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Volume 6 No. 197

International Football

A report commissioned by the European Commission suggests that football's richest clubs such as Real Madrid and ManU "should pay a levy on bigger transfer fees to address a revenue-sharing system in the sport that’s 'skewed' in their favor," according to Alex Duff of BLOOMBERG. A copy of the report by Brussels-based policy consultancy KEA European Affairs said UEFA adds to "existing supremacies" in the sport by redistributing less than 6% of revenue from the elite Champions League to teams that do not qualify. The report said that the NBA "has a so-called luxury tax for teams above a certain payroll." The European Commission "is seeking to encourage a review" by football authorities of the €3B ($4.1B) player-trading market after a boom in spending. Coventry University Sports Business Strategy Professor Simon Chadwick said, "The biggest clubs would fight a luxury tax. Manchester United would go straight to court. They would say BMW isn’t subject to a luxury tax, why should we be?" Real Madrid's press office said that the team "had no comment on the report." The report says that In England, Spain, Portugal and Italy, 92% or more of league titles "were won by the three most successful teams" between '01-12. The report says, "The current transfer rules do not fight effectively against competitive imbalance" (BLOOMBERG, 2/6).

Bloomberg Sports has partnered with EPL club Norwich City FC to provide fans a 15% discount on its BSports Match Analysis, which delivers advanced statistics, charts and predictive analysis. The deal, which is for the remainder of the current EPL season with a team option for '13-14, is Bloomberg’s first with an EPL club. It was constructed by Front Row Marketing Services, a consultant to Norwich City FC. Front Row CEO Chris Lencheski said, "Norwich has a strong tradition, but realizes that to succeed among the more global clubs in the EPL, they have to find points of differentiation. This is the first of several moves we will help the club with to show their marketing prowess and value." According to Bloomberg Sports head Bill Squadron, his company is currently in discussions with other EPL clubs about similar arrangements. BSports Match Analysis covers matches in the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1. The Match Analysis, which launched in September and predicts final and halftime scores, could be popular with bettors of European league matches. Squadron said, "Our projections are the most accurate ever developed and have been thoroughly back-tested." He added: "They will show clear value propositions where our numbers differ from the bookmakers."

Scottish Third Division club Rangers were Tuesday night told that "they could become the Bosman of football clubs around the world by going to court to smash the restrictions that bar their entry to the English Leagues," according to David McCarthy of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. As Rangers CEO Charles Green took his seat at the European Club Association annual meeting in Qatar Tuesday, a leading Scots advocate was insisting that "the courtroom should be the Yorkshireman’s next battleground in his bid to move the Ibrox club south of the border." Eoghainn Maclean, an expert on competition and commercial law with the Ampersand stable of Advocates in Edinburgh, believes that Rangers -- or Celtic for that matter -- "would almost certainly win their case." In fact, Maclean reckons that the mere threat of hauling the English FA through the courts, might be enough to get the clubs, which have "consistently refused to consider allowing Scottish teams into their set-up, around the negotiating table." Maclean cannot believe that no Scottish club "has challenged the English FA in court and is convinced they would succeed if they went to the Court of Session in Edinburgh to sue in competition law." He said, "Football clubs are sporting entities, but they are also businesses. So they are economic entities as well as sporting entities. Any economic entity is subject to competition law" (DAILY RECORD, 2/6).

Scottish Premier League CEO Neil Doncaster has argued that "controversial reconstruction proposals will give fans what they want and that no other plan has a chance of success," according to Gavin McCafferty of the SCOTSMAN. Plans for a 12-12-18 structure, with the top two divisions splitting into three after 22 games, have "failed to capture the imagination of many supporters and have been met with fierce criticism by some."  However, Doncaster stressed a 16-team league was "financially unaffordable" and that there was "not enough support for a 14-team top league." Doncaster warned that the more popular elements of the plan would be "lost if it was rejected." Doncaster said: "Fans tell us they want a single merged league, an all-through and more equitable distribution model, playoffs, a pyramid structure, significantly more relegation and promotion, and more meaningful games" (SCOTSMAN, 2/6).