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Volume 10 No. 25

International Football

Glasgow’s bid to become a Euro 2020 host city will take a "major step forward" this week when the Scottish FA makes its pitch to UEFA for a package of games, according to Andrew Smith of the SCOTSMAN. If successful, Glasgow would "stage a group section or matches in the knockout stage." For the first time in its history, UEFA has opted to spread the Euro finals across up to 13 cities. Glasgow boasts three stadiums with capacities of 50,000 or more and is in a "strong position to be a venue for one of the groups, a selection of the eight second round matches, and/or one or two quarterfinals." An announcement on Glasgow's bid will be made in May (SCOTSMAN, 1/13).

Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore has "backed Manchester City fans" who boycotted Sunday's match at Arsenal because of the ticket price, according to the BBC. Man City returned 900 tickets of their 3,000 allocation "after fans baulked" at the £62 ($99) admission. Scudamore: "I'm absolutely sure that will be dealt with and we'll not see that again. There should be more affordable ticket prices at one end of the spectrum, and maybe the corporate seats and everything else get priced differently in order to afford that." Scudamore continued, "Every club have got to make sure their ticket pricing keeps the stadiums full, that's the overriding objective. Yesterday Fulham had children in for a pound, Sunderland have got season tickets for young people at £95 ($153), there is all sorts of stuff going on around the league" (BBC, 1/13). In London, Owen Gibson reported Premier League clubs are "expected to consider a range of proposals, including a radical suggestion that all 20 offer free coach travel to away supporters for every match, against a backdrop of growing outrage from fans over the price of away tickets." A central attendance and ticketing working group was established by the Premier League in May to consider all issues around the topic, and is "drawing up proposals that are likely to be discussed at the next full shareholders' meeting in February and could be voted on in the summer" (GUARDIAN, 1/11). Also in London, Oliver Kay wrote Scudamore reponded to a question about "whether supporters with lower incomes are being priced out of watching what has historically been a working-class game," he replied: “I can’t argue with the fact there has been a shift in the demographic of the audience. But at 95 per cent occupancy, and when you look at the number of females in the grounds — something like 23 per cent female and 11 per cent ethnic minorities — that’s up from a much smaller number 10 years ago. When you look at the under-16s that are in the ground, it’s a myth the entire Premier League audience is ageing and white and male, so we must be doing something right" (LONDON TIMES, 1/14).

FILLING THE SEATS: The PA's Andy Hampson reported Scudamore was asked whether, given record TV revenue, "ticket prices should be lowered at all clubs." He said that "was a complex issue," but the overriding aims of clubs should be "to ensure their stadia are full with away fans in attendance." Scudamore said: "Absolutely top of our aims and objectives is to put on a show and keep attendances full. The clubs absolutely know where the Premier League stands on this. We want full stadia. Over the last 15 years we have managed to achieve 90 per cent occupancy. This year occupancy is up at 95 per cent and could well reach an all-time high this season" (PA, 1/13).

EPL CEO Richard Scudamore admits clubs like Chelsea and Man City "will struggle to adhere" to UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules, but he is confident they will achieve the requirements, according to the SUNDAY TIMES. The regulations, which come into full effect in '13-14, state clubs "must break even over a three-year period." Scudamore said, "If you look at what has happened with Manchester City's latest accounts, when you see what has happened with Chelsea's, there has clearly been some action taken by those clubs to get themselves into the zone where they should be able to qualify. If you look at the trajectory and direction of the revenue -- it is about not making losses and one of the easiest ways of not making a loss is to increase your revenue." Man City's pre-tax losses for '11-12 were £93.4M -- half that of the year before -- while revenue had increased by 51% to £231.1M. Chelsea recorded a profit over the past financial year "for the first time" since Roman Abramovich bought the club in '03 (SUNDAY TIMES, 1/13).