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The Premiership

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Britain Defeats French Threat To Premiership

Britain has fought off an attempt by France to use its rotating presidency of the European Union to impose a French-style regulatory system on British clubs. The real target was the English Premiership and the prime mover was not French president Nicolas Sarkozy or even sports minister Bernard Laporte but Uefa president Michel Platini who has made no secret of his hostility towards English football. The French plan was to establish a supranational body modelled on the French regulator, the Direction Nationale du Controle de Gestion (DCNG).

Liverpool Could Be Forced To Sell Players

Keith Harris, the chairman of investment bank Seymour Pierce, and a key intermediary in football takeovers, believes that the American owners of Liverpool could be forced to sell leading players if they are unable to pay off the club's £350m debt. Although George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks have an option to extend the 25 January deadline for repaying the loan by six months, it is far from certain that an extension will be granted.

Abramovich Really Is A Chelsea Fan

Roman Abramovich really is a Chelsea fan - and we have a 134-page ruling from Mr Justice Christopher Clarke to prove it. The ruling, dealing with a Siberian oil dispute, reveals a great deal of information about Abramovich's lifestyle. It emerged that as much as 92 per cent of the time he spent in England in any given year was specifically connected with Chelsea matches, rather than any personal or professional ties. Mr Justice Clarke rules that the club, on which he has lavished around £500m, was a 'hobby and a leisure interest'. 'It is not a business investment,' the judge determined.

Spurs Go For New Stadium

Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed their intention to build a new 60,000-capacity stadium near their current White Hart Lane ground. The Northumberland Development Project will be a large-scale development including leisure facilities, public space and housing as well as the new stadium. The scheme includes the current site and adjoining land with the stadium largely sited to the north of the existing one.

Figures Don't Add Up At Liverpool FC

Liverpool FC fans will be celebrating today's victory at Chelsea. The club has had its best start to its Premiership campaign for many years. The red half of Merseyside can realistically talk about securing the Premiership title. Off the pitch, things are less rosy. Of course, what with a holding company in Delaware (the state with a reputation for business friendly rules) and a Cayman Islands tax haven link, the corporate arrangements of the current owners would not win a prize for transparency.

Chelsea Aim To Reduce Reliance On Benefactor

Chelsea's chief executive believes that the club will be less dependent on Roman Abramovich next year. The plan is to gradually let go of the lifeline provided by their Russian owner, although how these good intentions work out remains to be seen. However, no money will be made available in the January transfer window for big new signings unless there is a real emergency on the pitch. Plans to move away from the cramped ground at Stamford Bridge have also been put on hold, even though a larger stadium would generate more gate money on the Old Trafford model.

Two Tier Premiership Idea Revived

The idea of a two tier Premiership has been revived by Bolton chairman Phil Gartside. He proposes two divisions of 18 teams each, but controversially no promotion or relegation from the Football League, an arrangement that is usual in American sporting competitions. He argues that smaller leagues would solve the problem of the winter break and the England team. Given Bolton's situation, his views may not be entirely disinterested.

Premiership's Most Costly Bench Warmers

The Premiership's most costly bench-warmers have been revealed in a new list published by football website IMScouting.com. Heading the league is West Ham's injury-prone Kieron Dyer, who having played no more than two Premiership games since August 2007 has cost the Hammers an estimated £1.1m per game. He is closely followed by Manchester United's Gary Neville, who is only now returning to long-term action following a succession of long-term injuries.

Premiership Faces Political Challenge

The Premiership faces perhaps its biggest ever political challenge from what is in effect a combined front of the new culture secretary, Andy Burnham and FA chairman Lord Triesman. Everton supporter Burnham has been tipped as a possible future Labour leader and responding to the concerns expressed by some football fans should do him no political harm.

The Financial 'Meltdown' and Football

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has talked this weekend of a 'meltdown' in the world's financial system which could lead to a further 20 per cent being wiped off stock exchange values. We don't claim to be economic forecasters on this page, but one of the difficulties with statements of this kind is the so-called 'Oedipus effect': making the prediction increases the chances of it occurring. Some of the commentary in recent days has come from people whose agenda is the failure of the Premiership.