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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

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Internal audit critical of Cobblers loan

An internal audit has found that a loan of 13.5 million pounds made to Northampton Town by Northampton Council was made too quickly, on the basis of inadequate information and with insufficient safeguards. This was partly because the then council leader and now local MP was pressing for it.  

In particular, the council failed to compare the rapid payment of tranches of the loan with the slow and stalled progress at the Sixfields stadium.

Pro-rel back on the agenda in the States

The issue of promotion and relegation (or 'pro-rel' as it is called there) from MLS is back on the agenda in the United States, in part driven by activist fans on social media.  A poll has shown that 88 per cent of fans favour it, but the owners of the MLS are adamantly opposed.

It is argued that it is not part of American sporting culture in a franchise based system.   There is no promotion or relegation in the other major sports.

Foxes boost Leicester economy

A report by Ernst & Young suggests that Leicester City's surprise capture of the Premier League title boosted the Leicestershire economy by more than £140m over the past football season.  Of the £140m Gross Value Added. £110m was generated directly by the club, its community activities and match day tourism.

Television rights market starts to cool

The football television rights market may have reached its peak, at least domestically, although overseas deals could continue to contribute increasing revenues, making up a growing share of the total.

An underlying driver is that fans are starting to watch football in a different way.   The market is starting to fragment with less commitment to watching the whole game.   Younger fans in particular are watching on their mobiles in shorter bursts.

Big shirt sponsorship deal for Barca

FC Barcelona have signed a short sponsorship deal worth at least €220m with Japanese retailer Rakuten. The four season deal is worth €55m a year, a similar amount to the £47m a year that Manchester United earns in its contract with Chevrolet.

Barcelona has also signed deals to capture the Turkish electronics giant Beko on its shirtsleeves and US semiconductor company Intel unusually on the inside of its shirts.   It's a long way from just having Unicef on its shirts.

United see rise in debt

Manchester United's debt has risen by 18 per cent to £338m, in part because of the Brexit vote and the consequent worsening of the dollar-pound exchange rate.

Results for the three months to 30 September saw revenue drop by 2.8 per cent while operating profits were down by 35 per cent to £6.2m.   This was largely because of the club's absence from the Champions League.

Big new China TV deal

Foreign broadcasting deals have become an increasingly important part of the Premier League's revenue stream.   Their biggest deal yet is a new one for China that will earn £564m over three years from 2019-20.

Ticket prices fall

Two-thirds of football ticket prices have fallen or been frozen compared with last season according to a survey conducted by the BBC.  Paradoxically, it can now cost more to go to an away game in the Championship because of the £30 price cap agreed by Premier League ckubs.

The average price of an away ticket in the Premier League has fallen sharply from £46.44 to £29,46. The average cost of the cheapest home matchday ticket has fallen by six per cent from £30.75 to £29.05.

Football League restructuring scrapped

Plans for a restructuring of the Football League into a five league, 100-team competition have been scrapped after talks with the Football Association broke down.   The FA was not prepared to move FA Cup games to create more weekend slots for matches.

The plans were unpopular with the non-league system which would have lost its leading clubs.  Clubs might have found it difficult to financially sustain league membership.

Canaries on Song

The author of the impressive Swiss Ramble blog has turned his attention to the finances of Norwich City and in general gives them a clean bill of health.   They have mixed sporting success with financial prudence.