the current crop of superstars, the youngsters are drawn from all backgrounds and sections of society, reflecting a diversity Leroy says must be celebrated across football and which is in line with the mood and aspirations of sponsors.

“I think the big message for all of football is that we need to mirror society otherwise we’ll never be able to really connect with those people from different backgrounds. It’s a big ambition within our federation in the coming years to create diversity in gender and all other areas. Our amazing team is incredibly diverse and that’s a good message for sponsors who think it’s an important area for them to leverage on.”

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:43 pm

Chester Perry wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:47 pm
Lots of political points scoring going on here - I still cannot believe that the Premier League are not clearly spelling out that they are losing a lot more money than the EFL - yet paying the EFL, their Academies and grassroots the original planned sums - increasing the losses for the Premier League. I know they do not want to appear aggressive, but there must be a way to get that message across
DCMS at it again today following the Wigan administration - there is absolutely no way that administration can be held at the Premier Leagues door

https://twitter.com/danroan/status/1278349559656255494

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:10 pm

Sheffield United announce that the club now owns Bramall Lane and other properties that were owned by the McCabe family - fulfilling the legal requirement placed on them by the courts las autumn

https://www.sufc.co.uk/news/2020/july/club-statement/

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:47 pm

FIFA launched a new online Professional football Journal today - it can be found here

https://www.professionalfootballjournal ... m/homepage

I found this article particular interesting and informative - Quick overview of post-COVID-19 football: From cash-flow pressures to mitigation - in particular the breakdown of 3 orders of effects was very good

https://www.professionalfootballjournal ... assessment

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:31 pm

Not sure why this is upsetting people - it was obvious that this was the only way to deal with the issue, and I mentioned it at the time the rebate deferral was announced - from the Guardian

Outrage at Premier League's demand that promoted clubs help settle its debts
- Clubs coming up in next two seasons will be charged £8m
- Promotion hopefuls angry at league’s self-serving stance

Exclusive by David Hytner - Wed 1 Jul 2020 22.00 BST

The Premier League will charge newly promoted clubs £8m each next season and in 2021-22 to help soften the blow of broadcast revenues lost because of the Covid-19 crisis.

The development has caused bewilderment among Championship clubs with hopes of going up. They question why they must pay a penalty that relates to a Premier League season in which they have played no part and some are viewing it as akin to paying an entrance fee for an exclusive members’ club.

In their opinion, the top division ought to be spreading its largesse down the leagues – as the government has demanded – and not, in effect, make a raid on upwardly mobile Football League clubs.

The Premier League has been forced to agree to rebates of £330m to broadcasters because of the failure, through no fault of its own, to deliver its product as advertised. It will not pay the money now but in instalments over next season and the one after – years two and three of a three-year broadcast deal.

Under the plan, which Championship clubs learned of last week, the three teams promoted would each pay £8m, with the three coming up in 2020-21 doing the same – adding up to £48m.

Promotion is estimated to be worth £180m to a club and the likelihood would be that the £8m would be deducted from money paid out by the league. Clubs relegated can expect parachute payments of between £75m-90m over two or three years and they too would be expected to contribute towards the broadcasting rebate. It will most likely be taken from their parachute payments.

The argument in favour of charging the promoted clubs, of making them bear a portion of the responsibility, relates to the knock-on effects of coronavirus; how it will affect not only this season but the next one and even the one after.

The next Premier League season will kick off later than planned and the league, in negotiations with broadcasters over the rebate, has essentially paid a price to control the flexibility of the start date. Therefore the promoted clubs are being told to contribute to that premium.

A further counterpoint is that promoted clubs are entering a changed landscape, a competition operating with altered costs over the next two seasons. It is a reality and, as they will belong to that competition, it is felt that they should pay.
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they could always opt out of taking promotion and have benefitted this season by the Premier League not reducing the solidarity/parachute/academy payments

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:16 am

the move towards banning Gambling sponsorship on football shirts keeps moving forwards - from the Telegraph

Gambling sponsorship on football shirts in England must be banned to protect children, says Lords committee
CHARLES HYMAS JULY 02, 2020

Gambling sponsorship on football shirts should be banned to prevent children being lured into betting, says a cross-party committee of peers led by former BBC chairman Lord Grade.

In a 192-page special inquiry on the gambling industry, the committee called for all the £350 million shirt sponsorship deals held by half the Premier League clubs to be phased out immediately. It also set a 2023 deadline for the 17 of the 24 Championship teams to ditch them.

The committee, which includes the former Cabinet Secretary Lord Butler and leading Church of England bishop the Rt Rev Alan Smith, also proposed there should be no gambling advertising in or near any sports grounds or sports venues.

“We have to disabuse children of the idea that gambling and football are synonymous. It’s not healthy,” Lord Grade told The Daily Telegraph.

“In young minds, the association of gambling and soccer is so normalised and close today that we have to wean the football clubs off their reliance on gambling sponsorship.

“The premier league could do it straight away but in the current economic climate this puts a burden on smaller clubs so we would give the Championship clubs three yeas to wean themselves off it.”

The committee also recommended a new statutory duty of care should be placed on gambling firms that would give players an automatic right to sue them for any breaches such as allowing someone to bet beyond their means.

All new games - and particularly those online which can tempt children with smart phones - should be rigorously tested by the watchdog, the Gambling Commission, against a series of harm indicators including their addictiveness and their appeal to children.

An addictive game which scores too highly on the harm indicators would not be approved.

The committee blamed the rise of online gambling, fuelled by smart phones, for the 350,000 problem gamblers, including 55,000 children. On average, they said, a problem gambler committed suicide every day.

To counter the addictiveness of internet games, the committee recommended the equalisation of speed of play and spin, so that no game could be played quicker online than in a casino, bookmaker or bingo hall.

The committee also urged the watchdog to take a tougher approach to errant gambling firms including removing their licence to operate if they allowed players to gamble beyond their means.

“It should be a licence condition of an operator that they take all reasonable steps to understand what their customers can afford,” said Lord Grade.

“Affordability is the key to this. There are too many cases where people gamble tens of thousands of pounds that they cannot afford, yet they are offered free bets. This is shocking.”

The committee also recommended that loot boxes in computer games, which encourage children to win or buy prizes that boost their character’s performance, should be treated as gambling products.

The lords also proposed a compulsory statutory levy with the money earmarked to treat addicts, a move also backed by 30 leading scientists in an open letter to the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

“Lax regulation of the gambling industry must be replaced by a more robust and focussed regime which prioritises the welfare of gamblers ahead of industry profits,” said Lord Grade.

“Addiction is a health problem which should be treated by the NHS and paid for by gambling industry profits.”

The Bishop of St Albans, Dr Smith, who speaks for the Church of England on gambling-related matters, said Boris Johnson now had an 'academically robust, politically neutral, independent report' to deliver on his election pledge to review gambling.

“Parents will recognize our gambling legislation is hopelessly out of date, the Telegraph have been right to regularly raise concerns around loot boxes and gambling-like tech products played by thousands of children across the country.

“This report’s strong recommendations on these gaming developments would bring our legislation into the 21st century. “I urge the Government to deliver on the promises made in December, and this report helps him do it.”

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by Chester Perry » Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:58 am

The Guardian looks at the mess that Barcelona are in on and off the field

Boardroom turmoil, troubling finances and Messi's influence: why Barcelona are a mess
Sid Lowe - Thu 2 Jul 2020 00.01 BSTLast modified on Thu 2 Jul 2020 00.26 BST

Missing out on the Spanish title is perhaps Barça’s smallest problem – decline is setting in and most key players are above 30. This will take a long time to sort outeo Messi was the first off the pitch, heading down the tunnel alone as Barcelona’s anthem began echoing around a stadium as vacant as the look in the team’s eyes. It was almost midnight on the last day of the financial year and it was over.

Looking down at the scene were the club’s directors who had made it to July, surviving another season, but only just. Any lingering hope of winning La Liga had gone. Ten days before Gerard Piqué said it would be “very difficult”. Now, held 2-2 by Atlético Madrid, a third draw in four, it was virtually impossible.

At the side of the pitch Sergio Busquets said something about mathematical possibility, which is what players say when they have nothing else. Barcelona had decided to sack manager Ernesto Valverde when they were top and without a replacement ready; six months on, they are second, a point behind Real Madrid having played a game more. There are five left and no one is looking forward to those much. That is not the worst of it, either. Defeat, not definitive yet, is one thing; decline is another. Capitulation had been coming for a long time; they were flawed when they were first and well before that.

When the final whistle went Quique Setién turned to the bench, picked up some papers and stood there for a moment. A disciple of Johan Cruyff , this is not how he imagined managing Barcelona. And yet nor can he have been entirely surprised, not least because Cruyff fought battles too and Setién knew he had not been Barça’s first choice. He has problems of his own but most of his team’s precede him. Not least because they are not just the team’s problems; they are the club’s.

Against Atlético, Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona’s third most expensive player in their history, had been on the pitch four minutes. Ousmane Dembélé, their second most expensive, was not there: injured again, his career in Catalonia slipping from his control or anyone else’s. And as for their most expensive signing, Philippe Coutinho is in Munich on loan because they couldn’t sell him. He will be back soon and they will try to get rid of him again, another plan in pieces.

Coutinho was supposed to replace Iniesta, just as Arthur Melo was supposed to replace Xavi. But on Monday Arthur joined Juventus, travelling to Turin still in his Barça tracksuit. They were in a hurry, after all. Juventus paid €72m plus €10m in add-ons Barcelona said but this was effectively a swap deal with Miralem Pjanic, an act of accountancy more creative than the players and driven by finance not football. Driven, above all, by the board’s determination to escape liability for the budgetary shortfall, their short-term survival secured at the cost of deepening and postponing problems until another day.

They are not the only successors lost, the only plans gone awry. Neymar, the man who would play alongside and eventually replace Messi, should be taking the lead now. But he became impatient and Barcelona were powerless to prevent him leaving in 2018. They have become locked in a spiral of loss and nostalgia ever since, desperate to make amends to the point where they tried to bring him back again but did not have the money.

Worse, the €222m had long been spent, even though one director had insisted that doing so would be an irresponsibility for which they would have to resign. No one did. Not for that, anyway: this spring, six directors walked out, meaning 11 of the 21 board members who began Josep Maria Bartomeu’s mandate have gone. There have also been four sporting directors and as many directors of communication. And it goes back further. In 2014, Luis Suárez, Ivan Rakitic and Marc-André ter Stegen signed. Since then, Barcelona have brought in 28 players for almost €1bn. Those are the ones who did come – the failed pursuit of a striker ended up being comic – and none are an unqualified success.

None were easy to shed either, so they sold those they could, not always those they should. Arda Turan was a Barcelona player until Wednesday morning. He has not played for the club in three years. Griezmann eventually came a year later than planned and with no natural slot in the team, early hope floating off with the confetti.

Asked why he introduced the Frenchman only in the 90th minute on Tuesday night Setién said the alternative was not to put him on at all. He talked through the other players, the desire to keep Messi and Luis Suárez on, and concluded it was difficult to introduce Griezmann without “destabilising” the team.

A more telling line is hard to imagine.

The side grow old together and weaker, on the pitch at least. Off it they are powerful still. Ansu Fati is 17, Riqui Puig is 20. They may well be Barcelona’s future; too many of those alongside them are Barcelona’s past. Piqué, Suárez, Messi, and Vidal are 33, Rakitic is 32, Busquets and Alba are 31. And still responsibility lies with them.

It lies with Messi most of all, a weight he does not always welcome but one he will not, and should not, renounce. He has watched the peak of his career slip by without a European Cup in five years. Sometimes he must look around and wonder what he has done to deserve this. Actually, perhaps that is a more pertinent question than it first appears. There is a deference to him that dominates everything and is not without problems that will take a brave man to broach. Soon, though, someone must.

Problems dominate everything, so many they cannot fit on this page, so bad that Messi’s exasperation has been made public. Confrontations between players and board over pay cuts. The Barçagate scandal, the club accused of being behind sock accounts attacking opposition figures and their own players. Messi calling out the sporting director Eric Abidal for blaming the players over Valverde – a man whose ability to keep a lid on tension was not apparent until he had gone, a man some miss now.

His charisma may have been quiet but it was there; coaching this team – this club – is not as simple as many imagined. “It is what it is,” ran Valverde’s now infamous phrase, drawing intense criticism, but what if he was right? What if Xavi, Koeman, and Pochettino were right when they said no?

Setién stepped into the middle. He had seen what Valverde did; soon, perhaps, he saw why Valverde did it. Fault lines open easily at Barcelona, widened by the pressure that surrounds everyone. At Celta, footage showed Messi, Suárez and Rakitic apparently ignoring Setién’s assistant, Eder Sarabia. Reports alleged discussions in the dressing room. On Monday night, the president visited Setién’s house.

During an unexpectedly revealing and startlingly introspective press conference, Barcelona’s manager said: “I wasn’t an easy player to handle either,” adding: “I have to free my conscience.

“I have no problem admitting this is a new situation for me and I’m in one of those moments when you’re finding out many things. Bit by bit you do what you want to do. We all have to give a bit of ourselves, players included, for the good of the team. This is a team and it has to act as one.”

It may be facile, opportunistic, but a photo from Tuesday night brought that comment to mind once more, perhaps offering a portrait of where they are. During a drinks break, Atlético’s players are pictured gathered around Diego Simeone, as one. Barcelona’s are dispersed.

Some substitutes linger, others sit in the stands. Among them is Arthur, just sold to Juventus to save the board from a crisis of their own making on the eve of meeting Atlético, a game the president does not attend. One that starts with the league title at stake and ends with it virtually gone, each player going their own way at the full-time whistle.

Messi was the first off. The humiliation burning, Griezmann was the last. He had friends to talk to on the other team.

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Re: Football's Magic Money Tree

Post by GodIsADeeJay81 » Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:51 am

That's a great summarisation of the issues of Barca.

Note the part where it mentions someone having to step up to and halt the 'power' Messi seemingly has at Barca.

I couldn't begin to pick a manager to do such a thing.

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