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French Ligue 1

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Premier League have another super club to contend with

Premier League clubs have long been frustrated at their lack of success in the Champions League, falling foul of the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid, Bayern Munich etc.  Now they have another super club to contend with in the shape of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).   Up to now there has been a tendency to dismiss what has been happening in France and it has to be admitted that the league as a whole is not that strong.

Football has become more superstar-centric

Commenting on the Neymar transfer, soccer economics guru Stefan Szymanski has said that it shows how a team sport has moved towards a superstar-centric model.

He told the Financial Times, 'If you think how football was 30 years ago, the overwhelming majority of a team's money came from the local fan base.   The difference today is the global reach of teams, through all forms of media, so that the revenue generating potential comes from global celebrities like Neymar, Messi and Ronaldo.'

Neymar and financial fair play

Sports lawyer Daniel Geey discusses how the signing of Neymar by Paris Saint-Germain relates to financial fair play (FFP) rules.

The FFP rules were revised in 2015, so clubs must show that they do not have losses of more than €30m over a three year period, although spending on stadiums and youth development are exempted.  Javier Tebas, La Liga president, believes the Neymar deal would breach FFP.

The story behind the Neymar transfer

It is very unusual for a football transfer story to make the front page of the Financial Times, but that applies to Neymar's transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain at a total cost of £415m. It is more than twice the sum Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba last summer and two and a half times that paid to United by Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo

Neymar on par with Messi in salary stakes

Paris Saint-Germain are expected to formalise their bid to sign Neymar in a deal worth more than £500m this week.   It would place him on a par with Lionel Messi as the best paid footballer on an annual salary of £55m.   Neymar's father should be able to take eight figure commissions on the transaction.

AS Monaco's dilemma

AS Monaco face a difficult financial balancing act.   In 2014-15, the club made €117m, less than a third of Paris Saint-Germain's total for the same campaign.  With little match-day and commercial revenue, they are very reliant on Champions League qualification.    They can make €2m from a Champions League game.  This means remaining competitive on the pitch while seeking to maximise profits in the transfer market, a difficult balancing act.

Premiership clubs make profit in transfer window

Premier League clubs made a net profit of £4m in the transfer window compared with a loss of £109m last year, according to figures from the Premier League. This January's transfer window saw the biggest spend ever of £237m, compared with £178m last year. Sales amounted to £241m.

According to figures from Deloitte Sports Business, the gross spend by Premier League clubs in the 2016/17 season totals £1.4 billion, surpassing the previous record of £1 billion by more than a third.

French football row erupts again

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has renewed his criticisms of the finances of Paris Saint-Germain, earning himself a public rebuke for denigrating another club.

Warning signs of insolvency

Soccer economics guru Stefan Szymaski has been undertaking work on insolvency in football clubs.  In particular, he has been taking a look at the French leagues where a stringent regulatory system has been praised by the international football authorities.   However, it does not seem to make much difference in the incidence of insolvency compared with the English leagues.

What does seem to be a warning sign is if attendances fall away over a few years below what might be expected from league position.

The petrodollar derby

Tonight's Champions League game between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain is more than a clash between teams representing two major European cities.   It is also has a geopolitical dimension, built around Arab oil wealth.   It is Qatar versus Abu Dhabi, the al-Thani family versus the al-Nahyan family.

Dr Christopher Davison, a reader in Middle East Politics at Durham University, has described the acquisitions of City and PSG as part of 'soft power' strategies ('hard power' is generally associated with military might).