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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

Football Governance

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Football and gambling

Views can differ about the harshness of the punishment on Joey Barton for breaking betting rules for players which effectively sent him into early retirement.   However, a bigger issue is the whole relationship between football and the betting industry.

Half of Premier League clubs have gambling firms as shirt sponsors and most of them have gambling partners.

China cracks down on foreign players

China has cut the number of foreign players allowed to play in each football match from four to three per team, although five will be allowed in the match day squad (one has to be Asian).   There will also have to be one Chinese player under 23 on the pitch.

Mascotgate

The Football Association is to take no action against Watford mascot Harry the Hornet who executed a mocking dive in front of Crystal Palace's Wilfrid Zaha.   Palace manager Sam Allardyce,already aggrieved that Zaha had been booked for simulation, complained that the mascot was 'out of order'.

In fact there have been far worse incidents involving mascots.   Robbie the Bobby from Bury was sent off three times in 2001, twice for mooning at opposition fans and once for pulling the ears off the rabbit mascot of Peterborough United.

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.

Getting round the rules

One can devise rules to restrict external investment in football clubs, but it is also possible to find ways of getting round them.   That is what the German Bundesliga has found.

RB Leipzig are currently second in the top German league.   They are sponsored by Red Bull, the energy drinks manufacturer, and play at the Red Bull Arena.   They are affiliated to New York Red Bulls and Red Bull Salzburg, the Austrian champions, both of whom play at grounds called the Red Bull Arena.

Football game takes Brexit on board

The latest version of the popular game Football Manager has been adjusted to take account of the possible consequences of Brexit.   Three main alternative scenarios have been built into the game.

The case for radical reform

This blog essay from Speri at the University of Sheffield sees 3rd party ownership of players as highlighing the issues that arise from the intertwining of football and capitalism.  It says that the transfer system does not redistribute resources between clubs, although that is not really its purpose.

Growing antagonism between owners and fans

Growing anatgonism between owners and fans is examined in this blog contribution with reference to the cases of Blackpool, Blackburn Rovers, Charlton Athletic and Coventry City.

In the case of Charlton it is ironic that fans have been referred to as 'customers' by the chief executive, yet there seems to be no concept of good customer relations beyond a series of gimmicks.

Five shady practices common in football

The Financial Times has identified five shady practices which it claims are common in English football.  It says that football's short termism, where players' careers are short and vulnerable to serious injury and where managers know they can be fired at any moment, may create the conditions for corruption.

Dual representation refers to a situation where an agent acts for both the player and the buying or selling club.   This conflict of interest is not against FA rules.   It means that the player does not have to pay the agent out of his own pocket.

Agents call for return of regulation

Football agents have called for the return of regulation of their activities.   This may sound like turkeys voting for an early Christmas, but they fear further damage to their already poor reputation.

The Association of Football Agents says that deregulation has created a system 'open to manipulation and abuse', calling for the Football Association to introduce a stricter licensing regime.