David Owen: Balancing a £1bn profit with reality

I don’t know about you, but I always thought that company accounts were supposed to reflect financial reality.

Not, it seems, when the value of professional footballers is concerned.

Over the five years between 2008 and 2012, clubs competing in England’s Premier League booked a cool £1 billion-plus in net profits from the sale of players.

This means, in effect, that those players were undervalued by the same amount in the clubs’

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David Owen: Protests show it’s time for Big Sport to shake off complacency

Demonstrations in Istanbul; a protest over high ticket prices by football fans in London; demonstrations in Brazil.

Decidedly, the world has changed, but the question is, ‘Have the grandees who run Big Sport taken notice?’

Yes, it is simplistic to bracket these three manifestations of frustration and rage together.

The Istanbul protesters seemed indifferent to, or even mildly positive about, their city’s prospects of hosting the 2020 Olympics – although they have thrown a spanner in that particular works.

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David Owen: Financial fine print makes interesting reading, especially for Arsenal and Villa fans

I have been trawling the fine print of the new Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance (so you don’t have to).

Since football fans like league tables, I have used the data to put together 26 top-threes ranking English Premier League clubs according to different financial parameters.

I wouldn’t read too much into them without scrutinising the big picture.

However, Arsenal supporters, starved of real on-field success, may have mixed feelings about the north London club’s top ranking for most cash,

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David Owen: Not being there – how television became football’s chief paymaster

Nothing in recent years has changed football as much as television.

The box in the living-room corner has spawned Manchester United fans from Tacoma to Tahiti and made top players as wealthy as successful bond traders.

Few of us now, not even the most avid groundhoppers, consume as many matches live as on TV.

Even professional football reporters, who think nothing of covering 100 games a season, will turn instantly to the screens scattered around the press stands to assess whether a foul has been committed or the ball has crossed the line.

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David Owen: Is Spain signposting the way to a European Superleague?

Carlo Ancelotti may be about to inherit a problem.

The former Chelsea manager is, as I write this, prohibitive odds-on favourite to succeed the new Chelsea manager José Mourinho in the hot seat at Real Madrid.

If he does, the Italian will be looked to by the Spanish club’s fans to deliver a 10th European Cup to the Bernabéu’s church-like trophy-room – and the first for more than a decade.

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David Owen: The FIFA Club Protection Programme – delving into the detail

I have been delving further into the detail of FIFA’s new Club Protection Programme (CPP), the scheme designed to remove a longstanding bone of contention by compensating clubs when players they employ are injured on international duty.

I was concerned lest an unforeseen spate of injuries sent costs soaring to the point where they absorbed most or all of FIFA’s positive annual result. This stood at $89 million in 2012.

The world football governing body has now told me that they have moved to protect themselves against unexpectedly high costs.

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David Owen: Ja, ja, it’s German week in London – but should we be congratulating the FA for its foresight in rebuilding Wembley?

Yes, OK, this is the German renaissance – and the juxtaposition of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in Saturday’s European Cup final certainly indicates that German football is doing something right.

But, in one small detail, the match is a notable coup for the English game: it is being played at Wembley, the second time in just three years that European club football’s flagship occasion has been staged underneath the now famous arch.

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David Owen: Why Rooney and Europe are the big questions for Moyes at Old Trafford

In 2004-05, the most profitable club in the Premier League was unfashionable Everton.

How did Merseyside’s second club outperform more illustrious rivals such as Arsenal and Manchester United, let alone Chelsea, which ran up a £140 million pre-tax loss on the way to lifting the Premier League title?

Four words: they sold Wayne Rooney, the teenage prodigy who had made Europe sit up and take notice at Euro 2004.

This simple fact reminds us of how long the careers of Rooney and David Moyes,

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David Owen: Will football’s loss be horseracing’s gain?

News of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement brought to mind two scenes nearly three decades apart.

In the first, it is 11 May 1983 and I am with friends clustered around the TV in a cramped London apartment.

A strong Scottish contingent is hoping to witness a miracle: the humbling of Real Madrid by Ferguson’s new kids on the block from Aberdeen, a side built around the indefatigable Gordon Strachan and the formidable centre-back pairing of Alex McLeish and Willie Miller.

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David Owen: Will Club Protection Programme hand wealthy a bigger slice of the cake?

It was on 23 June 1998 – Sepp Blatter’s 15th day as FIFA President – that it started to dawn on me that the governing body was probably going to have to do something about compensating clubs for players injured on international duty.

In just the fourth minute of what turned out to be a drab group match between Italy and Austria in the Stade de France, Alessandro Nesta, the elegant Lazio and Azzurri central defender,

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David Owen: Why Valcke can breathe again – but not China

Here are a few preliminary thoughts on the reform proposals approved yesterday by FIFA’s Executive Committee.

1. Jérôme Valcke can breathe again.

The third of the 10 points indicates that the ExCo has headed off a proposal put forward recently by the 53 European FIFA member associations that could, I think, have excluded FIFA’s general secretary from running for the FIFA Presidency.

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David Owen: An Irish team that deserves to be remembered

The island of Ireland is a place where history casts a particularly long shadow.

So perhaps I shouldn’t be as surprised as I am that so few people seem to know about a proud episode in the island’s footballing history that took place 99 years ago.

I first stumbled upon this years ago during one of my periodic trawls through the pages of an old Rothmans football yearbook.

With the centenary approaching,

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David Owen: On Barclays and the Premier League

barclays premier league

The timing is quite striking.

On July 3, Bob Diamond resigned as chief executive of Barclays, in the midst of a political firestorm touched off by a £290 million fine meted out to the bank by UK and US authorities.

On July 12, it extended until May 2016 its sponsorship of the English Premier League.

By the end of August (with Chelsea three points clear at the top of the table),

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[b]David Owen:[/b] Europe’s spanner in the works puts us on course for a gran clásico of a board meeting at FIFA

David Owen_IWF

By David Owen

So Joseph Blatter doesn’t much care for the “unanimous” package of reform proposals for world football’s governing body published last month by UEFA.

The FIFA President conveyed his disappointment last weekend at a media conference in South Africa just before Nigeria’s triumph over Burkina Faso in the final of the 2013 African Cup of Nations.

I can’t say I am at all surprised.


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David Owen: Why Platini’s Grande Idée makes sense for Africa

David Owen_IWF

By David Owen

I came upon a prescient article from the Washington Post today.

It was about a West African country where poverty was said to be fuelling a resurgence of Muslim fundamentalism.

“People want schools, they want medical attention for their children,” a local sociologist was quoted as saying.

“But who is listening to them?

“Islamists, who provide them with water and fertiliser to believe the solutions are found in religion.

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