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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

European Leagues

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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).

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.

Uefa investigating 76 clubs under financial fair play

UEFA is investigating 76 unidentified Champions League and Europa League clubs for potentially breaking the Financial Fair Play rules designed to curb excessive spending. Chelsea are thought not to be under investigation, but Manchester City are.

The first sanctions against clubs will be announced in April, UEFA announced today. Clubs involved in more serious cases will also be identified then, with UEFA setting a June deadline to publish verdicts ahead of the qualifying round draws for next season's competitions.

Barcelona deny tax irregularities

Barcelona have denied any tax irregularities in relation to the signing of Neymar. However, in order to safeguard their reputation, they have made a tax declaration of just over €13.5m (£11.1m). However, they insist that the original tax payment was in line with their obligations.

Charlton owner may sell his Belgian club

Often reliable Belgian newspaper Le Soir is reporting that the owner of Standard Liège Roland Duchâtelet may sell the current leaders of the Belgian Juliper Pro League, ten points clear of their nearest rival. The offer is believed to be around €50m with the money already paid into the Rothschild Bank. However, Roland is understood to be holding out for €60m.

The owner has a family of six European football clubs in ownership either directly or indirectly. However, the Walloon club is regarded as the mother ship with other clubs performing a player development role.