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Volume 6 No. 216

International Football

Brazilian sports business consulting firm Pluri Consultoria released a study of the average crowd at football matches during the '13-14 season, according to Rafael Ocampo of LA AFICION. Germany's Bundesliga led all leagues with an average crowd of 43,173, followed by the EPL with an average of 36,589 fans per match. Rounding out the top five were La Liga (26,867), Serie A (23,365) and Liga MX (22,939). Attendance last season in both La Liga (-6%) and Mexico's top flight (-5%) fell from the numbers registered during the previous season. In five of the top 10 leagues globally, the average crowd represented a decrease from the previous year, compared to four leagues in the top 10 that registered larger average crowds. Attendance at Argentine first division matches remained the same as during the previous season (LA AFICION, 7/23). For the complete results of Pluri's study, click here.

'13-14 Average Game Attendance
League Average Crowd Change (%)
Bundesliga 43,173 +1
Premier League 36,589
La Liga
26,867 -6
Serie A
Liga MX 22,939 -5
Ligue 1
Argentine First Division  
Dutch Eredivisie
19,289 -2
Major League Soccer
18,743 -1
Chinese Super League 18,571 -1

English Premier League bosses "are on the brink of sanctioning an unprecedented winter break in 2022 to accommodate the Qatar World Cup," according to George Scott of the London DAILY STAR. Talks "have been held with FIFA and other top European leagues to come to an agreement about changing the entire football calendar." Officials accept that "there is no chance of playing during the summer in Qatar, with the only debate now whether the tournament is played in November-December or January-February." The Premier League "has been battling for the former option" as it wants players to be back in time for the traditional Christmas and New Year fixtures (DAILY STAR, 7/23).

Several senior German lawmakers have raised the possibility of stripping Russia of its right to host the 2018 World Cup and the national football federation said that "it was very worried about events following the downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine," according to Madeline Chambers of REUTERS. Michael Fuchs, deputy head of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc in the German parliament, said that taking away Russia's right to hold the football tournament "may have a significantly greater impact than more economic sanctions." Fuchs: "The FIFA football association should think about whether Moscow is an appropriate host if it can't even guarantee safe airways." It "would be unprecedented for the footballing world to deprive a country of hosting the World Cup once it has been awarded." Russia "was selected in 2010 to host the event." Interior Minister of the state of Hesse Peter Beuth said staging the World Cup in Russia in '18 would be "unimaginable" if Russian President Vladimir Putin did not actively cooperate with the crash investigation. A member of Bavaria's conservative Christian Social Union, Stephan Mayer, said withdrawing the World Cup from Russia "should not be taboo." FIFA said earlier this week that "it could not comment." German FIFA Exec Committee member Theo Zwanziger "played down the possibility of moving the tournament." Zwanziger: "The World Cup has been awarded to Russia, contracts have been signed and rights issued. Sport must go places even if it is painful" (REUTERS, 7/23).

Every year, the marketing departments of Spanish football clubs "look to sell the same thing as the previous year, but with a new ingredient: the excitement of competing in the Champions League or the excitement of promotion," among other things, according to Darío Ojeda of EL CONFIDENCIAL. One thing "is clear: buying season tickets is worth it for fans who regularly attend matches." Among the top European leagues, "based on figures from '13," the Spanish Football League (LFP) had the most expensive single-game tickets. Seeing one game cost between €31 ($42) and €154 ($207), while in the Premier League, single-game tickets ranged from €36 ($48)-€73 ($98). However, "prices for season tickets are not as expensive." In both La Liga and the Spanish second division, the prices for season tickets "are much more in touch with reality" than the prices for single-game tickets. For '14-15, the average of all La Liga teams' most expensive season tickets costs €776 ($1,040), not counting VIP or box seats. The average cheapest season ticket across all clubs costs €228 ($307). Both of those figures are "lower than what fans pay for the EPL." The cheapest La Liga season ticket this year will be at Levante at a price of €130 ($175), while Real Madrid will lead the league with the price of its most expensive season ticket -- €1,840 ($2,480) (EL CONFIDENCIAL, 7/23).


Man City U21s "walked off during a friendly in Croatia after one of their players was allegedly racially abused by an opponent," according to the BBC. The game against HNK Rijeka "was abandoned after the incident involving French midfielder Seko Fofana, who was sent off after an off-the-ball clash." Man City said, "A decision was taken by the management staff to withdraw from the field and cancel the game." City added that club representatives are liaising with officials, the match organizers and the Croatian FA to "pursue the matter further" (BBC, 7/23). REUTERS' Zoran Radosavljevic wrote HNK Rijeka "issued a strongly-worded statement on Wednesday denying any racism during Tuesday's abandoned friendly." Rijeka youth coach Ranko Buteka also denied any of his players racially insulted any Man City player during the game and said that Man City coach Patrick Vieira "may have led his team off at halftime because Rijeka were too strong for them." The game "was stopped after an alleged incident of racist abuse" against Fofana just before halftime. Fofana "had been shown a red card for an off-the-ball incident." In a statement, the club "rejected any racist allegations." The statement said, "We strongly reject unfounded racism allegations mentioned in the statement Manchester City has posted on its website and want to stress that Rijeka itself had six players from Nigeria on the team" (REUTERS, 7/23).