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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme


We have lift off Statesside

Leading football economics guru Stefan Szymanski, now working in the US, reckons that the vastly increased sum paid for Premier League television rights on the other side of the pond signals that soccer is about to take off big time there.   As he points out, the word 'soccer' was a word of English origin that was commonly used in the UK until the 1970s, in part to distinguish 'association' from 'rugby' football with just one word.

Big bucks for Premier League

The Premier League has confirmed its increasing value in global television markets by more than trebling its income from the United States following a $250 million deal (£156m) for English and Spanish lanuage rights with NBC Universal.   The Spanish language rights are particularly significant given that the growing Hispanic population is particularly keen on football for heritage reasons.

What is wrong with Arsenal?

To the fans of many lesser clubs this would seem to be the wrong question.   They would happily settle for a superb stadium, an outstanding coach, 4th place in the Premiership and the knockout stage of the Champions League.   Indeed, Arsene Wenger admitted last week that Champions League qualification was more important than winning trophies.

Italian football is crumbling rapidly

Andre Agnelli, the president of Juventus, has delivered a stark warning about the state of Italian football. Of course, it has been recognised for some time that Serie A has lost the status it once enjoyed alongside La Liga and the Premiership.  A series of corruption and match fixing scandals, the extent to which clubs are beholden to their 'ultras' and poor performances have all contributed to a sense of decline.

Kroenke and Arsenal fans at odds

The annual meeting of Arsenal got quite heated after a vigorous exchange of views between majority shareholder Stan Kroenke and the Arsenal Supporters' Trust which represents small shareholders.   Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis was forced to intervene to calm things down.

Kroenke, who owns about 67 per cent of the club, refused to give a long-term commitment that he would not take money out of the club through dividend payments.   He failed to give a direct answer, stating 'This club is run through the board,.  I have always been respectful of that.'

Good times in sight for Arsenal?

As Arsenal hold their annual meeting with calls for the club to spend some of their cash reserves on players, their chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, insists that good times are just around the corner.

Well, maybe, but it's a bit like chasing the elusive end of the rainbow.    Their strategy is built around the idea that their virtuous prudence will be rewarded when financial fair play kicks in and big spending clubs pay the penalty.

Commercial strategy boosts United

It has often been argued that the business model followed by the Glazers at Manchester United is doomed to failure.   However, Ed Woodward, the Glazers' London-based adviser, and in effect their representative on Earth, thinks that there is a case to be argued in their favour (as he would).

Adviser defends Glazers as United shares fall

Ed Woodward, Manchester United's vice-chairman and the man who engineered their listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has sprung to the defence of the Glazers as the club's shares continue to fall.  No surprise there, but it is the content of the defence that is interesting.

The mystery backers of Rangers

Rangers FC has partially disclosed information about the backers who rescued the club.  As is not unusual in modern football, they include trusts located in offshore financial havens.

The largest shareholder is Dubai businessman Arif Naqvi.   The chief executive of private equity firm Abraaj Capital, he owns 4 million of the 25.5 million shares through a vehicle called Blue Pitch Holdings.

On The Ball

The interface between football and the law is of increasing importance, but the complex issues that are raised can often be difficult for a non-lawyer to comprehend.   The latest issue of the authoritative On The Ball magazine contains articles on such topics as the latest Premier League broadcasting deal, financial fair play and the contested football creditors' rule.