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French Ligue 1

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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).

PSG dominate French football

Paris Saint-Germain have a 24 point lead at the top of Ligue 1.  They remain unbeaten this season and they are almost certain to win the French title with more points that any other team in history.

It is now five years since the Qatar Investment Authority bought PSG, a deal that many belive was arranged by Nicolas Sarkozy, then the French president, and a PSG fan.   They were catapulted to the status of a super power in European football.

French football 'heading for cemetery'

With its finances in an ever worsening state, French football is heading 'straight for the cemetery' according to Montpellier coach Rolland Courbis.   A better television deal has been secured, but it is still dwarfed by what the Premier League obtains.

Manchester City freed of FFP penalties

Manchester City have had the penalties imposed on them for breach of Uefa's financial fair play rules lifted.   They have been subject to limits on transfer spending and Champions League squad size.  Paris Saint-Germain have also had their sanctions removed.

City were also fined £49m spread over three years, but only the first £16.3m has had to be paid,

Relegation penalty for Ligue 1 side?

Corscian Ligue 1 side Bastia could be relegated for financial irregularities.  The €1.2m they owe doesn't seem to be a lot by modern standards, and they hope they could cover it by selling some of their best players.   However, the French authorities seem to be taking a 'rules is rules' stance.

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.  

The travails of Lens

RC Lens are facing difficult times.  Such are their problems that they could be expelled from the professional leagues altogether.

Last season they were denied promotion from Ligue 2 to Ligue 1 because of financial irregularities.  The decision was overturned on appeal, but they are having to deal with Ligue 1 with a squad assembled for Ligue 2.   They are also having to play away from their stadium while it is renovated for Euro 2016.

Will fall in oil price hit top clubs?

Will the fall in oil price lead to tightened budgets at top clubs whose owners derive much of their wealth and income from oil?   Among the clubs that could potentially be affected are Chelsea, Manchester City, Paris Saint Germain and Malaga.

Uefa urged not to penalise wealthy benefactors

Uefa have been urged by Manchester City not to penalise wealthy benefactors under their financial fair play (FFP) rules.   The meeting with Uefa president Michel Platini was also attended by Paris Saint Germain who, along with City, have received the heaviest penalties so far under the FFP rules.