Posts Tagged → Premier League
If you’ve heard about the report into football governance or kept up to date from the mainly the Guardian or Telegraph. Both have been reporting the stories on the issue so you should have some idea of where the debate and changes are up to. I doubt think the Sun have even mentioned it, too busy reporting Rihannas new hair do, thats the stuff that matters.
At the end of the Culture and Media and Select committee on football governance a report was passed on to the government to review. In the Governments final publication, this was made clear on more than one occasion.
75. The Government is fully committed to ensuring that the changes put forward by the football authorities make a lasting and substantive difference. If that does not happen the Government will introduce a legal requirement on the Football Association to implement the appropriate governance clauses by the swiftest possible means.
Unsurprising one of the first recommendations that was made, has been reportedly completely ignored. The 10 man board with 6 independent non-executive directors hasn’t happened and they couldn’t even agree a small change. Currently on the 14 man board sit 3 Premier League Directors and 2 Football league Directors, its not hard to see why they won’t give up those posts any time soon. If the football clubs have control of the FA, it means the football clubs can still do pretty much as they like. It seems again they’ve got their own way and its as if the introduction of the licensing system is going to say ‘we’ve set up a licensing system and set up the independent body for it but let us off on the other areas.’
The other thing is, this could be a challenge to the Government on areas they really don’t want to change and if the Government did get involved theres a possibly the England Team would banned by FIFA. If the England team was banned just before the Euros, there would be uproar but if thats a price that must be paid, so be it. Football refusing to sorting its self out and allowing a long list of famous clubs to go bust is unacceptable in my book. They been clearly warned and if they don’t want to change, make them by what ever means possible.
It also makes you think what other areas within the governments report have they refuse to move on and it also makes you think the ones they have changed will have been to the complete minimum. Many people think the governments report itself was weak, so to see some key areas within a weak report completely missed shows just how backwards our game is. If The FA have refused to complete just one single point and if they have made it so its the minimum of changes on the rest, the Government should take steps straight away. It shows the football authorities can’t run themselves to do the very basics as the government trusted them to do so and it also means the Government must step in. The government has also been pressured to support supporter ownership in football and they if can’t even change the FA board we have serious problems which have been proven to be bigger than they were before.
Last month the Scottish Premier League relaxed the rules on standing and has allowed for safe standing areas to be reintroduced. Currently Rangers, Celtic, Kilmarnock and Motherwell are all currently exploring the option of installing safe standing areas in their stadiums. The key difference between English clubs and Scottish clubs is the Scottish clubs are not bound by the Taylor Report and English laws so they have one less problem to over. The Premier League has said in the past it doesn’t want to introduce safe standing back into the Premier League but now certain English clubs are exploring the idea. Aston Villa is one club to have plans in place and is seeking support at the next Premier League meeting from other clubs. Arsenal and City have also been rumoured to be interested in safe standing areas. The type of standing that would in place would be very different from the standing areas you see at many lower league clubs or the type we saw in the past decades before standing was banned. If reintroduced Scottish and English clubs would follow the Germany system of fold up seats and bars where a stand can be converted to either safe standing or seated if required under UEFA regulations.
Villa is one of many clubs where standing takes place for long periods of time even though it is banned. The same can be said for most other clubs. The Kop at Anfield, K Stand and the Stretford End at Old Trafford are all areas where no one will sit down for 90 minutes. Manchester United have been warned in the past by the local council for persistent standing but it still carries on. Much of it is over looked. Even at away games clubs like Liverpool have admitted persistent standing isn’t a problem, so a question needs to be asked. Is the current law 15 years out of date? It would seem so as much has happened. Hooligans aren’t anywhere near a big a issue as they were 20 or 30 years ago. Football is safer, new technology and techniques have been developed. Its also been proven standing in seated at Premier League stadiums isn’t dangerous. It happens at every away game up and down the country every Saturday and Sunday. When was the last time there was an issue because fans were standing? The Germans have also developed a very successful and safe standing system. I believe its time for the Government, FA and Premier League to allow Villa to install a safe standing system as in Germany which can be monitored. It will prove ‘standing’ wasn’t the issue. It was everything around it and everyone knows it. Everything has to be managed if it isn’t, problems will occur.
Another problem with the current Premier League system is the ticket price and everything that goes with football. Its about money and many clubs have lost a certain type of supporter over the past 10 years to do the huge increases in price of a football ticket. If you’re a fan of Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, Arsenal etc ticket prices are normally £35 to 50 or maybe more. At Bolton, Blackburn and City it’s more like £25-35. Standing tickets would not only bring the price down, they’d increase the attendances, capacity and the type of people attending football matches. Those priced out could now afford to attend games. For clubs like Bolton and Blackburn, safe standing areas could improve the atmosphere and bring back a community feel to being a fan. It should in theory improve the atmosphere at any ground it was introduced. I’ve not really heard any argument against it and there is a lot of support, its time the law was changed but changed with regulations on how standing is managed. Managing the system and the type of system is the key to success.
I did a blog the other day about Skys TV deal and how it could be affected by European competition law in October. It’s only after some more research and some digging I’ve worked out how much it could be affected. The press did a number of stories how it could be affected but never put it into numbers. Forget the Football Governance Report and the Phone Hacking if there is something that’s going to hit someone Hard in the pocket in the next few months, it’s going to be this. Sky are estimated to have around 50,000 pub customers with many paying over £1000 a month or more to show live Premier League games. We don’t know the total value figure but that could be put a value of around £600m. The current deal between Sky and Premier League is worth something around £1.7 Billion a season. Currently if you were to install a Greek Box, your expected to pay for the year and so on which works at around £1000-1600 for box, satellite installation, HD and a 12 month subscription. Interesting thing is the card on it’s own to renew is around £995 for the year if you buy it off the installation company which works at out £80 a month. The same package from Nova directly is £45. If you buy it through a UK company that makes it 92% cheaper than a comparable Sky subscription for the year. If you get it direct from Greece it’s 95.5 cheaper.
This is where Skys big problem comes in. A few months ago the Greek broadcaster nova sports threatened to cut British customers off as it didn’t have the rights to broadcast outside of Greece but this has since changed drastically. Since hearing the European Court of Justices likely outcome, they have plans to directly market their products in the UK. Even for home users this makes the market more competitive. Currently with Sky the Sky Sports package is £50 with the same package only being £45 from Nova which also happens to show the 3pm games. If Nova are allowed to market directly to pubs, at 95.5 cheaper rate and are also given the chance to air 3pm games there is no way the current deal is worth £1.7 Billion in the UK. It would clearly no longer be exclusive and the pub market value and prices should in theory drop drastically.
Anyone remember the Pub landlady who took Sky’s Premier League Football Monopoly to the European Court of Justice. Well the Court will rule on the case on the 4th October 2011 according to a source of the old twitter. This can affect the £1.78 billion tv deal in a number of ways. It would mean european broadcasters have the right to the UK market for the first time. You could buy a satellite box from Romania to Portugal. How prices would be affected at first isn’t clear but I would expect this to impact on Sky from day one. Prices in Europe are unlikely to match Skys £1000+ a month prices but it’s a possibly they could rise. This raises the interesting possibly of Sky dropping it’s rate which therefore means it’s £1.78 billion TV deal would likely fall in value and in demand. The other option this allows is the man on the street to buy from Greece or Germany instead of Sky. This along with the pub landlords could change Premier League drastically. It seems Murdoch could be hit by a second and much more expensive sting within just a few months. Not only could Murdoch be affected but the clubs themselves. There are three options I can see. Collective TV deals become a thing of the past due to value and English clubs sell their own as in Spain, the market becomes truly open with TV companies competing on a country by country basis or the Premier League rights change to a Pan European licensing system. All will for a time break Sky’s monopoly on the Premier League while one or the other is sorted out, which can only be a good thing.
The phone hacking inquiry has allowed the football goverance inquiry report to be put back two weeks. It was due out on the 18th of July which was the Monday just gone but the release date is now the 29th July which is next Friday. Hopefully this should allow for full weekend coverage in the press.
The was also an article in the financial times which mentioned just one of a number of measures set to be imposed on the Premier League by the Government Report. What is surprising is the independent chairman believes there is nothing wrong within the game. Those are the sorts of independent directors who do nothing for the game. The people given these roles should believe there is a problem and have the governments & fans interest at heart. It’s completely pointless to appoint someone who believes everything is perfectly fine the way it is.
I’ll make this very clear, the Evidence from the Football Inquiry so far is mostly saying yes, you could even judge the Premiers League Evidence as open to debate, they didn’t say no like the FA, which is very interesting. Here are just a few examples where intervention would be justified by those who submitted evidence.
Supporters Direct – “We suggest a time-limited Act which provides powers for the Minister to take all necessary action to introduce a thorough licensing regime should such not be introduced by football”
The Newcastle United Supporters Trust – “Establish a Licensing system to address club debt, financial instability and to ensure the clubs increase supporter influence.”
Football Supporters’ Federation – “Government to intervene as a facilitator to ensure that essential governance reforms are introduced by the FA”
The Fulham Supporters Trust – “We believe that, due to poor governance of a domestic game that is still riddled with money and credibility problems, government intervention in football is very much justified.”
Supporters’ Trust at Reading – “Government intervention is justified but it should be restricted to imposing a powerful, independent regulatory regime with two key objectives:”
Southend United Supporters’ Club Trust – “Football clubs should be run as businesses and the Sjrimpers Trust believe that government intervention is only justified when there is a clear case of mismanagement and a risk of bankruptcy.”
David Hodges (former semi-pro footballer, Leicester City Fan) – “Yes, The Government is investing £57.6m over the next three years of football. The Government has lost over £28m in unpaid tax from football clubs practicing poor governance procedures ”
Bradford City Supporters’ Trust – “Government Intervention should establish the core governance principles for the sport and provide powers that are sufficient to protect the new arrangements from eternal pressures, especially those arising from the excessive commercial weight of the Premier League”
Fisher FC – “Government Intervention is justified because football clubs are so important to communities, and to the supporters.”
Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association – “We believe that the path to a proper framework ensuring that football is run much more in the interests of the people who tic with it through thick and thin, whose only desire is the joy and the of having a club to support and to see it do well, lies in active government intervention tonsure that out game is suitably regulated.”
Paul Baggaley, Chairmen of Newark Town FC – “Yes”
Yorkshire Division Of Football Supporters’ Federation – “Football is our national game. As such Government has a duty to protect the game at levels for future generations.”
The Professional Players Federation – “Nevertheless government and its agencies do have a number of financial and regulatory mechanisms to exert considerable influence upon the governance of football”
Darlington Supporters Trust – “governance should be taken as sine qua non and we firmly believe that intervention of government and parliament would be welcomed in pursuit of these objectives”
Pompey Supporters’ Trust – “The justification for government intervention is clear”
I haven’t even added The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust or the Liverpool Supporters’ Union yet but they both say the same thing. The Government should allow Supporters’ Trust take hold of clubs holdings and The Liverpool Supporters’ Union makes it clearer than The Manchester United Supporters Trust and this is one of the most important paragraphs in the whole document – “As a starting point, we propose that the Government Legislates to introduce a “transfer window” policy whereby clubs that are in the process of changing ownership or ownership stake in excess of 20% are legally bound to offer a properly constituted Supporters’ Trust the opportunity to purchase a shareholding in the club”
Here is the Premier Leagues, The FAs and Football Leagues View On Government Intervention -
The Football League – “However, it does not believe that government intervention is appropriate at this time.”
The FA – “However, The FA believes that there is no justification for direct intervention by the Government into the running of English Football.”
The Premier League – “The failure of the market to deliver desirable public outcomes may also lead to intervention and in such circumstances the government or its agencies might do a better job. It is far proven that these conditions exist in the case of football”
From what I have seen so far I see no reason why in the summer the Government can’t give The FA a certain amount of time to clean its self up or introduce changes into the way football is run with a set time limit. This should be followed by possible intervention by Football to involve Supporters’ Trusts to take part control of clubs, this can either be done by the rules or if Football does not carry this through by a certain date, Legislation can be introduced by the Government. This Legislation could even be introduced before that date comes around meaning a fall back. This way in all areas of Football can be warned and given one chance, if they ignore this, any negative affects as The FA pointed as Fifa getting involved or The England team being banned, will not have been done the fault of the Government, the clubs, the owners or the fans. It will have been Football failing to compile and the only people to point at we’ll be the people on the boards of the Premier League, The FA and Football League. I believe the Premier League and FA knew it either happens with them or happens without them, rules changes would happen in a flash and I don’t think the Football League would argue against any new measures.
My next blog will on some of the shocking facts that are in the evidence.
Love United Hate Glazer
We’ve known for a long time there have been problems in football. To do with debt, ownership and on the first day of the inquest from a man who was the boss of The FA, we now know why. The Premier League works for the interests of its chairmen. It aims to keep them all happy so if David Gill says ‘the glazers own this club you keep it that way’ they’ll do there best to see The FA or anyone else can’t do anything. The FA tried once before and they got scared. Now they do as the EPL tell them. The only action they’ll take is against the odd player, to make it look like they are in charge. In reality if The FA says we want to remove all debt. The EPL will say no you won’t. The FA then goes off and crys in the corner. The FA run English Football, they are the governing body. If they put rules in place for the good of the game, all leagues should accept them. The FA is only worried about England getting banned why because that’s how its board make their cash. Shirts sales, ticket sales. Lets get one thing very very clear. The England Football Team is the last place on Earth that should be treated like Tescos. Its the national team and if takes England getting banned for the board to work this out, that will be good for football. You cannot have a governing body, which works more like a business, than a governing body. The same can be said for Fifa in areas. The FA is their to govern football. It has in the past found out many of the issues the government is discussing but has not been allowed to carry them out. UFEA and Fifa have power, The FA has none. Its why on many an issue the FA doesn’t do anything, that’s also true for matters on the pitch. They should find issues, find the solutions and put in new rules. That is The FA’s job, if it cannot do that, huge changes need to happen. Forced Changes.
Yesterday A Very Important Article Was Posted On The Guardian Website. You can Read it here.
This isn’t saying this is the answer to all our problems but what it does say is the Government wants the Premier League to change its ways. Even though the government have said they ‘won’t introduce laws’ yet to combat such problems, they do and are pressuring the people who matter in football to create a change. I’ve been repeating to many a fan, the way for real change in football is too pressure your MPs, The Government and the football authorities. The thing is I’ve also spoken to a number of fans who agree this is the only realistic way to go.
Protests at Old Trafford are always going to be popular and maybe they’ve been achieving more in private than we all really planned. Those protests at Old Trafford should be a meeting ground for us to spread the word. Pressure The Government. Pressure Your Local MP. Pressure The Sports Minister and Culture Minister. I don’t mean protests I mean asking them to push this to the people that be. Phone them, email them, send them letters. Nothing aggressive, just plain and simple. We want change and tell them what we want. If Your From The Manchester United Supporters Trust. Sean Bones, Duncan Drasdo, etc. I Hope Your Reading My Blog. You Need To Step This Campaign Up Ten Fold On Match Day.
You Can Follow Me On Twitter Here. @wewantglazerout