November 4 Football Business Round-Up

EUROPE

Real Madrid to challenge Premier League with midday start
Real Madrid will play Osasuna at noon this Sunday, the earliest kick off time for a match at the Bernabeu. The move is intended to help the clubs challenge the dominance of the English Premier League, whose scheduled match times suit the Asian market.

Saudi prince closer to majority share of Panathinaikos
A Memorandum of Understanding between the lawyers of current Panathinaikos major shareholder Yiannis Vardinoyannis and Saudi Prince Sultan al-Saud was signed this week. The prince intends to buy 54.7% of the financially-troubled Greek club’s shares from Vardinoyannis, whose family has held the majority stake for over 30 years.

Fifa to give clubs credit ratings
In an effort to bring greater transparency to transfer deals The Daily Telegraph reports that Fifa is planning to give clubs a transfer credit rating to help expose those who stall on payments and renege on contractual obligations. The governing body is also planning to publish details of every transaction, currently monitored by its Transfer Matching System.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council ‘committed to help’ Chelsea
Chelsea’s local council is this week stated it is committed to keeping the club at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea failed in a move to buy back the stadium freehold, which may have facilitated a deal to move the club away from its historic home.

Spurs considering increasing the capacity of planned new stadium
While current plans are for a new 56,000-seat stadium, The Daily Telegraph reports local government sources saying Tottenham are considering increasing that by at least 4,000 to match and possibly surpass capacity at the neighbouring Emirates Stadium.

Bolton announce increased revenues despite tough times
Bolton Wanderers turnover increased by 10% to £67.7m and retained losses were reduced by £9.3 million, 26%, to £26.1m. Chairman Phil Gartside said: “Competing as we have done for the last ten years in the elite Premier League brings with it a wide range of challenges, both on and off the pitch. Increasing turnover and reducing our losses without significant player trading in such testing economic times is an important step.”

Millwall to delist?
Championship club Millwall have announced plans to withdraw from the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange after revealing their best annual results since 2004. The south London club’s holding company lost just £600,000 in the year ended June 30, 2011 – a reduction of £2.8million compared to the previous year. Millwall Holdings PLC will propose to shareholders that the company’s shares are withdrawn from the stock market at an EGM on December 1. Boston (US) based chairman John Berylson is behind the largest shareholder in the club, Chestnut Hill Ventures.

Birmingham warn of ‘substantial losses’
Birmingham City’s financial problems continued with the club’s parent company, Birmingham International Holdings, warning that the group will record a ‘substantial loss’ for the year ended 30 June 2011. The announcement to the Hong Kong stock exchange came 48 hours after Peter Pannu, Birmingham’s acting chairman, revealed the club is trying to attract fresh investment to ease its plight.

Wednesday could be sold
Milan Mandaric has admitted he will sell Sheffield Wednesday if the ‘right’ people make a suitable offer for the club reports The Daily Mail. The former Portsmouth chairman released the statement denying press reports he’d met with former Playboy model Sybil Danning and a Hollywood actor who were interested in buying the club.

Hearts pay off tax bill
Heart of Midlothian FC has paid about £500,000 to HMRC ward off a winding-up order, BBC Scotland reports. Hearts are also believed to have told selected high earning players to find new clubs following a meeting with board members at the Scottish Premier League club.Meanwhile, Rangers are facing further court action from a company pursuing an allegedly unpaid bill.

Bournemouth owners fail in bid to buy Dean Court stadium
Bournemouth chairman Eddie Mitchell has revealed the club failed with two attempts to buy back Dean Court. The club agreed a sale-and-leaseback deal with London property company Structadene in December 2005 but the Cherries recently acquired new investment. “I would like to confirm we have failed in two bids and the highest was £4.5m ($7.2m).”Mitchell told BBC Radio Solent.

AMERICAS

MLS take serious look at Baltimore
MLS have commissioned a survey to gauge interest in a team playing in Baltimore through expansion or relocation. “As a part of this planning (for the future of MLS), we are conducting research in Baltimore to help determine the viability of the market as a potential future home of an MLS club.” MLS chief marketing officer Russ Findlay explained in the survey mail-out.

Cosmos announce buyout
The NY Cosmos officially announced a buyout in their organization this week, and reiterated their intention of joining MLS as the league’s 20th club.

Football attendances overtake NBA and NHL in the US
MLS has eclipsed both basketball and hockey in terms of average crowds at games. MLS games are now averaging 17,872, beating NBA (17,319) and NHL (17,126).

Mexican club replaces names on shirts with Twitter handles
Mexican Primera Division side Jaguares de Chiapas’s star players are displaying their twitter addresses on the back of their shirts rather than their names. The shirts also display the Twitter handle of the club sponsor.

This information is brought to you with football business consultancy FMMInternational (http://www.fmminternational.com/).

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