Ousted Australian Football League Melbourne CEO Cameron Schwab "may be just the first head to roll" as the club "lurches deeper into its greatest crisis," according to Bruce Matthews of the HERALD SUN. After Melbourne lost its first two games of the season by a total of 227 points, Demons President Don McLardy "refused to guarantee anyone's job." McLardy: "Everyone in our football club is under extreme pressure. We're all accountable for what's happening at our club. The board will meet in the next 24 to 48 hours and we'll work out our pathway forward from here" (HERALD SUN, 4/9). In Sydney, Greg Denham reported McLardy said that supporter backlash "was the chief reason for seeking Schwab's resignation." Melbourne directors "will meet this week to form a strategy on Schwab's replacement." In the interim, that role will be filled by board member Paul Spargo. McLardy "denied any outside pressure from the AFL to dismiss Schwab." McLardy: "We make our own decisions on our football club" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 4/10). In Melbourne, Mark Robinson reported AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou echoed McLardy's assertion this "was a club decision." Demetriou: "There was enough pressure being borne by supporters and others, the board has decided to act. I think that's what happened. The groundswell of what happened at the weekend, it was almost tsunami-like" (HERALD SUN, 4/10).
Premier League side Swansea City has "announced a record profit" of £15.9M ($24.3M) for the six months up to the end of November, according to the BBC. The sale of players Joe Allen to Liverpool and Scott Sinclair to Man City "contributed to an increased profit of almost" £10M on the same period in '11. Turnover, with the exclusion of player sales, has also risen to £28.5M, a growth of 11.5% from the £25.5M for the previous six months. The club has "submitted plans to increase the capacity of the council-owned Liberty Stadium home from 20,500 to 32,000, and work is underway for a new training facility on land acquired on lease from Swansea University." A new shirt sponsorship deal "will be announced shortly," after coming to an agreement to end its contract with current sponsors, online casino company 32Red, a year early (BBC, 4/8).
REWARD SYSTEM: In London, David Conn reported Swansea City's profit will afford "a dividend for the club's shareholders" -- £1M ($1.5M) for this and last season in the EPL. Club Chair Huw Jenkins said that the £2M ($3M) dividend "justly rewards the owners, mostly directors too, who have worked unpaid to steer a remarkable rebuilding, but it risks taking a little shine off Swansea's halo." In a game acclimatizing to a new culture, in which club owners are no longer "custodians" but are motivated by making money for themselves, Swansea has "stood out as an exception, until now." Jenkins argued that "the dividend is correct, as it reflects the club's aim to make a profit, not huge losses like so many others." Dividends, he said, are a more "tax-efficient" way of remunerating directors because national insurance is not paid on them (GUARDIAN, 4/8).
EPL club West Ham United has "backed down in a row over season ticket prices" for its disabled fans with some supporters "fearing the price of admission to Upton Park was set to double next season," according to Simon Cass of the London DAILY MAIL. News of the intended price hike "reached disabled supporters late last month when they were informed by letter of the intention to raise season ticket prices to the ''band four'' level paid by the club's able bodied fans." Although no prices were quoted in that letter, the current cost of a "band four" season ticket is £600 ($919) compared to £290 ($444) for a disabled supporter, leading to fears of a 107% rise for next season. Subsequently, West Ham vice-Chair Karren Brady "has issued a second letter claiming that the board have taken into account 'feedback' from their disabled fans and have therefore backtracked on their original 'careful' pricing review." Instead, "a new 'band five' season ticket is to be created for next season," while Brady has assured West Ham's disabled supporters that any increase will be by no more than 50% when prices for next season are released (DAILY MAIL, 4/9).