This article is an online version of our Scoreboard newsletter. Sign up here to get the newsletter sent straight to your inbox every Saturday

In just a few days, we’ll be gathering for the latest instalment of the FT’s annual football get together on March 1-2. Among the big names appearing are Stephen Pagliuca, chair of Bain Capital and owner of Atalanta, super agent Rafaela Pimenta, AC Milan owner Gerry Cardinale and Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira. If you want to join us, there’s still time. All details can be found here.

Before that, we have a double dose of football, as we look at the new UK regulator and at the riches earned by Fifa from the Qatar World Cup. Do read on — Josh Noble, sports editor

Send us tips and feedback at [email protected]. Not already receiving the email newsletter? Sign up here. For everyone else, let’s go.

The Premier League’s worst enemy is its own success. More fans, bigger reach, and a lot more money have put a target on its back.

Rivals grumble and complain that the Premier League relies on billionaire owners to cover losses. Javier Tebas, president of Spain’s La Liga, accuses England’s top flight of financial doping.

Those at the Premier League simply point to the competition’s enormous commercial success, which they ascribe to a more entertaining product.

Now the UK government is getting involved, unveiling plans this week to set up a football regulator, a huge reform for an industry that currently runs itself. The push on governance has its roots at the bottom of English football, thanks to the high profile demise of Bury and Macclesfield Town, and at the very top, via the failed attempt to form a European Super League.

It is set to have a range of powers, and advocates see an opportunity to fix an array of problems.

“It should help align fans and owners and keep the magic alive in football by preventing casino-style financial gambling that has imperilled too many clubs in the past few years,” Stuart Hatcher, partner and head of corporate at law firm Forsters, told Scoreboard.

The plan, long resisted by the Premier League, includes an acknowledgment from the government that the amount of money the top flight shares with the rest of the football pyramid “is not sufficient”. However, the white paper offers no concrete solutions on the split.

The Premier League and the English Football League, which runs the three professional divisions below the elite, are at odds over how to redraw revenue distribution. EFL chairman Rick Parry, himself one of the founders of the Premier League, is arguing for a reset but warns of his group’s weaker negotiating position.

If they are unable to agree, the new regulator could decide for them.

The government insists that the regulator is designed to promote financially sustainable business models. Most clubs in the Championship — the second tier — overspend on players as they bet on winning promotion to the richest league in football. Don’t take our word for it, check out the chart:

Column chart of Wage to revenue ratio (%*) showing Wage control in the Championship has long been worse than in the Premiership

Premier League chief Richard Masters warned this week that the new body must be “as independent as possible” from the government to prevent it deterring investment and “choking off” success.

If you want to hear more, join us next week at the Business of Football Summit. Tebas, Parry and Masters will all be there to share their views.

Dripped in gold: Lionel Messi marks a memorable tournament, picking up both the World Cup and top scorer trophies © Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

As the World Cup drew to a close in December, we wondered how Fifa had managed to underestimate its income from the tournament by more than $1bn. Ahead of the competition, football’s governing body had been expecting to earn $6.4bn from the four-year cycle ending with Argentina’s victory. In the end, it generated closer to $7.6bn.

Following the release of Fifa’s annual report, we now have a better idea of where the money came from.

Revenue overshot expectations in all areas, including cash from broadcast, marketing and licensing rights. But the single biggest factor to the better than expected result was from hospitality and ticketing. Fifa had originally budgeted for $508mn from this stream, but actually brought in just shy of $1bn.

With hindsight, the original budget looks rather pessimistic. Fifa earned $564mn from ticketing alone during the Russia World Cup in 2018.

Hospitality accounted for $100mn of the additional revenue compared to 2018. That seems a logical outcome from hosting a tournament in one of the wealthiest countries on earth, and within an area that allowed people to attend multiple games a day. In Qatar, locals took up 39 per cent of all the hospitality packages, up from a quarter in Russia.

Fifa also received an additional $200mn in “host country contributions” from Qatar to help cover costs associated with both the World Cup and the Arab Cup.

Column chart of $mn showing Qatar World Cup boosts Fifa's growing reserves

All this extra cash has landed on the balance sheet. Fifa now has reserves of almost $4bn, up from $2.7bn post-Russia 2018.

More riches are coming. Fifa expects the 2026 World Cup in the US, Mexico and Canada to generate $11bn. Others think it could go higher, with more games taking place, bigger host stadiums, and an enormous local market to pitch to commercial partners. Fifa’s asset managers are going to be busy.


Voice of football: The game bids farewell to John Motson, the much-loved commentator © AFP via Getty Images
  • Football said goodbye this week to one of its great characters, match commentator John Motson, who has died at the age of 77. He was for many the voice of the game for the past five decades, covering more than 2,500 games. Most British football fans will have their own favourite Motty moment, the BBC has put together some of the best of them.

  • It’s not been a banner week for Liverpool FC. US owner John Henry has called off a potential sale of the club, though the Fenway Sports Group chief is still seeking new investment for the Premier League side. The announcement preceded a 5-2 thrashing by Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.

  • Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani is bidding for Manchester United. But until now the 40-year-old Qatari had a low profile. Read the FT’s profile to get ahead and get to know the potential next owner of the club.

  • Are NBA TopShots — the digital highlights collector fad which reached its height in 2021 — unregulated securities? A US district court judge said that they may fit Securities and Exchange Commission criteria for a security, in a preliminary ruling in a lawsuit against TopShot creator Dapper Labs.

  • Former Former 1 world champion Jenson Button has a plan for Le Mans that defies motorsport convention. Read why in this interview with the British racing hero.

  • Care for a drive in Boris Becker’s Porsche? The six-time Grand Slam winner is back in Germany — and on punditry duties again — after a stint in HMP Wandsworth. The FT’s Henry Mance asks the tennis great just about everything in this Lunch with the FT.

  • Multiclub ownership is the hottest trend in global football — but not everyone is a fan. Watch our latest Scoreboard video to find out why.

Final Buzzer

Hang-time: Mac McClung stole the show at last week’s All-Star weekend in Utah © AFP via Getty Images

Last week’s National Basketball Association All-Star Weekend — a midseason exhibition of the league’s best players — culminated in one of the most dramatic skyrockets to fame ever seen in a single player. On Valentine’s Day, little-known Mac McClung signed a two-way contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, effectively a provisional deal that allows the 24-year-old to advance from the second division up to the NBA. By the weekend, he landed in Salt Lake City for All-Star festivities, where he became the surprise winner in the annual Slam Dunk Contest, visibly stunning the likes of two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and retired champion Shaquille O’Neal. Not bad for a week’s work.

Scoreboard is written by Josh Noble, Samuel Agini and Arash Massoudi in London, Sara Germano, James Fontanella-Khan, and Anna Nicolaou in New York, with contributions from the team that produce the Due Diligence newsletter, the FT’s global network of correspondents and data visualisation team

Cryptofinance — Scott Chipolina filters out the noise of the global cryptocurrency industry. Sign up here

Unhedged — Robert Armstrong dissects the most important market trends and discusses how Wall Street’s best minds respond to them. Sign up here

Source link

By Admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *