Sunday, February 25, 2007

Report says big European clubs get rich from Asia

In their next session, Members of the European Parliament will be considering a report on football drawn up by Ivo Belet of the European People's Party. It supports an independent supervisory body to monitor the financial activities of European clubs. It also wants the European Commission to draw up guidelines on the amount of subsidies and (state aid) that clubs can receive. The report also says Europe must act to ensure that the "essence" of football is not hijacked by "fraudulent practices and obscure investors" and that that football cannot operate under the usual rules of market competition as football clubs need rivals of a similar level to offer fans exciting games.

According to a European Parliament news release, the report comes as football at the highest level continues to grow in popularity and wealth. Revenue from TV deals and commercial franchises have made some of Europe's clubs hugely wealthy. It emphasises that "the growth in popularity of European clubs in Asia - particularly after the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea - has opened up lucrative new TV and merchandising markets for the big clubs."

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