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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

The Premiership


Wenger Hits Out At Tax Changes

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said that the era of foreign domination in the Premiership will 'soon be over' due to the declining value of the pound, which makes transfer fees more expensive, and the imposition in last week's Budget of a 50 per cent tax rate on high earners. All Premiership players fall into the £150,000-a-year bracket subject to the highest tax band and Wenger believes this will lead to an exodus of foreign players this month. They could end up paying an extra 16 per cent in tax when one takes account of the elimination of personal allowances for higher earners.

Parliamentary Group Backs Blatter Plan

Following a year-long investigation into the state of English football, the All Party Parliamentary Group is expected to back Sepp Blatter's plan for a 'six plus five' rule. This would require each team in the Premiership to field a minimum of six players eligible to play for England. The Premier League has dismissed the plan as unworkable and argued that it is incompatible between European law that protects freedom of movement for workers between member states.

Interest Payments Keep Manchester United in the Red

Manchester United set a record for a British football club for full year sales in the year to June 2008. Turnover was up sharply in its three main areas of activity. Matchday receipts rose by 10 per cent to £101.5m. Commercial income - sponsorship, merchandising and licensing agreements - rose by 14 per cent to £64m. The biggest increase was in TV revenue which, on the strength of United's Champions League truimph, surged 48 per cent to £90.7m. Even so, matchday revenue from the enlarged Old Trafford stadium makes a bigger contribution to turnover.

Easter Day Football Matches Kick Off Row

Holiday football matches used to follow a particular pattern. On Christmas Day a club would play a team, not necessarily in their own part of the country. However, there were Christmas Day trains in these days and on one occasion returning Charlton players won a drinking contest with the restaurant car staff. Hung over or not, the return fixture would be played the next day. On Good Friday and Easter Monday, this pattern would be repeated, but with a match on Easter Saturday in between! At least that was the case in London.

Liverpool FC's Commercial Problems

Liverpool FC may be on track for what their fans hope will be another Champions League triumph which would offset their less satisfying Premiership performance. However, in progressing as far as they have, they are punching above their weight financially. When it comes to money as compared with performance on the pitch, Real Madrid are way ahead of them with a financial Deloitte money list table topping annual revenue of £290m compared with £167m at Liverpool. That puts them seventh in the Deloitte European money league, a quarter-finalist's performance.

Sepp Blatter Forecasts Economic 'Tsunami'

Anyone who follows football is familiar with the agenda of Fifa president Sepp Blatter. He, like Michel Platini, resents the success of English clubs in the Champions League (even though both of them may deny it). He also does not like the involvement of big business in football. It is therefore no surprise that he should welcome the global financial crisis as an opportunity to return football to what he sees as its roots, although some of us are sceptical about whether the era of rule by local small businessmen who invested nothing in the team or the stadium was such a golden age.

The Scolari Sacking

Big Phil says goodbye with big cheque The expensive sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari as Chelsea manager shows just how important the Champions League has become to top Premiership clubs. It is not the iceing on the cake, it's a big slice of the cake in both financial and prestige terms. Chelsea have already made about £40m from the group stage this season and a return to the final would be worth that much again.

Premiership Money Bonanza

Forecasts that the Premiership bubble would burst in the credit crunch increasingly look premature, if not misplaced altogether. The Premier League has secured a record television deal that will be worth almost £1.8 billion over three years. The 5 per cent increase over the last deal will bolster finances of clubs until 2013 when the deal ends. By that time, even on the most pessimistic estimates, the recession should be over.

Liverpool Deal On The Cards

Once again the situation surrounding Liverpool Football Club is confused. Some reports are claiming that talks with a Kuwaiti family who want to buy into the club have broken down over the asking price and how big a stake they would have. However, this could simply be negotiating brinkmanship and does not mean that a deal will not be done. However, one earlier attempt to reach a deal did fail.

Man United Seek Shirt Sponsorship Deal

As expected, the troubled US insurance group AIG which has been bailed out by the US Government will not be renewing its shirt sponsorship deal with Manchester United that expires in May 2010. AIG agreed to pay £14 million a year for four years for the shirt sponsorship deal and also has a longer £5m a year deal to run MU Finance. AIG signed a six-and-a-half year deal at the beginning of 2008 to offer insurance, credit cards and mortgages using the MU Finance brand. It is not clear whether the MU Finance deal will continue.