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"If you want some accessible but informative insight into football then I suggest you couldn't do better than the Political Economy of Football website, which is not only intelligible but comes with the added bonus of being written by Addicks fan Wyn Grant."
Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme


FIFA's 6+5 Policy In Trouble

Fifa's desire to force the controversial 6+5 blow on English clubs, which has been seen as a major threat to the Premiership, has been dealt a heavy blow by the European Commission. It had hoped that the rule, under which six players in every starting line up would have to be qualified to play for the national team where the club is based, could be introduced under a 'specificity of sport' provision, giving it an exemption from EU legal rules. Last month Fifa delivered a 200-page report compiled by legal experts in support of its claims.

Stockport County Go Into Administration

Stockport County have gone into administration. Their ten point penalty will not relegate them from League 1, but they could lose more points during the summer if they fail to comply with Football League insolvency policy. Stockport were losing about £300,000 a year and were said to owe one creditor £300,000. Their problems were made worse by the fact that they do not own their ground. They were so cash strapped that the cost of policing their last home match was met by Sale Sharks who share the ground.

The Costs of Relegation from the Championship

Considerable attention is given to the costs of relegation from the Premiership to the Championship, but relegation from the Championship to League 1 can be equally traumatic. This is particularly the case if you have recently been in the Premiership and it is possible that all three clubs relegated tomorrow (Charlton, Norwich, Southampton) could be in that category. Relegation could cost Norwich City between £5 and £7m. There will be big reductions in television income and probably in gate receipts, although Norwich fans are known for their loyalty.

Serie A Clubs Form Their Own Premiership

Italian football clubs look likely to adopt the English Premiership model after 19 of the 20 Serie A clubs voted to break away from the Lega Calcio. The underlying issue is television rights. Serie A clubs sell their rights individually, rather than collectively, which means that the biggest sides such as Juventus or AC Milan earn in excess of £85m for their domestic rights, while smaller clubs, such as Chievo, only receive around £4m. In exchange for this arrangement, Serie A clubs contribute a lump sum to their counterparts in Serie B.

Cost of Being a Fan Goes Up

The Virgin Money Football Fans' Inflation Index shows that the cost of going to a match for an individual has risen to £89.53, a five per cent year-on-year increase on a year ago. The cost of attending games has gone up by 14 per cent since the index was launched in 2006. However, the basket of goods reached its peak last October when it was as high as £106.21, reflecting petrol prices among other factors. One response from fans is that one in four of them will not buy their team's new kit next season.

New Investment Fund For Clubs

At least six Football League clubs have begun negotiating with a City-based investment fund in the hope of borrowing money for the close season. The majority are believed to be Coca-Cola Championship clubs. Hero Global Football Fund has been set up to invest in football without taking equity in clubs. Backed by Emirates Bank, Hero plans to raise up to £100m based on minimum subscriptions of £100,000. The money will be made available for buying players and will be secured across the squad rather than against individual players.

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.

New Bid For Charlton Athletic?

South-East London club Charlton Athletic have already been relegated to League 1, but now there is a news of a possible bid which could revive their fortunes. Normally reliable sources are indicating that former chief executive Peter Varney, a popular figure at The Valley, has put together a consortium of wealthy businessmen who are willing to buy the club. Varney has not denied the reports.

Manchester United Backdown Over Season Tickets

Manchester United has struck a deal to cut the number of available season tickets after an investigation by the trading standards watchdog found that the club was failing to guarantee holders a seat for every league and cup game. Supporters complained of 'rocketing' prices and a compulsory scheme that forced season ticket holders to purchase tickets for all home cup games. A one-year season ticket introduced in 2007 required holders to sign up to the scheme but did not guarantee them tickets for cup games.

MPs Want to Tighten Fit and Proper Persons Test

The All Party Football Group has called for a reform of the 'fit and proper persons' test for owning a football club. The MPs said that a prospective buyer should have their debt leveraging plans assessed to judge whether they would be suitable. They also want the test to consider the practice of directors lending clubs money for short-term gains.