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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Football Governance


Football and the referendum

It was bound to happen: someone would write an article about football and the Scottish referendum. Fortunately it's soccer economics guru Stefan Szymanski who writes perceptively about these issues.

His main focus is on the existence of four national teams in the UK which is resented elsewhere (although a combined UK team would be more of a threat).   He considers what would happen if there was a yes vote or a no vote.   A yes vote might lead to demands for a 'rUK' national team.

Blatter to stand again

It's no great surprise to hear that Sepp Blatter is to stand again as President of Fifa.  Nevertheless, football fans broke open the champagne  and danced in the streets as they heard that their hero would be continuing his blend of high quality decision-making with being a scourge against corruption in the world governing body.   Without Blatter we may never have got the 2022 World Cup in Qatar!

How much are fans entitled to know?

I was intrigued by a recent posting on a fans' board by someone with informal connections with a club. She argued that the price of an admission ticket simply entitled fans to watch the game, it did not give them the right to know what was going on 'behind the scenes'.

Of course, if they purchase a programme, they will find features like 'Dressing room diaries' or features on particular players which provide exciting insights on banter between players, who shares a car to the training ground with whom and player nicknames.

Salisbury City 'stitched up' by FA and Conference

Salisbury City fans understandably feel aggrieved after their appeal against expulsion from the Conference South was dismissed by the Football Association a few days before the start of the season. They consider that they were 'stitched up' by the FA and the Football Conference.

Fans not happy with the way clubs are run

This is not, of course, a surprising headline given the pessimism and negativity that often seems to characterise football fans.   However, Supporters Direct have carried out an interesting survey which finds that 18 per cent of fans thought their club was well run financially and 41 per cent did not.

Wenger gives it large on Lampard

Arsene Wenger has suggested that Manchester City's loan deal for Frank Lampard could be a way to get round financial fair play regulations.   However, City have responded by stating that they will pay Lampard's wages in full.   Nevertheless, he will count as one of the home grown players in City's restricted Champions League squad of 21.

Labour to 'get tough' with Premier League

In a policy statement on sport the Labour Party has promised that it will 'get tough' with the Premier League and impose a 'proper levy' on the competition to boost grassroots football.

This is good populist stuff in the run up to a general election and will no doubt go down well with many fans, especially those that support non-league clubs.   Others might see it as evidence of the 'tall poppy' syndrome.

Sony put pressure on Fifa over Qatar

Leading Fifa sponsors Sony are putting pressure on the football governing body to conduct an appropriate investigation into allegations surrounding the way in which Qatar secured the 2022 World Cup.   Fresh allegations have been made in the Sunday Times today.

City sanctions eased

Financial fair play (FFP) sanctions are expected to be eased on Manchester City.  Rather than having to name eight 'home grown' players in their Champions League Squad, the number looks likely to be reduced to five.   This would allow them to field 16 foreign players, just one short of the normal number of 17.

This would reduce pressures on City as it looked as if they would have to omit some foreign stars and offer contracts to English players who were surplus to requirements, making it more difficult for them to break even.

City concede to 'practical realities'

Manchester City have conceded to 'practical realities' in reaching a settlement agreement with Uefa under financial fair play rules.   In effect this means that they have given priority to ensuring that they are in the Champions League next season, albeit with a reduced squad.

By holding out €40m of the €60m fine has been suspended and they are confident they can meet break even targets given enhanced commercial and television revenues.