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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

The Premiership


Liverpool FC sale rumours denied

According to reports appearing this morning, just three years since being bought by American billionaire John Henry and the Fenway Sports Group (SG), Liverpool FC are being put up for sale again.

The club has now said that the reports have no basis in fact. A spokesman for FSG said: 'Like so many rumours in the past about a sale of Liverpool Football Club, there is absolutely no truth in this. We have had no meetings with anyone about a sale, we don't know who the source of the rumour is, and any suggestion of a sale is fabrication.'

Premier League clampdown on pubs

The Premier League is clamping down on pubs and clubs that show unauthorised live games on Saturday afternoons.   It is a hired a firm of corporate investigators from Glasgow to carry out spot checks. Last week the Premiership won a High Court action to require the six leading Internet Service Providers in the UK to block First Row Sports, the leading provider of unauthorised streaming.

The ethics of football club sponsorship

How concerned should football clubs be about the ethics of the companies on their shirts?  It's an issue that has caused some controversy at Newcastle United who are sponsored by payday loan company Wonga.   This blog post attempts to rank Premier League clubs in terms of the ethics of the firms that sponsor them.

Cardiff City AFC close to being debt free

Cardiff City AFC owner Vincent Tan says he is 'days away' from an agreement with creditors Langston which would result in the club becoming debt-free. The debt to Langston - whose spokesman is former Cardiff City owner Sam Hammam - was taken out in 2004, and is thought to be about £24m.

However, tensions remain between Tan and some fans over the change of the Bluebirds' colours to red. Tan asked fans not to be 'negative and disruptive'.

Real Madrid overtakes Manchester United in money stakes

According to Forbes, Real Madrid is now the world’s most valuable sports franchise, worth $3.3 billion, surpassing former No. 1 Manchester United. Los Blancos have the highest revenues of any team in sports ($650 million during the 2011-12 season), and revenues are up 62% over the last three years. Madrid’s operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and player trading) of $134 million is second only to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys among sports teams.

Manchester United will pay whatever it takes

David Moyes has been told there are no limits on what he can spend on any individual transfer at Manchester United.   New chief executive Ed Woodward told the Sunday Times, 'We haven't got money burning a hole in our pocket but we have a strategy on player purchases and if David wants to go after a stellar player, he can do that.'

Is there a gradual US takeover of English football?

The acquisition of Fulham by a Pakistan-born 'rags to riches' American businessman allows David Conn of The Guardian to engage in another bout of hang wringing about the state of the English game.  As usual, it's very well written and superficially persuasive.   Conn is able to end with his usual point that it wouldn't happen in Germany and life is better in the Bundesliga.

Fulham FC sold

A spokesman for the owner of the NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars, Shad Khan, has told the Associated Press that he has bought Premier League side Fulham from Mohamed Al Fayed.

Khan paid £600m for the Jacksonville franchise, so the £150m (or £200m in some accounts) reported asking price for Fulham is small beer by comparison. The Pakistani businessman made his money selling car parts. He is reportedly worth £1.7 to £2 billion which should provide a good war chest for Fulham.

United embrace social media

Manchester United became the last Premier League club to join Twitter yesterday. Within three hours they had more followers than the three most recently promoted teams combined.

They also launched on Sina Weibo, China's main microblogging site, which has 500 million users. Foreign language Twitter feeds will follow.

United break into Russian market

Manchester United took a further step in extending its global reach today by breaking into the Russian market, announcing a five-year partnership with Aeroflot which will become the club's Official Carrier.

Among the BRICs, Russia is generally discussed in terms of club ownership, but is a potentially significant market for English football if it can be navigated properly. With its highly sophisticated marketing operation, Manchester United is in a position to do that.