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"If you want some accessible but informative insight into football then I suggest you couldn't do better than the Political Economy of Football website, which is not only intelligible but comes with the added bonus of being written by Addicks fan Wyn Grant."
Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

European Leagues

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Keeping up with Europe's elite

In his latest piece of analysis the author of the Swiss Ramble blog turns his attention to Borussia Dortmund. Their experience demonstrates the challenge of keeping in touch on and off the pitch with Europe's top clubs.

Dutch clubs struggle to compete

Dutch clubs are finding it increasingly difficult to compete even with the English championship in the transfer market.   Clubs like Ajax were at one time among Europe's leaders.

Many clubs in the Championship are willing to splash out in the hope of gaining promotion to the Premier League and new owners are willing to fund the expenditure.

Champions League changes a price worth paying

Arsene Wenger thinks that changes to the Champions League that will stop Arsenal and other Premier League clubs receiving as much money as they have in the past from the competition is a price worth paying to stop a breakaway league.

Real Madrid and Juventus are thought to have been the driving forces behind the changes.   As part of China's project to secure a dominant position in world football, a Chinese conglomerate is trying to set up a rival competition.

Spanish football boss backs Chinese Champions League rival

The head of Spain's La Liga has come out in support of plans by China's richest man to launch a rival to the Champions League.  Dalian Wanda Group, the property and entertainment conglomerate run by billionaire Wang Jialin, wants to create a tournament for Europe's top clubs.  Javier Tebas said there was a 'greater opportunity to generate more revenue' under the breakaway plans.

City could lose out on Champions League money

Manchester City were the biggest earners of any club in the Champions League last season, collecting about £63m in television and performance money, despite losing to Real Madrid in the semi-finals. However, rule changes agreed by Uefa and the European Clubs Association (ECA) could benefit the red side of Manchester.

French football row erupts again

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has renewed his criticisms of the finances of Paris Saint-Germain, earning himself a public rebuke for denigrating another club.

The story behind the £1 billion headline

Media attention has focused on the fact that the 2016 summer transfer window was the first in which over £1 billion was spent (£1,071.5m in total), but it has to be remembered that this is a gross figure. The net figure was £612.9m, still very substantial.  For example, in summer 2014 the net figure was £374m.

Power grab by top European clubs

Uefa will guarantee more places for clubs from Europe's top football leagues in the Champions League, in a power shift towards the wealthiest teams.  The move, which follows threats from rich clubs to create a breakaway competition, will ensure more places for teams from Europe's largest television markets, but to the detriment of smaller nations.

The match fixing problem

The immense growth in football betting in recent decades has increased the incentives for criminals to attempt to engage in match fixing and sometimes they find players who are willing to take part.  It's a long way from the days of people filling in the football 'coupon' and hoping to find instant riches.

According to Swiss outfit Sportsradar something like €375 billion of bets are placed each year on football matches.   Their fraud detection unit thinks that about one per cent of matches have been rigged.

Chinese group buys AC Milan

The Chinese long march into European football continues with the acqusition of AC Milan from Silvio Berlusconi by a state-backed Chinese group.   Finnvest, the holding company controlled by Mr Berlusconi, has stated that it has signed a preliminary contract with a group of Chinese investors for a 99.93 per cent stake in AC Milan that valued the club at €740m including debts of €220m.