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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

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Is it all about money?

There's a recurrent interest in statistics that can be used to predict team success and when they appear to show that how much a club spends in the best predictor, that appears to confirm conventional wisdom.

John Burn-Murdoch and Gavin Jackson have been writing a weekly series of articles in the Financial Times looking at sports statistics and what they tell us.   In their latest article they set out to replicate an analysis undertaken by Stefan Szymanski and Simon Kuper in their well-known book Soccernomics, but using contemporary data.

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.

Virgin calls for television rights probe

Virgin Media has called on the UK telecoms regulator Ofcom to launch a competion inquiry into the escalating cost of rights to broadcast Premier League football.  A new auction is due early next year and Virgin predicts a further 60 per cent hike in costs.

Lacking the financial firepower of BSkyB and BT, who jointly pay £1bn a year to screen the top matches, Virgin will not bid in the next Premier League rights auction.  

Portsmouth clear all debts

Portsmouth FC have now cleared all their debts following their exit from administration in April 2013.   The legacy debts amounted to £7m. The club is majority owned by the Portsmouth Supporters' Trust with thirteen presidents holding the balance of the shares.

The presidents have contributed £500,000 for ground improvements.   A supermarket is to be built on adjacent land which means that the whole site will have a neater appearance.   A new training ground is scheduled to open later in the year.

United may play friendlies in Middle East

Manchester United are considering playing midweek friendlies in the Middle East this winter to boost revenues.  It would also get the squad away from English winter weather for a few days.

With United out of the Champions League, they face a 10 per cent drop in revenues.  Following their exit from the Capital One Cup, they have a lack of midweek fixtures.

Tan may sell Cardiff City

Controversial Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan has told Sky News in an interview that he may sell the club if they get back to the Premiership.  He would then buy another Championship club and try to get them to the top flight.

Tan already has a club in Sarajevo, Bosnia in which he takes particular pride and hopes to buy a club in the United States.  At that rate he would soon have a network of clubs to rival Roland Duchatelet at Charlton.

Chelsea could play at Twickers

Chelsea have held preliminary conversations with the Rugby Football Union about playing for a season at Twickenham while Stamford Bridge is redeveloped.   If nothing else, it would be convenient for Chelsea players who favour living in Cobham.

Chelsea have long wanted to increase capacity at Stamford Bridge from 41,800 to 60,000 to rival the gate revenues of Arsenal and Manchester United, as well as providing more corporate facilities.   This would make it easier for them to comply with financial fair play regulations.

Kroenke fees cause controversy

The revelation in the latest Arsenal accounts that majority shareholder Stan Kroenke was paid £3 million in 'strategic and advisory fees' has caused controversy.   However, Arsene Wenger has brushed the comments aside, saying that everything the club does is legal and in any case it's a matter for the board.

Cain Hoy drop Spurs bid

US investment group Cain Hoy has droppes its potential bid for Tottenham Hotspur.  The group, backed by Guggenheim Capital, said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange yesterday that after preliminary work on the offer it has 'subsequently terminated its assessment and is consequently no longer making an offer for Tottenham.'

Stadium as cash cows

In its latest issue The Economist takes a look at the economics of stadiums in the UK and the US.  It points out that in the States clubs extract money from local officials, whereas the opposite is the case in the UK.

In the National Football League the number of teams is strictly restricted so clubs can threaten to leave if cities won't build or refurbish their stadia.   That is a blow to a city's prestige and profile and doesn't go down well with voters who support the team.