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Football Finance


Will The Credit Crunch Hit Transfer Spending?

Spending in the January transfer window has soared in recent years from £33m in 2003 to £175m last year. However, will it fall this year against the background of the credit crunch? For example, Manchester United plans to limit its spending to around £15m. There will also be fewer bargains from abroad. Sterling's fall means that players from the European continent are 20 per cent more expensive this January than they were last. Football League chairman Lord Mawhinney has warned, 'Things look calm now, but the crunch comes in the run-up to next season.

Smith Wants Rangers Out Of Scotland

Glasgow Rangers manager Walter Smith has revealed that the club would be prepared to field a 'B' team to fulfill their Scottish League obligations in order to bridge the gap with Europe's elite clubs. The Rangers manager has floated the idea of an updated version of the Atlantic League, an idea unsuccessfully advanced in the late 1990s by the continent's geographically handicapped. He foresees a new European league made up of the top sides in Holland, Belgium, Scandinavia and Scotland, running in parallel with the domestic divisions and providing entry to the Champions League.

Conference Clubs In Tax Trouble

At least nine Conference clubs have tax bills threatening their existence. A higher number of clubs than expected from the Blue Square Premier, North and South have fallen foul of the stringent quarterly checks after the summer launch of the Financial Reporting initiative. This was set up by the Conference and the FA to monitor the returns of clubs to HM Revenue and Customs. Conference chairman Brian Lee said, 'Part of the problem is that football is an incomparable industry.

Real Madrid Tops Money League

Deloitte's annual Football Money League, which analyses revenues in the 2007-8 season, shows Real Madrid, Manchester United and Barcelona retaining their top three positions. Manchester United saw revenue increase by 21 per cent and only the depreciation of sterling against the euro prevented it from coming top. Overall attendances for the top 20 clubs are slightly up in the first four months of the season compared with the same period last year. Seven of the clubs in the top 20 are English, four are from Italy and the same number are from Germany with two each from Spain and France.

Bigger Hit For Scottish Football From Credit Crunch

Many of those involved in Scottish football think that it will take a bigger hit from the credit crunch than the game south of the border. Charles Barnett, the author of PFK's annual report on football club finances, thinks that with the exception of Celtic and Rangers, crowds will suffer. 'The Old Firm have sold out their stadia through season ticket sales,' he said. 'It doesn't affect them so much. It will impact more on the clubs who rely on ticket sales.' St.

Credit Crunch Starts To Hit Matchday Revenues

The standard assumption in the sports economics literature is that demand for tickets at top flight clubs in any sport is relatively inelastic, i.e., relatively unaffected by changes in (real) prices. That may apply in normal economic conditions, but we are now in what is probably the worst economic downturn since the 1930s and football cannot escape unscathed - although that does not mean that the most doom-laden predictions will be fulfilled. Some of the effects have been masked by the fact that season tickets were bought last summer before the economic crisis hit home.

Liverpool Could Be Forced To Sell Players

Keith Harris, the chairman of investment bank Seymour Pierce, and a key intermediary in football takeovers, believes that the American owners of Liverpool could be forced to sell leading players if they are unable to pay off the club's £350m debt. Although George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks have an option to extend the 25 January deadline for repaying the loan by six months, it is far from certain that an extension will be granted.

Promoted Teams Need Careful Business Strategies

Getting promoted to the Premiership can seem like a bonanza, but getting relegated can bring a cold dose of reality. Once the parachute payments run out, life becomes very difficult, as clubs like Leicester and Southampton have found. Recently we reported in depth on the prudent strategy being followed by Hull City. But what of the other two newly promoted teams? For Stoke City it's a long awaited return to the top flight, but West Bromwich Albion have the reputation of being a yo-yo team.

Intermediary Says There Will Be More Gulf Sales

Amanda Staveley has emerged as a key figure in major deals with Britain and the Gulf States, recently facilitating the purchase of a 16 per cent stake in Barclays Bank for Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. That deal follows the sheikh's £210m purchase in September of Manchester City by means of Abu Dhabi United Group. Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, still harbours hopes she can purchase Liverpool for him.

Figures Don't Add Up At Liverpool FC

Liverpool FC fans will be celebrating today's victory at Chelsea. The club has had its best start to its Premiership campaign for many years. The red half of Merseyside can realistically talk about securing the Premiership title. Off the pitch, things are less rosy. Of course, what with a holding company in Delaware (the state with a reputation for business friendly rules) and a Cayman Islands tax haven link, the corporate arrangements of the current owners would not win a prize for transparency.