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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Internationals

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Free to air international matches cut back

It looks as is free to air broadcasting of international matches may be undermined with Sky poised to secure the rights for the new Uefa Nations League.   The new competition is set to launch in 2018.

It will divide national teams into leagues and will replace most friendly matches.   It is intended to tackle declining interest in international football outside of the major competitions.

Rebranding Belgium

This post is an interesting piece of analysis on how the Belgium national team reconnected with its disilluisoned fans.   Part of the process was a 'rebranding' which involved a new red devils logo.

Of course, having a group of exciting and talented players that helped Belgium finish top of their European qualification group also helped.

FA refinances Wembley Stadium

The Football Association has agreed a £300m loan facility with three leading banks enabling it to refinance Wembley Stadium.   The loan will give the FA more flexibility and enable it to reduce interest payments.

Sponsors could hold key to Fifa crisis

Commercial sponsors could hold the key to the outcome of the crisis at Fifa.   MacDonalds and adidas, two of the headline sponsors for the 2018 World Cup, expressed grave concern at the fresh wave of allegations of systematic corruption within Fifa.

However, the strongest line has taken by Visa.   Any company involved in financial services has a particular interest in not being tainted by allegations of corruption.

In a statement, Visa said: 

Gibraltar's stadium dilemma

Gibraltar's international team scored their first goal in an international competition against Scotland yesterday.   A policeman scored the goal.

Gibraltar is the fifth oldest football association in the world, founded in 1895. They have more than 2,600 registered players, 8 per cent of the national population. There is an artificial surface at the 2,400 capacity Victoria Stadium, which hosts all games in the national league (two divisions plus reserves), plus youth matches and training sessions.

Russian World Cup stadium behind schedule

There is nothing unusual in new sports stadiums behind schedule and over budget.   However, the Zenit Arena which is being built in St. Petersburg for the 2018 World Cup in Russia appears to be in a class of its own.  It is seven years behind schedule and the cost is likely to be at least €1bn compared with an original estimate of €190m.

Russian World Cup stadium behind schedule

There is nothing unusual in new sports stadiums behind schedule and over budget.   However, the Zenit Arena which is being built for the 2018 World Cup in Russia appears to be in a class of its own.  It is seven years behind schedule and the cost is likely to be at least €1bn compared with an original estimate of €190m.

Blatter to stand again

It's no great surprise to hear that Sepp Blatter is to stand again as President of Fifa.  Nevertheless, football fans broke open the champagne  and danced in the streets as they heard that their hero would be continuing his blend of high quality decision-making with being a scourge against corruption in the world governing body.   Without Blatter we may never have got the 2022 World Cup in Qatar!

Football economy in China

A couple of weeks ago I was in Beijing. Although growth may have slowed somewhat, and there are some problems in the financial system, not least in terms of local government debt, it remains a vibrant and dynamic economy. Indeed, if you take away the language and the cuisine, Beijing could be a large American city.

We therefore welcome this contributed article by Thibaud Andre.

Real time betting is changing football broadcasting

Online bookmakers are increasingly becoming sports broadcasters.   For example, today many of the top online bookmakers will be streaming the United States versus the Czech Republic.  The idea is to facilitate real time betting.

One of the main beneficiaries of this trend is a company called Perform.   It does not have a very high profile, but was something of a stock market favourite before the shares slumped from almost 600p in 2013 to around 210p recently.