Recently there have been reports that the Argentinean government has implemented a tax law that effectively prohibits third party ownership (TPO) of football players. After getting in touch with the esteemed football lawyer Ariel Reck in Argentina, we decided to write a short blog about the consequences for the Argentinean football industry of this law coming into force and whether it has the teeth to actually stop TPO. Ariel comments on the recent developments in Argentina and I set out the basics and consequences for the global TPO market. For readers new to the concept of TPO, I set out below a brief summary below.
I thought it would be useful with Financial Fair Play (FFP) entering into mainstream football discussion to briefly set out my top ten tips to help understand the key concepts.
1) The FFP regulations not only ensures that clubs break-even. They cover a wide range of licensing conditions which are overseen initially by national football associations. Such requirements include ensuring clubs pay their debts in a timely manner.
Manchester City recently announced a £97m loss in their latest 2011-12 accounts. This led to the press and commentators fervently questioning City’s ability to comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Rules (FFPRs). The aim of this blog is to illustrate how City will be able to use various deductibles in the FFPRs to significantly reduce their losses for FFPR calculation purposes. Such deductibles come in the form of removing infrastructure costs and subtracting player contracts entered into before June 2010 (so long as losses year on year are reducing). Such deductions will almost certainly lead to a much smaller loss which although may breach the FFPRs, is likely to incur softer sanctions than an outright ban.
It has recently been reported that the Premier League (PL) is considering implementing certain cost control measures. In line with the UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules and the Football League (FL) FFP rules, the PL is continuing the growing trend of leagues and associations looking to reign in club spending to ensure long term club sustainability.
The aim of this blog is to set out what the PL proposals may look like, the practical and political ramifications of whether such proposals are likely to be implemented and the consequences of such a change to the PL rules. Such consequences include comment on the potential legal challenges, the sanctions that may be imposed for breaches of the rules and who the rules may benefit.
Football law Youtube Channel
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In case it matters to people, I should state up front that I am a Liverpool fan.
The aim of this blog is not to go into the press storm about whether the FA was right to remove Terry's captaincy prior to the criminal trial but to highlight a number of important points set out in the Magistrates Court decision ahead of the FA Independent Regulatory Commission (IRC) Hearing. The FA Hearing takes place after Terry's criminal acquittal in the Magistrates Court. Similarly, this blog is not full dissection of what came to light in the Magistrates Court but rather to assess some of the conclusions that were made and their significance for the FA Hearing.
I was away in France wanting to watch live Premier League (PL) football. Instead of venturing down to the local Irish pub, I tried to access the legitimate Canal+ channel, which I believe is a pay-TV channel, to watch the game. It appeared very difficult/impossible to view the match without buying a residential subscription. My next thought was whether I could pay a one-off price to view the game over the Internet on my iPad.
The Premier League (PL) announced in June 2012 that Sky and BT had won the latest domestic live PL broadcasting tender, providing the PL with a record £3bn in revenue. It has been reported that such a figure is a 71% increase on the previous deal with Sky and ESPN.
The average overall price per match paid by the broadcasters has risen from £4.7m to £6.6m. Sky secured five of the seven packages on offer (116 matches per season from the 2013-14 season for three seasons) after paying £2.3bn. BT won two packages worth 38 games per season for three years from the 2013-14 season, after bidding £738m.
By way of update, UEFA has modified a number of its licensing criteria in relation to third party ownership (TPO) issues. The new regulations were published recently and are available to read here. By way of a quick recap, the Financial Fair Play Rules (FFPRs) form part of the wider UEFA licensing regime.
It should be borne in mind that the new FFPRs relate only to participation in the Champions League and Europa League, and not to domestic leagues. Each club that believes it can qualify for that season's European competitions must, prior to the beginning of that season, apply for a UEFA club licence. From the 2013-14 season, the licence stipulations will include adherence to the FFPRs. Until the 2013-14 season there are no sanctions for breaching the FFPRs.
The FFPRs will therefore start to bite from the 2013-14 season. The rules need to be borne in mind, however, from the 2011-12 season onwards because the 2011-12 and 2012-13 accounts will be used to determine a club's license application in the 2013-14 season.
With the European Championship (EUROs) starting on Friday, I thought it may be topical to briefly discuss some of the ongoing broadcasting rights issues associated with the EUROs and the World Cup.
Last year UEFA and FIFA failed in an action challenging the 'listing' of the EUROs and World Cup as events of national importance. UEFA contended that they could not effectively maximise their broadcasting revenues for the World Cup and EUROs because they were constrained as to the broadcasters to whom they could sell the broadcasts.
In three separate cases, UEFA and FIFA brought actions before the European courts relating to the way its broadcasting rights can be marketed in Belgium and the UK. In particular, the UK listed every match in the EUROs as being of national significance. That practically meant that only terrestrial broadcasters could bid to screen the EUROs. UEFA challenged this decision.
What is apparent throughout the three decisions is the inherent tension between a government's duty to safeguard certain sporting and cultural events and the need for a robust and competitive market in the sale of live sports rights.
Over the last week, a number of inter-related football regulatory issues have arisen. Some of these major talking points will have significance for how European clubs and national associations continue to engage with UEFA.
UEFA Champions League Broadcast Revenue Growth
It was reported by Matt Scott in a recent Telegraph article that the winners of next season's UEFA Champions League could earn over €100m. That figure is over double the amount that Chelsea will have earned from winning this season's competition (says the Liverpool fan through gritted teeth!).
The Premier League (PL) announced today the details of its next three year UK broadcasting tender document starting from the 2013/14 season. The PL are selling one hundred and fifty four live matches split into seven packages. Sixteen more matches have been made available per season. The live rights packages will consist of five packages with twenty six matches and two packages with twelve matches.
In the last auction one hundred and thirty eight matches, spread over six packages, were marketed to interested broadcasters with Sky winning five of the six available. ESPN won the one remaining package. There is also a highlights package and various near live, internet and mobile packages available too.
It has been reported recently that the Football League (FL) is to adopt its own set of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. This follows on from UEFA's regulations which have effectively come into force this season. Various workshops were run over the summer for FL clubs to discuss what UEFA had done and to address a number of questions the FL clubs needed to consider when adopting its own set of the FFP rules.
An intention to bring the regulations into force was voted and agreed upon during the FL's annual summer 2011 AGM. This was followed up in December 2011 with the following press release:
"Owners and executives of Championship clubs re-affirmed their commitment to the principles of Financial Fair Play as a means for encouraging financial sustainability at club level. After further discussions about the practical implementation of Financial Fair Play, clubs agreed that the proposals should be finalised and taken forward to the next meeting of Championship clubs at Derby in February for final ratification. If approved, the new rules would take effect from the start of the 2012/13 season."
A few interesting issues take shape as a result of the FL's FFP announcement, and below are a number of talking points to consider.