Archive → October, 2011
I started this in another blog and quickly realised the importance of what I had written and after some reading, what I had missed. At first many including myself made the mistake of thinking the Government had paved over the subject of leveraged buy outs and they had bottled it. This is not the case. To get the full story you have to link to the Culture, Media and Sport Committees report on football governance with what the government said in the final report. The government has infact used the recommendations from that. It asks any reader to look at the Committees evidence and it’s recommendations. This is the paragraph from governments final report….
30. The Government notes the evidence before the Committee on the use of leveraged buyouts to purchase football clubs and the strong view of the Committee on the appropriateness of this vehicle. The Government expects that the issue of financial sustainability should be addressed as part of the recommendations on the new licensing model.
…. and this is the Committees recommendation.
176. In all the evidence we have received, a whole-hearted defence of the use of leveraged buyouts to buy football clubs is entirely absent. Within a football context, the leveraged buyout appears to be a particularly risky vehicle with little obvious benefit, and certainly not to supporters and local communities.
When the two are together it’s is very clear that the government is calling for Leveraged Buy Outs to be blocked or banned using the new Licensing Model. This is for me one of the greatest successes we’ve had in a long time.
Although this may not but the most important thing in the world and some might say it’s not linked to football finance, too a point this is. When people talk about Old Trafford or the expansion of the Old Trafford South Stand there are lots of rumours flying about. A popular view shared by many supporters and myself is currently we aren’t going to see to much investment into the South Stand while you know who is in charge. After last weeks story on Manchester United buying up more land you’d think nothing of it but if anyone has ever looked at just how much land United own, it might come as a shock. While Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal have had limited amounts of land to deal with in inner city London, United have been slowly buying up land and it’s starting to make the site the stadium sits on look rather small. It you looked an the aerial view of Old Trafford as the new West and East stands were going up you’d have seen warehouses running right up to the back of the Stretford End. Now that isn’t the case and the car parks on the current aerial view are only half the picture. More warehouses have since been cleared. With the freight terminal and last weeks buys heres an aerial view of what I know United own/have control of…..
What I’d say is it could be more than this and someone else thought they owned the large warehouse on the other side of John Gilbert Way but I don’t believe this is the case. They bought the other large warehouse of Wharfside Way. As you can see on the land United currently own and have control over goes over ‘just some land for car parking.’ Compared to other clubs I’d say United must own the most land and by some way. When other clubs see that a club has this much access to local assets, no wonder other clubs like Liverpool and Chelsea start panicking over a new stadium or tv rights. Chelsea for example only have access to 13 acres of land, while United have just brought half that or more in one go. It makes you think just what are the Glazers and the club up to?
The news on pubs being allowed to show live Premier League games on foreign satellite decoders was known last week but this isn’t over. It still requires more time for the high court to view the judgement it asked for so currently Sky can still charge high prices and fine pubs if they don’t pay the fees.
The question again is what does this mean to us and the pubs. If the judgement is accepted which it should be there are number of new issues. The copyright of the game its self seems to be the most interesting. It said ‘sporting events cannot be considered to be an author’s own intellectual creation and, therefore, by extension to be “works” for the purposes of copyright protection in the European Union.’ Basically the Premier League nor anyone else owns copyright to the games being played. The problem here is the court says the graphics, logos and music used by Sky and the Premier League are owned by Sky and the Premier League. Anyone for example streaming from the internet for free would be in breach of copyright law but if the high court approved the judgement and a pub paid a decoder from Greece which was 95% less than you’d pay Sky would that be in breach of copyright law? I don’t see how it could be. You’ve paid for a satellite reciever which is sold by the Premier League to a Greek TV company, if it had the official graphics would that matter? You’ve technically paid the league and you’ve paid for the rights, logos, etc. If the European Judgement stands this allows you to buy the rights to show the games from anywhere within the EU.
I don’t believe the graphics etc and the copyright issue should be that bigger deal if you’re paying for a legitimate European Satellite provider who pays the Premier League for the rights which most pubs will be doing anyway. How can a decoder bought from Greece showing Premier League games which is paid for legitimately within the EU be illegal or break copyright right law? If the graphics are there and they are paid for? What’s the problem?
This leads to how the Premier wants to protect it’s pricing and keep making billions. However the Premier League aims to price it’s services, I would find it very strange it the European arena was treated like the UK with £1000s being charged to show Premier League games. I can’t see the Germans, French, Italians or Greeks agreeing to pay £1000s a month to show Premier League games. The other the issue that’s been rumoured is the League could totally stop showing 3pm games in the EU to stop UK viewers from watching and having access to that service. This again affects the value of the package offered to Europe. Do they really think the Greeks and the rest of Europe will want to pay 95% more with no 3pm games? Every option the league offers or doesn’t offer must affect it’s business. Currently the League has the best offer. It’s UK operations are protected and it can freely sell rights at different prices to different EU countries. I’d still say at this point if it’s a Pan-Euro deal or not, what ever happens the League has big issues and problems to solve. I don’t believe copyright is the biggest issue here unless I’ve missed something, it’s pricing.