SBC’s on the ball: Russia 2018, The FA and Leicester City

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 Russia 2018, a new sponsorship deal for the FA and a positive year for Leicester City.


The Football League schedule meeting with Wolves over third party ownership

Following on from a number of Football League clubs questioning whether the structure of Fosun International’s ownership of Wolves is in breach of the rules, the Football League has arranged a meeting with Wolves Governance.

The questions surround the role of Jorge Mendes, the football super agent who has close links with Wolves and also represents the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho.

An EFL statement outlined: “At its meeting today the EFL Board considered at length the matter of the relationship between Wolves, majority shareholder of the club, Fosun and Jorge Mendes, in light of the recent concerns raised by a number of clubs.

It was agreed that the EFL Executive will meet with the management of the Club to reiterate the requirements of our regulations and those of the FA and will report back to the Board in due course.

“It should be noted that the club was explicitly informed in July 2016 of all the requirements it was expected to meet as part of the change of control, and appropriate arrangements were put in place to ensure compliance.

“The club has confirmed that the undertakings given at the time remain in place and are being complied with.”

The FA drinks in new sponsorship deal 

Carlsberg’s 22 year spell as sponsor the England national team came to an end this week as the FA agreed a lucrative, long term partnership with Budweiser. The deal, which begins next season, will see Budweiser become the official beer of the England Men’s Team will commence next season.

Mark Bullingham, FA commercial & marketing director, stated: “Budweiser has been a great long-term partner across many different parts of football, so we’re delighted with this new, bigger partnership that will take support for the game and entertainment for the fans to the next level. This is the largest official beer partnership deal that The FA has ever done, which allows us to continue to invest in all areas of the game. On top of that, Budweiser’s commitment to activate the partnership in new and exciting ways will be brilliant for fans throughout the country and for the matchday experience at Wembley.

“Our relationship with our current beer partner for the England Team comes to its contractual end after this summer’s World Cup and I would like to thank them for its support and contribution over our 22-year partnership.”

The FA currently has no betting partner, after it ended its partnership with Ladbrokes last year citing that it had changed its policy on gambling and would no longer have a gambling partner.

World First for Aston Villa with integrated fan card payment technology

Aston Villa Football Club has become the first club in the world to integrate pre-paid contactless and chip and pin payment technology into its season and member cards.

The new technology will enable fans to use their Aston Villa Season/member cards in the same way as any pre-paid payment card, including contactless payments up to £30, with fans earning Pride Rewards points at a ratio of one point for every pound spent.

Fans will be able to use their cards to enter the stadium, and at all Villa Park payment terminals, including concourses, the Ticket Office and the Aston Villa Store. In addition, the card will enable fans to shop, both at the online Aston Villa store and on the high street, with a host of affiliate retailers who will be announced in due course.

Luke Organ, Chief Commercial Officer at Aston Villa Football Club, commented: “We are committed to giving fans the best experience possible when dealing with the club, either as season ticket holders or members. The new contactless, chip and pin technology will ensure that season ticket holders and members can use their card to buy merchandise and refreshments at the ground on match day, or on the high street with our affiliate retail partners – all the time earning Pride Rewards points.”

The technology behind the new integrated payment and stadium access card is being provided by FortressGB, one of the world’s leading providers of loyalty, payment and access solutions to the sports and entertainment industry.

Popularity of women’s sport on the ascendancy

The number of fans attending top-level women’s sport in the UK is set to break the half million barrier for the first time in 2018, new research suggests. Since 2013, attendances for UK women’s sports have grown, on average, 38% year-on-year, according to sports marketing agency Two Circles. They now predict the number of fans watching women’s sport will increase by 49% on 2017 to hit 682,000 in 2018. They say growth has been driven by increased awareness and media coverage.

Vitaly Mutko replacement appointed ahead of the World Cup

After the departure of deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko, 45 year old Arkady Dvorkovich has been appointed to the role of chairman of the new chairman of Russia’s local organising committee (LOC) for this Summer’s football showpiece.

There will be a lot of pressure on Dvorkovich, who is a significant figure within Russian politics to succeed in the role after after Mutko’s resignation came amid a backdrop of FIFA being plagued with criticism over the way it has failed to pursue the question of whether the Russian FA covered up positive tests within the Russian national football team.

Mutko, received a lifetime ban from the Olympics in December and left his role citing that he had every intention of appealing the Olympic ban with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Financial furtherance leaves Foxes purring

Leicester City has reported its most successful period in its 134-year history after publishing its financial results for the year ending 31 May 2017. The earning potential afforded by the Club’s first appearance in the UEFA Champions League helped form record pre-tax profits of £92.5 million – a huge jump from £16.4 million the year previous. The addition of European competition to the fixture schedule also boosted ticket revenue by 42%, despite a third consecutive year of frozen season ticket prices.

Leicester City Chief Executive Susan Whelan said: “Securing a legacy for the Club’s recent achievements is among our greatest responsibilities, as it will be the platform from which Leicester City can grow and achieve further, sustainable success in the future.

“It is central to King Power’s vision for the Club and the determination of the Srivaddhanaprabha family to reward our fans for their immeasurable and unconditional support.”


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