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The Premiership


Transfer spending up but restrained

Spending by Premier League Clubs in the transfer window so far has been about £85m which is three times the level of last year but about the same amount as in 2011.   This suggests that clubs have been relatively restrained despite the pending increase in broadcast income.

Fulham are debt free

Mohammed al Fayed has shown that he is the ultimate benefactor owner by effectively wiping out the club's debts of £212m owed to him.   He has converted the debts into equity.

Usmanov opens fire at Arsenal

The underlying tensions within Arsenal's ownership structure have resurfaced as time ticks down towards the transfer deadline after the major shareholder, Alisher Usmanov, claimed the board's lack of spending and inability to hang on to the club's best players have effectively rendered them a feeder team for their rivals.

Does money buy success?

This is the question that football economics guru Stefan Szymanski poses in his latest blog posting.  His broad answer is yes in terms of domestic leagues, but not to anywhere near the same extent in relation to club competition at international level for a number of reasons.

Szymanski argues that the influx of money into the Premier League has improved the quality of play.  But some foreign players and managers are reluctant to relocate to the UK and have to be paid above the odds to be persuaded to come.

Is austerity in Arsenal's culture?

Simon Kuper has a long and (as one would expect) very interesting article about Arsenal in the Financial Times yesterday.   He argues that austerity is in Arsenal's culture.   Once known as the Bank of England club, it has been run cautiously for decades.   That has been reinforced by Wenger''s typically French suspicion of rootless international capital.

He quotes Billy Beane of the Oaklands A's baseball team who said, 'When I think of Wenger, I think of Warren Buffett.   Wenger runs his football club like he is going to own it for 100 years.'

United deny brand dilution

Manchester United have denied that they are diluting their brand by negotiating too many sponsorship deals.   Following the recent pathbreaking deals in China, they have had an Old Trafford launch for a three year partnership with Japanese paint manufacturer Kansai Paint.

United marketing manager Jonathan Rigby denied that the club have reached their limit.   'There is nothing of what we know of our brand which suggests that is the case,' he said.   'We don't see it all.  We see an increase in growth in the vibrancy of our brand.'

News International buys Premiership mobile and web rights

News International, the publisher of The Times and The Sun has secured the near-live mobile and internet rights to 380 Premier League games per season unxder an exclusive three year deal.

It is the first time that a newspaper group has bought audio-visual rights for the Premiership which were previously shared by American broadcaster ESPN and internet company Yahoo!.   It is believed that News International bid more than the combined sum of £30m paid by ESPN and Yahoo! under the last deal.

Real Madrid break through €500m revenue threshold

Real Madrid has become the first club in any sport to surpass the €500m revenue threshold in a single year, according to the 16th edition of the Football Money League from Deloitte, the business advisory firm. The Spanish club achieved a €33.1m (7%) increase in revenue to €512.6m, and in doing so has claimed the top position in the Money League for a record equalling eighth year, matching Manchester United’s reign from 1996/97 to 2003/04.

Understanding financial fair play

This is by no means easy as the rules are complex, perhaps deliberately so in order to give Uefa plenty of wriggle room.  As we have said many times, a lot depends on how the rules are enforced and whether they are challenged in the courts.

Sports lawyer Daniel Geey has produced his 'ten top tips' for understanding the rules.   So if you want to know what an acceptable deviation is, and how it is calcjulated, here is your chance.

Profit turns into loss at Spurs

The effects on a club of not being in the Champions League are illustrated by the accounts of Tottenham Hotspur for the 2011-12 season.   A £700,000 profit the previous year turned into a £4.3m  loss.

Club revenue was down 12 per cent from £163m to £144m while 'profit from operations' dropped to £23m from £38m.   Commercial revenues continued to increase but merchandising fell by four per cent. The club made a loss of £1.6m before interest and tax, down from a £1.4m profit the previous year.