SBC’s on the ball: The Bundesliga, Sunderland and Benfica

From sponsorship to the ever-expanding world of football media coverage, when it comes to the business of football, SBC has you covered. This edition looks at the potential sale of Sunderland, a united front from the Football League and a new partnership for the English FA .

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Football League clubs vote for transfer window change

English Football League clubs have opted to follow the lead of Premier League clubs, by voting to close the Summer transfer window before the first game of the season on Thursday the 9 August.

Out of the 72 teams from the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two, 40 voted for the early closure, while 29 went against. There were no abstentions and the remaining three clubs instead sent their apologies.

Currently, the European window is still set to close on the last day of August, meaning European clubs will still be able to buy English based players.

New partnership could see England heading to Qatar

The English Football Association has agreed a memorandum of understanding with the Qatar Football Association, which could see the English national side head to the Gulf state for friendly matches.

FA chairman Greg Dyke, who stated that when Qatar were awarded the World Cup it was ‘the worst moment in FIFA’s history’, commented on the new partnership: “The FA is pleased to commit to this knowledge-sharing partnership with the Qatar Football Association. We have a long history of collaboration with various national associations to share knowledge and experience to support the development of football.

“For Qatar, developing the game across the country is a key objective as they approach the hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022.”

Ajay Sharma, the British ambassador to Qatar, also spoke about the new agreement: “I am delighted that the English Football Association has signed MoUs with the Qatar Football Association and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy during the visit to Doha of the FA chairman, Greg Clarke.

“This will mark the beginning of even deeper cooperation between our two countries, and underlines the UK’s support for Qatar in delivering a successful World Cup 2022.”

Spanish match fixing halted

A match-fixing scheme involving players and clubs in Spain’s lower divisions has been dismantled by police, La Liga has announced. More than 20 people were detained across Spain as part of an operation launched by police, in conjunction with Europol, on Monday.

The matches in question took place in the third and fourth divisions over the last two seasons, and the fixing scheme reportedly involved Chinese betting sites. In April last year, Spanish police arrested several people, including players and the coach of third-tier side Eldense, following the club’s 12-0 defeat at Barcelona B.

Former Premier League champions to pay over FFP

The long running dispute between former Premier League champions Leicester City and the Football League has been settled as Foxes owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha agreed to pay the Football League £3.1m settlement.

The dispute relates to the accusation, from the Football League that Leicester breached financial fair play rules after they published a £21m loss in their 2013-14 season.

Bundesliga Ownership debate to take place

The Bundesliga’s chief executive has announced that there will be a transparent debate on whether to modify the so-called 50 plus one rule which effectively bars big investors from taking over clubs.

“It will be a general debate without backroom commissions,” Christian Seifert said on Thursday as he presented the Bundesliga’s financial report for the 2016/17 season.

“The clubs can form their opinions and then report back. We will also consult the competitions’ office, where appropriate, and the European Commission.”

The rule bars commercial investors from having more than a 49% stake in a club.

It is credited with keeping ticket prices down and stadiums full, giving Germany one of the healthiest fan cultures in European football, as it stops private companies taking over clubs and forcing changes against the wishes of supporters.

Exceptions have been granted in the cases of Bayer Leverkusen and VfL Wolfsburg as investors who have held an interest in a club for at least 20 years can ask for an exemption.

Sunderland owner ready to give Black Cats away for free

Ellis Short, the current owner of Sunderland has revealed he is ready to give the Black Cats away for free, as long as it’s to the correct owner that can feasibly take on the relegation threatened club’s debt.

When Sunderland last published results they announced debt of £137.3m, since then Short has revealed that he is open to offers for the club, setting an asking price for the club of £170m, a figure that will inevitably decline as the threat of successive relegations grows for Sunderland.

Benfica partners with The Football Business Academy

Portuguese champions, Benfica have unveiled a new partnership with The Football Business Academy, as part of the partnership the Swiss educational institution and the Benfica will collaborate on educational and professional development issues.

Domingos Almeida Lima, Vice-President of SL Benfica outlined: “Under the scope of our internationalisation strategy, it is with great satisfaction that we embrace this partnership with The FBA.

“Benfica has been strongly betting on investigation and innovation applied to sports and to the business which involves it. We have been stimulating the proximity with several university institutions in Portugal and overseas. This partnership will also give us the opportunity to value our staff and to welcome international resources.”

Sports Direct launches new Esports arenas

Sports Direct has announced that they will install 16 new esports arenas in stores across the UK. The sports retailer owns 25.8% of Game Digital and are planning the 50% purchase of Game owned esports arena company Belong.

In 2017 the esports industry brought in a massive $1.5bn in revenue, a value that is expected to rise to $2.3bn by 2022. By providing esports arenas within Sports Direct stores, the company will hope to see a rise in customers after profits have decreased in recent years.

Belong, which launched in 2017, currently runs 19 venues throughout the UK which charge up to £7 an hour to play as well as offering other experiences such as VR or party packages.

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