A Trust Issue

Ian

Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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4 Responses

  1. another joe says:

    Ian, I know you might shudder at the thought about American sports and the thought of “franchises”, but I think the economic model in American sports can serve as a model for English soccer.

    1. Revenue sharing across the league
    2. A salary cap which helps reduces cost and ensures more competition in the league.
    3. Restrictions on ownership and a limit on how much debt an owner can put on a club

    Personally, I think the successes of AFC Wimbledon and FC United of Manchester will spur more supporter-run clubs in the future and I think is a very viable economic model.

  2. Simon says:

    The biggest issue with the NFL is the ease with which franchise owners are able to re-locate teams to different cities, and it is this alone that would make me object to having a similar franchise-system in England.

    However, I agree wholeheartedly that the revenue sharing and salary cap aspects of the NFL should be looked at for football in England in order to provide a competitive playing field. Having the same four clubs competing season-in season-out for the Premier League title is not just morally wrong – it’s just plain boring.

  3. AtlantaPompey says:

    Almost 2 billion pounds of debt is not a sustainable business model. At some point, you have to pay off the debt or you won’t be able to get more loans. In these economic times, I find it unbelievable that clubs are still trying to mortgage the future to pay the present. That bubble will burst, as it already has for some clubs.

    What clubs outside the big four can’t do on the field, they will accomplish through the self-destruction of one or more of the big four: competitive balance.

    The real question is: what lessons have been learned from Leeds or Wimbledon?

  4. ChrisB says:

    The other thing to think about when it comes to American sport is that there are no penalties for crapness. It is essentially a closed shop. Even in the MLS (which is improving, it must be said), there is no relegation. I can’t say I really blame them for that; if you’ve paid $100 million for a team then you wouldn’t want to risk getting relegated. With football in the US, this creates a two-tier system in which the USL (which is supposed to be the inferior league) is sometimes better than the ‘good’ league. So that is also an imperfect model. US sports are in essence designed to increase competition; each team gets the same amount of money, and then they have the ‘draft’, in which the bad teams get first pick of the new talent.

    The revenue sharing would not work in any case because the big teams make a lot of their money from other sources, such as selling shirts etc. Revenue sharing would presumably only apply to TV deals, and even that would only work if they were prepared to negotiate collectively (which they have done up to now). I agree that clubs should conduct themselves better when it comes to debt, but I think it will take a big club (top echelon of Prem) to really screw things up before anyone takes notice, and even then the rest will just say “well, that’s not going to happen to us”. I like the idea of Trusts, but a trust is never going to be able to provide the financial backing required for a team to challenge for anything (probably not even to get promotion to the Prem). I guess it comes to what supporters want from their clubs; a well-run community club, or one that has a chance of being successful….it’s going to almost impossible to ach
    ieve both.

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