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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

European Leagues

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Big blow for Barcelona

Fifa has slapped a 14-month transfer ban on Barcelona for breaking rules relating to the transfer of under-18 players that are designed to protect them from exploitation.   The Catalan club has also been fined, along with the Spanish football federation.

The club's squeaky clean image had already been damaged earlier in the year by allegations of tax evasion surrounding the transfer of Neymar.   The then president resigned, but his successor may now face demands for new presidential elections.

Top 30 French Football Clubs Ranked by Average Attendances 2013

A list of the top thirty French football clubs as ordered by average home attendances (domestic league matches only) for season 2012-13.

Paris Saint Germain retained their top spot, averaging 43,235 spectators per match. Lille OSC jumped into second position after moving into a new, 50,000 capacity stadium (Stade Pierre-Mauroy) and achieving an average turnout in Ligue 1 of 40,590 spectators per match. Olympique de Marseille slumped to third with a 33,475 average.

Top 30 Benelux Football Clubs Ranked by Average Match Attendance 2013

AFC Ajax headed the list of the top thirty football clubs in Belgium and the Netherlands as ranked by average match attendances (domestic league matches - number of spectators) in season 2012/13.

The top tier in Holland is called the Eredivisie and consists of 18 clubs. In season 2012/13 the average attendance was 19,620 and the championship was won by AFC Ajax (its 32nd championship).

Top 10 Portuguese Football Clubs by Average Attendance 2013

SL Benfica headed the list of top football clubs in Portugal, as ranked by average number of spectators at domestic league matches for season 2012/13.

The club owned by a state

Some of the most reflective and in depth football writing today is to be found in the Financial Times.  This is particularly the case when Simon Kuper writes one of his in depth pieces as he did in Saturday's Weekend Magazine that accompanies the Pink 'Un.   He took an in depth look at Paris Saint-Germain.

Roma to have €1bn 'Colosseum'

AS Roma, the first foreign-owned Italian club, are planning a new glass and steel stadium inspired by Rome's Colosseum, the world's largest ampitheatre.   The club does not currently own its ground, playing in the former national Olympic stadium which it shares with local rivals Lazio.

The rich get richer in European football

Critics of the Premier League get a boost when clubs from the English top flight fail to progress.  With the success of Manchester United yesteday evening, two of the eight clubs in the quarter finals are English.  David Conn must have been choking over his cornflakes.

Are feeder clubs the wave of the future?

Many Charlton fans were upset yesterday at the replacement of their popular manager Chris Powell by a Belgian coach, although in some cases that was tempered by the realisation that football remains a results business.

There was also resentment at the conversion of Charlton in what is perceived to be a feeder club for the Belgian Pro league leaders, Standard Liege. However, given the state of football finances and the difficulty of achieving success without a wealthy benefactor, could that be the way ahead for smaller clubs? Are Charlton ahead of the curve?

Bayern Munich tainted by association

We are always being told by David Conn and other advocates of transplanting the 'German model' into English football (and other aspects of UK life) that the Bundesliga and its clubs are in effect morally superior to those in the Premiership. They charge fans less, have more fan involvement and have managed to be both ethical and profitable.

Duchâtelet targets Italian club

Standard Liege and Charlton Athletic owner Roland Duchâtelet has been aiming to add an Italian club to his European network of clubs and it looks as if he might have found a suitable candidate in Serie B Bari, according to Belgian sources.

One time Serie A club Bari were run by the family business Matarrese for 37 years, but they can no longer cope with the club's debts. These are said to amount to €30m and the club is on the verge of bankruptcy.

There have been no new developments in relation to the Belgian microelectronics millionaire's efforts to buy a Portuguese club.