The Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up is back for another edition. Every single story this week comes from the football world so I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed if you’re expecting a few different sports to be covered. Either way, here are the biggest sports business stories from each day this week.
‘Financial Armageddon’ in the Championship
It’s a Tuesday in April and it’s snowing. Work that one out. Tuesday seems to have turned into finance news days and it’s the same this week. There were two bits of news that caught my eye today.
The Daily Mail published an article warning of ‘financial armageddon’ after ten Championship clubs were placed under a transfer embargo last month. The reason behind this is due to the pandemic and a clash between the clubs and the EFL over the filing of accounts. Government guidelines state that it is now possible for companies, including football clubs have an extended deadline to file their accounts by three months. However, the EFL haven’t copied that extension period, hence the disagreement and subsequent transfer embargo.
The clubs in question were Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, Cardiff City, Coventry City, Derby County, Huddersfield Town, Luton Town, Reading, Sheffield Wednesday and Stoke City.
However, by the end of the day a number of these clubs have had their embargo removed with quite a few of them putting out a statement to put fans at ease stating that it was simply an anomaly brought about by “unsynchronised timing”
The pandemic has created an incredibly difficult environment for football clubs to operate in and the effects will be felt for some time to come. One thing I am interested in is the summer transfer window and seeing how much of an effect a full season without one of major sources of revenues will have on transfer plans.
Meanwhile in the Premier League, Manchester City published their accounts for last season. They announced an 11% reduction in revenues (£478.4m) This included a net loss of £126 million. Now to put that in more relatable context, £126m could buy you 504 million Freddo bars. That’s a lot of chocolate…
Ipswich and Derby begin new eras
Hump day this week is takeover announcement day as 2 clubs announced they would be getting new owners. First up, Ipswich Town.
In a statement released by the club on behalf of Marcus Evans, he told fans that after months of detailed due diligence by both parties, an agreement had been signed for Gamechanger 20 Ltd to takeover a majority stake in the club. Former CEO of West From, Mike O’Leary will now oversee and manage the business.
Also in the Championship, Derby County confirmed a deal to allow No Limits Sports to become new owners of the club. The sale still needs to be cleared by the EFL’s Owners and Directors Test but a deal has been agreed between the buyers and current owner Mel Morris according to Sky Sports.
Spanish businessman Erik Alonso is the head of No Limit Sports who previously tried to buy Sheffield Wednesday earlier this year but the offer was rejected.
In a statement, Derby said “We are proud and delighted to announce No Limits Sports Limited have approached the EFL for approval to be the new owners of Derby County Football Club, following agreement with the club’s current owner Mel Morris,”
This deal is obviously still yet to be confirmed so we will wait and see what happens.
Swansea City take a stand against abuse
As we reached the end of the week, the big story that stood out on Thursday was an announcement made by Swansea City.
As of 5pm, they will be taking a club-wide stance in the battle against abuse and discrimination of all forms on social media by not posting any content for a period of seven days.
This comes after several players were “subjected to abhorrent abuse in the past seven weeks alone, and we feel it is right to take a stand against behaviour that is a blight on our sport, and society at large.” the club said in a statement.
Steve Cooper outlines the reasons behind our club-wide boycott of social media.
Over to you, social media companies… pic.twitter.com/frQ8gpvEhR
— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) April 8, 2021
All first-team players, under-23s, under-18s, Ladies team, Community Trust, senior club staff and official club channels will be taking part. Chief Executive Julian Winter has also sent a letter to Twitter CEOm Jack Dorsey and Facebook;’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg to “reiterate the club’s stance and desire to see social media companies introduce more stringent policing and punishments for those guilty of the appalling and cowardly abuse that has sadly become far too common.”
Later in the day, both Birmingham City and Rangers joined Swansea City in not posting on their social media platforms for the next seven days.
It is such a shame that it had to come to this but we commend these clubs for taking a stance. Things need to change.
The FA confirm EUROs fan attendance numbers
As England slowly emerges from lockdown and along the roadmap set out by the government, the return of fans to sporting events is something being talked about a fair bit. It’s now been over a year since most events have seen fans in attendance so it was nice to end the week with The Football Association (FA) confirming to UEFA that Wembley Stadium will be able to function at somewhere between 25% and 50% for select Euro 2020 Championship fixtures.
InsiderSport say that 25,000 England fans will be allowed to watch the national team at each game and 45,000 will be allowed to attend the semi-finals and final. The FA stated that fans will have to complete lateral flow tests the day before matches to prove they do not have COVID-19 and the possibility of spectators having to show proof of vaccination is also being discussed.
There is still long to go and a number of test events and hurdles to get past first but I don’t think too many fans will have an issue with taking covid tests and proving vaccination if it means that they get to support their national team in this summers EUROs.
That’s another week and another edition of the Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up done! This week was heavy on the football front with some big stories that will keep developing over the coming weeks. It was a week of both good and bad news really and we can only commend Swansea City for taking the difficult decision to make a stand against abuse on social media.
Here’s a link to last weeks Sports Business Weekly Wrap-up if you missed it. You can also follow us on social media to keep up with the latest sports business news and content.