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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

The Premiership

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China cracks down on foreign players

China has cut the number of foreign players allowed to play in each football match from four to three per team, although five will be allowed in the match day squad (one has to be Asian).   There will also have to be one Chinese player under 23 on the pitch.

What will mayor decide about Chelsea stadium plans?

Chelsea have received planning permission from Hammersmith and Fulham council to build a new 60,000 seater stadium on the site of Stamford Bridge.  However, the plans for the £500m project must be signed off by London mayor Sadiq Khan.

He has 14 days to respond once the plan is sent on to him by Hammersmith Council.  He can accept the application, reject it or hold a short public inquiry which he would chair himself.   There are indications that his advisers think that the proposal is insufficiently 'green''.

Super club status a mixed blessing for City

Manchester City have been named as one of nine European super clubs by Uefa.  While the recognition is welcome, it could store up problems for the future.   Uefa may decide to target these clubs with new financial fair play (FFP) measures.  

Jezza targets footballers' pay

As part of his campaign to cap high pay in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn has specifically targeted footballers' pay.  This is, of course, good populist politics.

New hope for Everton

If you look at today's Premier League table there are the top six clubs (three from London, two from Manchester, one from Merseyside) and then nine points behind the last of the top six can be found Everton.  Given their history, Everton fans feel that they also qualify as a top club.

Farhad Moshiri has a 49.9 per cent stake in the club and he has made them a £80m interest free loan. He has vowed to return them to the elite of English football.

Record attendances

Gate money is less and less important to top clubs compared with broadcasting revenue and income from commercial sponsorship.   That is not to say that it is insgnificant, otherwise clubs would not bother spending large sums of money to expand their stadiums (although there is a prestige element there as well).   Gate money can give clubs a financial edge.

Some of the highest matchday ticket price are now to be found in the Championship.  Rotherham United fans had to pay £42 for the privilege of seeing their side beaten 3-0 by Leeds United yesterday.

Mascotgate

The Football Association is to take no action against Watford mascot Harry the Hornet who executed a mocking dive in front of Crystal Palace's Wilfrid Zaha.   Palace manager Sam Allardyce,already aggrieved that Zaha had been booked for simulation, complained that the mascot was 'out of order'.

In fact there have been far worse incidents involving mascots.   Robbie the Bobby from Bury was sent off three times in 2001, twice for mooning at opposition fans and once for pulling the ears off the rabbit mascot of Peterborough United.

Oscar sale could suggest weakness rather than strength

The sale of Oscar to Shanghai SIPG represents good business for Chelsea given what seems to be an inflated price, but it has led to fears that it could result in a more general exodus of Premier League players.   It might also seem to suggest a growing role for China in world football.

It's a results business

That's what we're always told and Crystal Palace had the poorest points to game ratio of any club in the four top divisions in 2016.   Alan Pardew has looked like a dead man walking for some time, saved only by his good relationship with chairman Steve Parrish.

However, Palace's American owners decided that they could not afford to be relegated and it looks like survival specialist Sam Allardyce will be brought in to grind out results.   It was mainly defensive weaknesses, especially from set pieces, that have let Palace down with Pardew favouring 'expansive' football.

There's no money left admits Sunderland boss

Sunderland's chief executive has admitted that there will be little money to spend in the January transfer window because of losses and financial fair play rules.   However, the club are not running up the relegation white flag as they propose to hold on to their key players (who might then have to go in a summer fire sale).