TV money and English football bubble


The FA in England made upbeat noises yesterday after concluding a two-year TV rights deal with ITV for coverage of the FA Cup and England internationals, despite the £90m contract being a third less than the prevailing annual rate.  This is the latest in a deflationary trend after the Football League in England secured a deal from BSkyB from next season at a rate 26% below the current deal.

TV money is still flooding into our nearest neighbours at a rate that would allow all Scottish clubs to pay their tax bills but the downward trend is welcome for those here trying to build and retain football squads.  Although English football is awash with cash it is also heavily indebted with a compulsion to spend every penny earned.  Downsizing, if necessary, will be a challenge.

The FA Premier League remains a durable TV property but you’ll find it harder to find analysts projecting income growth for the next deal, irrespective of the successful legal challenge to price fixing based on EU areas.

A weak pound has meant earnings from overseas rights have remained high compared to pre-crash times but with euro-area and other world economies so volatile neither exchange rates nor foreign demand can be regarded as stable.  Economically speaking, English football has all the facets of a bubble, so far, one that just keeps on inflating…..

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    Published on Tuesday 17 January 2012 12:01



    VLADIMIR ROMANOV claimed today that “positive changes” within Scottish football could persuade him to stay at Hearts and invest more money in the Edinburgh club.



    The Russian businessman is refusing to dismiss the prospect of retaining his majority shareholding and remaining at Tynecastle, despite declaring last year that he would not put any more money into the club.



    He said he is open to discussing a buyout and is understood to already be in negotiations with interested parties. However, Romanov insists there is no guarantee he will sever ties with Hearts. He claims to have invested “about £200million” in the club and said he may decide to continue as the primary benefactor.



    “It may well be that I won’t leave Hearts after all,” he said. “There is many a buyer out there. But if there will be positive changes then I will be inclined to stay and invest money.”



    The changes he mentions refer to the running of the game and the media, with Romanov openly criticising the Scottish football hierarchy and its press on several occasions since assuming control of Hearts in 2005.



    He revealed that he would consider a proposal allowing him to retain ownership of Tynecastle and lease it to Hearts on a yearly basis. “I would be interested in that,” he said.



    Romanov also spoke about the recent wage delays which prompted 14 Hearts players to lodge an official complaint with the SPL. Officials in Lithuania processed yesterday’s wages on time, although some players may not receive their salary until today due to delays with certain banks.



    Hearts officials are willing to provide the Scottish Premier League with bank documents to prove wages were processed on time yesterday. On January 4, the SPL stressed the club would face unlimited sanctions if payments were not through on the scheduled date of January 16. They were this morning seeking assurances from Hearts that salaries were all in order.



    The Hearts squad received their October wages 19 days late on November 4. Their November salaries were not paid until December 15, and December’s payments were three days late. Tynecastle officials are now keen to put the issue to bed after processing this month’s wages.



    “The fact is that there has not been an instance when the players have not been paid,” said Romanov. “I told everyone about the late December wages that, when the Eggert Jonsson money [from his transfer to Wolverhampton Wanderers] was paid to us on the first working day in January, the players would be paid. I have paid out £30 m to the tax man for wages that I have paid out since I came to Hearts.”



    Meanwhile, Kevin Kyle will undergo a make-or-break operation later this month in an attempt to salvage his career after a year-long absence through injury.



    The striker, out of contract this summer, will have complex surgery related to the replacement of his hip followed by three months rest. He admits this is his last chance to play again.



    “I just want to play football again,” he told the Hearts website. “Hopefully, in three months time, I’ll be back out running, I’ll be able to take a ball again and I can start moving forward again.



    “Without question, this is the last chance. I have overcome some things in my life and this has been one of the hardest but I have never felt injured badly enough to retire. I don’t believe for a minute that I need to finish football.



    “My wee boy helps me put things in perspective. He’s never seen me play football so I’m determined he’ll see his dad run out and play professional football.”



    Contrary to reports today, Ryan Stevenson has not returned to Riccarton to train with Hearts and remains in exile.

  2. tommytwiststommyturns Kano 1000 on

    Happy birthday, SFTB!



    DBBIA – IMHO, Joe Ledley has been our most consistent performer this season.




  3. Auld Neil Lennon heid says:



    17 January, 2012 at 12:41






    17 January, 2012 at 12:19



    There has never been a precedent of tax evasion either. The principle is unfair sporting advantage gained and without EBTs the two wins in 2003 and 2005 benefitted would arguably never have happened in 2003 and 2005 when EBT usage was at its highest..

  4. With both Apple and Google rumoured to be interested in the bidding for the next EPL rights, that bubble may be inflating for a while yet.





    Yer a faffin genius!



    I stand by what I said yesterday about my mate burning the place down,but it obviously worked for you,haha..



    By the way,I’d gone to my wee wooden bed prior to your reply to my post yesterday,but I congratulate you on your use of alliteration,even though I suspect you may have been taking the p.



    If there were any left……

  6. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo – However, Romanov insists there is no guarantee he will sever ties with Hearts. He claims to have invested “about £200million” in the club



    I think he meant 200 million Litas (thumbsup)

  7. pedrocaravanachio67 on

    from last thread re keevins.



    I am amazed ( or am i? ) at how shallow this cretin is. He has called Bangura a FLOP quite freely, but takes great offence at dawwyl being called a “lazy jornalist”……when he clearly is. He was asked a question last night that had a political slant to it and his reply was : ” is this question time? ” well aye it is ya fud, we’re talking about the biggest story to hit Scottish / British football for years!





    AULDHEID 1241



    Wilful fraud by one publicly-quoted company against another is the way this will pan out. It has nothing to do with sporting integrity,that is merely a subjective term. UEFA,FIFA,et al,change the rules on a regular basis.



    My word is my bond still has more meaning to it than a mere soundbite. THAT is where they will come unstuck,and I firmly believe that it is an avenue which will be explored.

  9. Paul67






    Chesterfield are leading the race to land Celtic defender Josh Thompson, Sky Sports understands.



    Thompson is currently on loan at Peterborough but he is yet to feature this term for Darren Ferguson’s side.



    Now Sky Sports understands that Thompson is set to depart London Road for another club.



    A number of Championship and League One clubs are looking at taking on Thompson.



    But Sky Sports understands that Chesterfield are favourites to claim his signature.



    I really don’t know why this boy was never given a chance under Lennon. I thought he done superb when thrown into the team under Mowbray.

  10. TTTT – good shout for Joe, but I think James Forrest has turned games for us, lit the green touchpaper in this recent run of good form.



    We struggled a bit on Saturday, but without Forrest and Kayal, which is 50% of our first choice midfield.



    First team tims aside, ole Mo has been the king of the bounce games, like Skippy wearin’ specially made brothel creepers.

  11. BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS – Thank you. I know I make it look easy being awesome, but dedication’s what you need.



    If you want to be a record breaker, yeah. (thumbsup)



    Gordon_J backing Neil Lennon – I agree. The referendum needs to be a simple, straightforward question of “in” or “out”.



    there are many who would like to see Scotland as an EU member and also those who argue that this would be sacrificing some of its independence



    There is no independence within the EU. That much is very clear now, given what’s happened to Ireland (run by the Commission and ECB), Greece (run by an EU-appointed governor) and Italy (likewise). You can no more be independent within the EU than Czechoslovakia was independent within the Warsaw Pact in 1968. (thumbsup)

  12. As the pantomime goes on an extended run we should all aim to keep the colourful character ‘wee davie’ in the spotlight following the (cough) ‘integrity’ plot-line.




    It’s exactly what Jack wouldn’t want.

  13. Gordon_J backing Neil Lennon – Or perhaps he’s waiting for property prices to rise before selling off Tynecastle



    I hope he brought the travel scrabble. (thumbsup)

  14. In regard to the last paragraph, why do rangers not face the same fate if the case goes against them?






    Blue Square Bet South club Truro City have warded off winding up by the tax man with an 11th hour payment of their tax debts.



    The Blue Square Bet South club faced going to the wall at London’s High Court on Monday morning.



    However, when the case was called on Registrar Nicholls was told that just before 9.00 on Monday morning – a mere two hours before the hearing – the tax debt had been “paid in full.”



    As a result the judge, at the request of counsel for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, adjourned the matter for two weeks until January 30 to check that the payment has been made and has gone through.



    Provided it has gone through then the winding up proceedings will be dismissed at the January 30 hearing.



    Club chairman Kevin Heaney (pictured) said: “I have just left the High Court in London and can confirm that the outstanding six-figure sum has been paid in full to HM Revenue and Customs.



    “So from now on it is business as usual, with team strengthening and our continued commitment to the Stadium for Cornwall project. We will now be seeking to have the League’s transfer embargo lifted just as soon as possible so that we can start strengthening our squad again.



    “We are immensely grateful to everyone who has stuck by the club and helped in all sorts of ways over the last few extremely difficult months. I will be at Bromley for our next match, this Saturday, and I very much look forward to seeing as many as possible of our fantastic away supporters there – followed, of course, by our next home match a week later against Staines Town. Now it’s time for a fresh start – onwards and upwards, as they say.”



    When the club was last before the court in October last year a different Registrar granted it an adjournment until Monday to give it a chance to clear its debts.



    Failure to clear the debt by Monday would almost certainly have led to the club being wound up.



    This would effectively have handed over the club’s affairs to an Official Receiver, whose job would then be to do his best to ensure that debts are paid off by selling any assets available and then bringing business to a close

  15. Celtic v Tottenham



    Thomson, Toshney, Blackman, Fraser, Irvine, F Twardzik, McGregor, McGeouch, Keatings, Atajic and George.



    Subs: Feely, Chalmers, Watt, Jones, Herron and Kidd.


    philvisreturns says:



    17 January, 2012 at 12:43



    BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS – You win the podium of our hearts. (thumbsup)





    You’re only jealous cos I chatted her up in The Bunch of Grapes-near to Lorenzo’s.



    Still convinced you bribed that copper to pull the gun on me when I wouldn’t take no for an answer!

  17. Paul67



    I think this supports your article wonderfully. The talk of being in an ‘unbelievable position’ is quite frankly, UNBELIEVABLE!




    ‘Bolton Wanderers must avoid Premier League relegation to tackle £110m debt.’



    The fact that the outcome of Bolton’s battle to avoid relegation will resonate in Bermuda and the Isle of Man as much as the Lancastrian town which has supported a Football League team since 1888 emphasises the high stakes at play for a club attempting to avoid servicing such a mountainous debt without access to the riches of the Premier League.



    With Bolton controlled by Isle of Man-based owner Eddie Davies through the Fildraw Private Trust, a company registered in Bermuda, Coyle admitted after a meeting with Davies recently that the club’s financial health rests in the hands of the Bolton-born millionaire.



    “Eddie isn’t one who seeks the limelight,” Coyle said. “But everyone at this football club is indebted to him. He can see the bigger picture and that football always gives you an opportunity to turn that on its head.



    “But in the modern game, and accepting Eddie has poured £100million in to get this club to this level, I understood when I came in that I had to get this club back on an even keel.”



    While concerns grow over the ability of Blackburn Rovers, under their Indian owners, Venky’s, to survive the financial body blow of relegation this season, the picture at the Reebok appears equally worrying.



    With accounts for the year ending June 30, 2011, revealing a £17million rise in the debt of parent company Burnden Leisure to £110.6million — despite a reduction in the net loss from £35.4million to £26.05million — the ramifications of relegation for Bolton are clear.



    Servicing the debt – Bolton pay five per cent interest on a loan of £99  million from Moonshift Investments Ltd, a company in which Davies has a beneficial interest — would be an obvious post-relegation conundrum considering that the club received £44.69million from broadcasting revenue in 2010-11.



    Yet while monies owed to financial institutions following relegation from the Premier League ultimately proved ruinous for the likes of Leeds United, Bradford City and Portsmouth, Bolton’s debt is at least owed solely to their most generous supporter.



    The long-term commitment of Davies, who made his £60million fortune producing kettle thermostats, appears strong, yet there is an open acceptance that the club would readily embrace new investment.



    But despite rumours of strong interest from a local consortium involving boxer Amir Khan three years ago, which came to nothing, prospective buyers have been thin on the ground.



    Seemingly an unappealing investment as a Premier League club, despite owning the Reebok, training ground, academy and DeVere Hotel at the Reebok, Bolton’s prospects of attracting wealthy new owners while playing in the Championship would further diminish. Hence Coyle’s admission that the next six months are crucial to the club’s future.



    Twelve first-team players are out of contract this summer, including Kevin Davies, Jussi Jaaskelainen and Zat Knight. Gary Cahill, whose contract also expires in June, is set to leave for Chelsea in a £7million move this month.



    Should Bolton suffer relegation, the blow would be softened by the removal of 12 playing contracts which amount to more than £10 million in annual wages, but a recent 16 per cent growth in gate receipts would be difficult to maintain, while turnover would also be hit hard.



    Coyle, however, insists that the picture is not as bleak as it may appear. “I’m privy to a lot of things that other people aren’t,” he said. “I know the big picture at the club. We’re in a fantastic position for how we want to progress, but you can’t hide the fact that, first and foremost, we have to stay in the Premier League and I believe that we’ll do it.



    “There’s a degree of difference [between Premier League and Championship], but with the parachute payments, the differences aren’t insurmountable providing you look to get yourself back up. We don’t contemplate that. All I’m looking for is that we stay in the Premier League and then I believe we’ll be in an unbelievable position for the club to move forward in terms of having a better, younger team year by year. Come the summer, we’ll be in the best position we’ve been in for many years to move on and be positive.”

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