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Football Governance

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Is it really financial fair play?

The recent Deloitte annual Money League report shows how important the commercial segment of the revenue of top clubs is becoming. An average of 41 per cent of the revenues generated by the top 20 clubs came from commercial sources.

Match day sales now account for only a fifth of revenues. At AC Milan, it is as low as one tenth. Even broadcast revenues are now behind commercial revenues, their share falling from 42 per cent to 37 per cent.

The managerial sacking epidemic

23 managers have been fired in England since the beginning of the season. As many of half of England's 92 league clubs have had a manager who has been in position for less than a year.

Despite some prominent exceptions, it is not a managerial merry go round in which managers leave one club and quickly find a berth at another one. 55 per cent of first-time managers never manage again (although some of these may not have been suited to the job). Only 36 per cent of those sacked last season are back in work. It takes an average of 1.63 years for a manager to find another job.

What will happen with financial fair play?

Sports lawyer Daniel Geey looks at recent financial fair play cases, with particular reference to the case of Malaga, to try and establish what sanctions clubs might face for breaking the guidelines.  As is often the case with legal matters, it seems that more case law is needed to come to any definite conclusions.

Rangers board sees off challenge

As anticipated, the Rangers board has seen off a challenge by rebel shareholders. The board defeated attempts by a group of shareholders led by former chairman Malcolm Murray to gain seats, with a comfortable majority.

About 1,800 shareholders greeted the club's board with chants of 'out, out, out' at the AGM which was held on a specially constructed stage at Ibrox stadium.

About a third of shareholders voted against the reappointment of finance director Brian Stockbridge - the only remaining director of the club's original board. His long-term future remains unclear, however.

The business case for fan engagement

Is there a business case to be made for better fan engagement in top flight football? It’s often said that any club owner is only really a temporary custodian. Owners, directors, managers and players are transient, only the fans are there throughout the good times and the bad.

But is there a case to be made that improving a club’s engagement with the fans will have a positive impact on the bottom line for the hard headed businessmen who own football clubs?

Hull name change bid submitted

The Football Association have received a formal request from the owners of Hull City AFC to change the club’s name from next season. If approved, the club will be rebranded Hull Tigers in a bid to make the Premier League club appeal to a wider international audience.

Owner, Dr Assam Allam announced in August that the business that runs the club had already been changed to Hull City Tigers but any attempt to change the club's name must be approved by an FA council.

The change has displeased the club’s fans who set up City Till We Die to represent various fans' groups and websites.

Roundness rules hit traditional football stitchers

Fifa rules on the roundness of balls have hit the traditional football producing industry in Pakistan. Ten years ago the city of Sialkot produced 85 per cent of the world's footballs employing 100,000 people as stitchers. Production has collapsed from over 40 million balls in 2007 to 22 million this year, while the workforce has shrunk to barely 10,000.

Why did big investors take stakes in Rangers?

Football clubs are not generally seen as good investments. They don't usually pay dividends and the chances of making gains through capital appreciation are not good with a few rare exceptions. The Glazers might bring it off with Manchester United, given that the money for the purchase was largely borrowed.

The main motivation for investment, usually involving foreign buyers, is for a trophy investment which brings with it prestige, an enhanced profile or political insurance.

Supporters criticise Newcastle press ban

Newcastle United Supporters Trust have reacted strongly to the banning of leading local newspapers by the club after their coverage of a protest march. It is clear that they are unhappy with the way in which Mike Ashley is running the club.

Should feeder clubs be allowed?

The Football Supporters' Federation have opposed this idea which has been raised again recently. They state, 'We know the answer to that one. Back in January 2012 we polled our members on this very subject after Andre Villas-Boas made a similar suggestion while Chelsea manager.'

'86% said they opposed the idea of top-flight clubs buying feeder sides. If top-flight clubs tried to force this idea through, and it stinks of self-interest, the backlash would be huge.'