America’s money causes fear in English football


Posted on: Friday, 20 May 2022 – 13:03 | Last updated: Friday 20 May 2022 – 13:03

New prospective Chelsea Football Club owner Todd Boehle, the US media and financial manager, had to use his influence on sports and political brokers earlier this year to win one of the most aggressive buyouts in football history.

Suddenly, the American dream of owning the club came true due to pressure on its Russian owner, billionaire Roman Abramovich, to sell the team in line with the sanctions arising from the invasion of Ukraine. Now comes the real challenge: to win trophies at no cost.

Boyle’s takeover will have to overcome last – minute bargains between Abramovich and the UK government over the terms of the sale proceeds to a charity. If the deal continues, when the next Premier League season starts in August, US money will support more than half of the 20 competing teams.

The American owners were divisive figures in the Premier League. Despite watching their investments grow largely in the world’s richest aspect of football, they frustrated die-hard fans by not matching the successes on the field of billionaire-backed rivals in the oil-rich Gulf states.

“American sports culture is very different from that of oligarchs,” said Roger Mitchell, founder of sports consulting firm Albachiara. “In Europe, owners are not expected to make a profit and are criticized for it. In the United States, the mentality of Owners is to make a return on capital. This is a major cultural clash.”

Boley beat a group of compatriots and a late-night challenger among Britain’s richest people to reach a £ 4.3bn ($ 5.4bn) deal to acquire Chelsea, highlighting the demand for these sporting assets.

The American rush to English football began in the early 2000s, when the Glazers, who also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, took over Manchester United. Since then, New York men have been on the boards of “Arsenal”, “Liverpool”, “Aston Villa” and other well-known clubs.

The high growth potential and lower valuations compared to the sports clubs at home have attracted American investors to the English Premier League. The growing global appeal of English football has also opened the door to more lucrative broadcasting and marketing opportunities.

Record income

Prior to the Covid-19 epidemic, Premier League clubs generated more than £ 5bn in revenue for the first time in the 2018-2019 season, more than double the number recorded ten years ago, according to a report by ” Deloitte “has been released. Broadcasting rights accounted for nearly 60% of this figure, with an additional 28% of merchandise and sponsorship transactions, and the rest of match tickets.

That record income helped raise the valuations of England’s biggest clubs, and when the Glazers took control of Manchester United in 2005 it was said to be worth £ 800 million, and today it has a market value of £ 1 , 8 billion.

Stanley Kroenke, whose family members include the Los Angeles Rams and Denver Nuggets, increased his stake in Arsenal to more than 62% in 2011, when it was said to be worth around £ 730 million, while the KPMG Football Index estimated is. about £ 1.6 billion before the pandemic.

Despite strong revenue increases, many Premier League teams struggle to make a profit as they spend too much on players and coaches to compete for titles or avoid relegation, the process of moving to a lower league than they are in the bottom ends three in the section.

Fans are more interested in trophies and bragging rights than income and income.

Manchester United and Arsenal, the two clubs that won the Premier League title every year in the early 2000s, have not done enough lately. Instead, their henchmen had to keep an eye on Chelsea, funded by Abramovich, and Manchester City, backed by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, who is enjoying their best years ever.

Chelsea and Manchester City have won seven of the last 10 Premier League titles. During that period, Arsenal fans watched the club decline further from the top, with Robin van Persie, Alexis Sanchez and other star players sold to rival clubs. More recently, the club’s failures to qualify for the Champions League have eroded the club’s ability to attract talent.

Turks, a presenter on AFTV, a YouTube fan channel, said he regularly appealed to fans to boycott Kroenke’s family members by refusing to buy Arsenal products. “Ever since the American owners came, they have treated the sport as a business, and since we are fans, they have seen us as customers,” he stressed.

At Manchester United, the Glazers faced mistrust from the moment they took on the club’s debt burden as part of a debt – financed takeover in 2005, but tensions subsided in the early years of their ownership as the team won trophies. under the direction of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Disappointing transactions

Things changed after the legendary coach retired in 2013. Since then, the club has changed managers and players in vain. And headline-grabbing purchases like Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire and Jadon Sancho were all disappointing. The famous Old Trafford Stadium also needs to be refurbished, and many see its decay as an analogy to the Glazer family’s management of the club.

“As fans we expect to compete for the title and Champions League as we have done for 20 years,” Chris Rumpett, manager of the Manchester United Fan Fund, told Bloomberg East. “We expect the investment and the right decision to get us there.”

The Glazers and Kronke families found themselves the targets of supporter protests in, around and even above stadiums (in the form of flying banners). In recent seasons, fans have decided to make their point by not attending, so attendance has dropped in some non-Premier League matches.

But with ticket sales representing the club’s smallest source of revenue, the biggest concern for owners is the money generated by broadcasting rights, much of which depends on the Champions League qualifier each year. Arsenal have not reached the tournament since 2016, and Manchester United will miss next season.

Only the top four teams in the Premier League will take part in the tournament, and competition for these positions is expected to increase as the new Saudi owners of Newcastle United begin to show their financial strength, and the new Champions League rules can provide make. an additional spot based on the historic performance of Premier League clubs in that tournament.

wrong move

Last year, a handful of Europe’s biggest clubs took a big mistake to reduce the risk of losing the Champions League qualifier, and owners Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United angered fans by helping to separate a Super League. to organize. , which would have secured their places in a new elite competition, and all were forced to stand back and apologize after fans protested against plans that would focus on elite clubs regardless of their power and income. their performance.

Although the US owners have given no indication that the plan will be revived, Mitchell of Alpacchiara says they will probably want to switch to a sportier model that is more comfortable for them and certainty about the tournaments in which they play.

“It would be unwise for the owners involved to try,” said Mina Motha, media analyst at Ampere Analysis. [الدوري السوبر] or other owners make changes that are considered unconventional. “

Representatives from Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United declined to comment.

However, there were successes, and Liverpool, backed by Boston Red Sox owner, Fenway Sports Group Holdings LLC and investment firm RedBird Capital Partners, won the league title. The English Premier League for the first time in almost three decades is in 2020, with the previous year won the Champions League. With German coach Jurgen Klopp, the club competed for four unprecedented titles this season.

strained relationship

The Liverpool fan base has a strained relationship with the owners, and fan anger has forced them to cancel Super League plans as well as the club’s plans to give staff unpaid leave during the pandemic, says Peter Hutton, a committee member for Liverpool’s fan group. Spirit of Shankly. or Shankly), that until recently in the season, fans sang from the stands of the famous Anfield Stadium: “Liverpool have not paid, but we are still going to win the league.”

“It’s probably a sarcastic compliment,” he said. “If we did not have Klopp, there would have been many protests.”

Arsenal have also shown signs of improvement this season under coach Mikel Arteta, and the club spent most of last summer supporting the team with young talents he hopes will lay the foundation for success in the years to come.

At Chelsea, Boeley will have to achieve field success at a cost that ensures he can deliver the returns that the chief financial backer, California-based Clearlake Capital, expects. Boeley said in a text message that the private equity firm is investing in Chelsea through funds Long-term term of 15 years.

However, the investment raises questions about how Clearlake can use its expertise with the West London club, as it seeks to increase earnings for its investors. A Clearlake representative declined to comment.

Investors who invest money in Clearlake will “look for a return when they plan to leave,” says Kieran Maguire, a lecturer in football finance at the University of Liverpool. “I think you will see a very different approach to the selection of players at Chelsea, which is highly analytical. Greater”.

For now, Chelsea fans seem to be delighted with their new owner when they greeted him with a cheerful chant of “Boyele-Boyele blows for us” on May 7, in his first game since agreeing to the takeover. “I did not hear it,” Boyle said. “I wish I had.”

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