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Where is women's football going?

This article takes an in depth look at the state of women's football in England, including its history and a comparison with the fully professional league in the United States.

The Football Association aims to make it the second most popular sport in the UK.   There is quite a long way to go, certainly in terms of attendances.   They are comparable with those of non-league teams and, indeed, most matches are played in non-league stadiums.

United to boost commercial income

Manchester United are seeking to boost their already considerable commercial income, forecast to pass the £200m mark this year, by taking full advantage of their new kit contract with adidas.

The contract kicks in next summer and will guarantee United a minimum of £75m annually over the next ten years, three times the base value of the Nike arrangement.   Moreover, the club have negotiated a deal that will allow them to retain the licensing rights to all items apart from signature items such as replica kits and training gear.

A sponsor on your back?

Manchester United are interested in having sponsorship on the back of replica shirts.   At present it is allowed in the FA Cup but not in the Premiership.

However, the other Premier League clubs are opposed to the idea.   They think that there is a risk of diluting the impact of a club's main shirt sponsor.   They also do not want football players to look like Formula One drivers who often have sponsorship logos all over their kit.

Foreign games plan back on

The Premier League has revived plans to play matches overseas.  When the idea of a '39th game' was mooted six years ago, it encountered considerable resistance.   The acceptance of NFL and NBA games being played in London has helped to bring the idea back to the table.

Can Indonesian tycoon turn Inter around?

Inter Milan has had a difficult patch since winning the Champions League in 2010.  It has finished no higher than fifth in Serie A in the past three years and has fallen to 15th in the latest Football Money League from Deloitte.

Indonesian tycoon Erick Thohir now owns 70 per cent of the club (with business partner Handy Soetedjo) and is aiming to make it one of the top ten revenue earning clubs again and a contender in the Champions League.

Premier League fears brand damage from betting

The Premier League is becoming increasingly concerned about the possibility of damage to its brand from the activities of betting companies, in particular the growth of in-play betting which it fears may give rise to corruption.  Betting operators throw substantial resources at marketing and tv advertising during live games.

Manchester United pay price

The effects of poor performance (by their standards) on the pitch are being felt by Manchester United.   Revenue and profits are expected to fall in 2015 in the absence of Champions League income.  Even so, the club's revenues and earnings are still far in excess of Premier League rivals.

Big variation in kit sponsorship revenues

Sports Direct have produced an interesting set of graphics which show just how big the variation is in the value of Premier League kit sponsorships (although five clubs have managed to keep the details quiet).   They also provide information on European and international kit deals.

Finding a league sponsor

It's not so easy to find someone to sponsor a league, especially in the non-league system.   The returns are more diffuse than sponsoring a club.   Local businesses are often willing to support a non-league club.  One of their directors may also serve on the club board or their employees may play for the club.

Financial fair play scores own goal

We have long argued that financial fair play could have unintended and perverse consequences.  This view is supported by the latest authoritative annual survey of football by accountancy firm BDO.  The survey found that few clubs thought the rules were having the desired effect.