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Football Finance

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Only Three MLS Teams are Profitable

Only three of the teams in North America's Major League Soccer competition are profitable: Los Angeles Galaxy, FC Dallas and Toronto FC. The last club might seem surprising given that they have served up two seasons of last place soccer. But there are plenty of British expats in that part of Ontario who are hungry for live soccer. However, a local correspondent tells me their presence is not the main factor and the club is attracting a much younger demographic who have no experience of live football in Britain.

Financial Worries At Pompey

Although Harry Redknapp has denied that there will be any 'fire sale' of players in the January transfer window, concern about the financial situation of Portsmouth FC persists. They have the smallest ground capacity in the Premiership and are set to lose about £25m as staggered payments of player purchases become due in January and August. Top earners in the side such as Peter Crouch are pulling in over £50,000 in wages with others not far behind. The club currently brings in around £65m through ticket sales, TV money and merchandising, but £60m of that is swallowed up in staff costs.

Mike Ashley Cuts Newcastle United Sale Price

Mike Ashley will now settle for a price of £280-£300m for Newcastle United which would still leave him with a profit of £30-£50m from his 15 months in charge. Prospective buyers would get a debt-free club and one with prime commercial property assets in the vicinity of the club's St.James's Park stadium worth in the tens of millions of pounds. Ashley is now taking a more sober view of the situation after his initial sales pitch launched in the Middle East a day after putting the club up for sale, during which he reportedly hawked the club for around £480m.

Why Buy A Premier League Club?

Nine out of the 20 clubs in the Premiership are wholly or partially owned by non-British entrepreneurs and the number may well increase soon. Arsene Wenger has asked, what is the motivation for a billionaire to buy a Premiership club? It's interesting to look at a perspective from the Gulf states where many of the owners are increasingly likely to come from. Jumana Al Tamini from gulfnews.com argues, 'While the buyers' motives might vary, they all share the same goals: more social exposure; huge profits and high financial returns.

Heart of Midlothian Sort Out Pay Problems

Last week weekly paid players at Hearts didn't get paid and those on monthly salaries faced delayed payments, but the problems should all have been sorted out today. Hearts maintain that the failure to pay employees was down to a technical problem. It appears that the problem arose when owners Ukio Bankas Investment Group, who regularly deposit money into Hearts' bank account, stopped making payments earlier this month. HBOS, who have their own problems, refused to let the overdraft rise above £100,000.

Nigerian consortium may bid for Newcastle United

If a bid by a Nigerian consortium for Newcastle United comes to fruition, they could become the first African owned club in the Premiership. Jokers are, of course, saying that owner Mike Ashley has already E-mailed his bank details. The front man for the bid is Chris Nathaniel of NVA Management entertainment group. He claims to have been 'working hard to get wealthy and football-loving Nigerian entrepreneurs to buy the club'. Supposedly his consortium is willing to meet the asking price of £400m and have already collected £350m.

Canaries' Troubles Are All Too Typical

The financial problems being encountered by Norwich City FC have their own specific local causes, but they are also typical of the challenges being faced by many lower league clubs. Little money from the Premiership now trickles down even to the Championship because few players from that level are signed by Premiership clubs who are either interested in foreign players or those British players who have already proved themselves at the top level. Bosses at Carrow Road are insisting that the club is 'not in trouble at all' and will not go into administration.

Record Profits At Arsenal

Arsenal are expected to announce record turnover figures later this month, making the club the world's third richest behind Real Madrid and Manchester United. Turnover from the whole business has increased to about £225m. The figures for the year to May 31, 2008 will reveal record pre-tax profits of nearly £40m, while operating profit is expected to be above £50m. Arsenal is not a benefactor club and the results demonstrate the success of the Emirates stadium and the board's policy of living within its means.

Belles In Distress

Doncaster Belles, the oldest club in the Women's Premier League, are on the verge of bankruptcy. The club's future is in jeopardy after it lost a major sponsor and it may be forced to close within days. The club may have to shut down after Sunday's match with Arsenal if some funding cannot be found. At the moment the club can't even pay for the coach down to Arsenal which would cost £500. The Belle's annual budget is just £65,000. Doncaster Council and Doncaster Rovers have offered to help out, but their money won't be available until the end of the month.

Cork City's Money Problems Rock Eircom League

Cork City has become the latest Eircom League of Ireland club to face financial problems. In a season that has already seen Cobh Rangers, Sligo Rovers, Galway United and Kildrae County facing serious problems, the situation at Cork is worrying for the League of Ireland as a whole. Cork City is one of the biggest and best supported teams in the league, so its fate will be a warning for the rest of the clubs, that no team is safe from financial difficulties. 'It's hard to understand, I can't get my head around it,' admitted Fran Gavin, director of the Eircom League.