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European Leagues

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Champions league money boost

Premier League clubs are already desperate to secure one of the Champions League places, for the prestige as much as for the additional income.  For Liverpool it could make the difference between a season that is viewed as successful and one that is not.

The financial rewards are going to increase considerably next season.  Appearance money from the group stage is going to increase by 50 per cent.

Financial fair play boosts the super clubs

Policy analysts know that one of the many causes of governance failure is that policies can have unintended effects.   So it has proved with Uefa's Financial Fair Play (FFP) scheme.

It has boosted the super clubs that form Europe's elite which is why they did not oppose the measure.  It is now more difficult for a benefactor to boost a club just outside the top level like Manchester City or Paris Saint Germain.   They have been penalised under the FFP regulations for daring to break into the cartel.

Could the Premier League lose a Champions League spot?

Winning a place in the Champions League is the real prize in the Premier League these days.  With Chelsea seemingly champions-elect, all the focus is on which teams will be able to qualify.  

The Europa League is not a consolation prize, but more of a punishment.   It involves a gruelling season of long trips to little known teams in obscure countries.   It has probably held Everton back this season. Southampton fans I know are dreading a trip to Kazakhstan.

What the Premiership is all about

The exit of Chelsea from the Champions League, and the poor prospects of Arsenal and Manchester City, provides another peg on which critics of the Premier League can hang one of their eloquent denunciations.  West Ham's income is poised to pass that of Inter Milan, but still Premier League teams under perform on the European stage.

David Conn and writers like him have a case to make, but sometimes I think they miss the point of the Premier League.   It is as much about creating a televised entertainment spectacle for global consumption as it is about football.

Players to wear embedded cameras

Spain's FirstVision has created a shirt to be worn by players with an embedded camera at chest level to provide broadcast standard video.   The device has been tested by players in training sessions at Barcelona and by officials in a match between Barcelona and Real Madrid.   The content was distributed by 150 broadcasters.

Points deduction for not sorting out finances

The Dutch football authorities have deduced FC Twente three points for failing to make progress on required financial reforms.

One wonders if this could be used more widely given that fines are not a big constraint for wealthy clubs and even transfer embargoes or squad restrictions have their limitations.   It could, of course, only be applied at a domestic level.

Greek government backs down on football ban

The new left-wing Greek Government has had to compromise in its negotiations with the European Union and now it has had to back down on a proposed indefinite ban on football in the Greek Super League.  Governing party Syriza is facing internal tensions over its deal with the EU and could not expend political capital stopping the country's favourite sport.  There will now be just a ban on this weekend's Super League Matches.

The sad tale of Parma FC

Recently I was one of the examiners for a PhD thesis on cheese.   One of the other examiners was Italian and there was a big debate about the quality of different types of Parmesan cheese.   There are real cheese wars going on between 'New World' and 'Old World' countries and it's a major source of conflict in international trade negotiations, not least over what can be sold as 'Parmesan' cheese.

The strange tale of the club on top of a car park

As far as I know, only one European club has its stadium built on top of a car park: Monaco's Stade Louise. Of course, space is at a premium in the densely populated principality with its very rich inhabitants.   The principality's royal family is an endless source of fascination for celebrity magazines.   If it was a Hollwyood film, you would think it was pure fiction.  

Barcelona in best economic position in history

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeou has claimed in an interview with the Financial Times weekend magazine that Barcelona are in the best economic position in their history.   Annual revenues have tripled in a decade to €530m.   Only Real Madrid does better with €604m.

Barca probably have the lowest average ticket prices of any of the top 15 clubs in Europe.  However, after eschewing commercial shirt sponsorships for many years, it is now highly reliant on the €30m a year it gets from its Qatari shirt sponsor.