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Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) hires lawyer Laurent Platini, son of UEFA president Michel Platini. QSI, an arm of the Qatari government, owns a majority interest in the leading French club Paris St. Germain (PSG—see May 31, 2011) and is also Barcelona’s shirt sponsor. Michel Platini voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup (see Around 2:30 p.m. December 2, 2010). [Goal(.com), 1/28/2011] Platini is also one of the men responsible for ensuring PSG complies with incoming financial fair play regulations, something it may have difficulty doing. [Observer, 1/29/2011]

Entity Tags: Paris Saint-Germain Football Club, Qatar Sports Investments, Laurent Platini

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Mohamed bin Hammam, the Qatari president of the Asian Football Confederation, tells a press conference that the 2022 World Cup will be held only in Qatar and will not be shared with other neighbouring countries. In addition, it will be held in summer, as originally planned. The comments come in response to suggestions from FIFA president Sepp Blatter and vice president Michel Platini that the tournament should be shared with other Gulf nations. Although bin Hammam does not directly comment on the chances of him standing against Blatter for the position of FIFA president in June, he does mention two of the issues involved; he alludes to both Blatter’s advanced age and the need for FIFA to introduce term limits for the presidency. Bin Hammam implies that FIFA presidents should serve no more than two four-year terms. Blatter’s third term is coming to an end. [Associated Press, 1/29/2011]

Entity Tags: Asian Football Confederation, Joseph S. Blatter, Michel Platini, Mohamed bin Hammam

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Chelsea announces a huge loss of £70.9m for the 2009-2010 football season, in which the club won the league and cup double. In the previous season the loss had been £44.4m (see December 30, 2009), although in the two years before that it was around £70m. Chelsea blames the loss on the amortization of player transfer fees, which means how much a player’s value in the accounts decreases over the length of his contract. Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck describes the results as “significant progress,” and cites what the club calls a “net cash inflow of £3.8m” as evidence. Buck says, “That the club was cash generative in the year when we recorded a historic Premier League and FA Cup double is a great encouragement and demonstrates significant progress as regards our financial results.” The same day as the loss is announced, Chelsea pays Liverpool a record £48m for Spanish striker Fernando Torres. [Independent, 2/1/2011]

Entity Tags: Bruce Buck, Chelsea F.C.

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Deloitte publishes its Football Money League rankings for the 2009-2010 season, in which the top 10 clubs are exactly the same, although in a slightly different order, as they were the previous year (see March 2010). The rankings of the top 20 European clubs and their football earnings are:
(1) Real Madrid (€438.6m)
(2) FC Barcelona (€398.1m)
(3) Manchester United (€349.8m)
(4) Bayern Munich (€323.0m)
(5) Arsenal (€274.1m)
(6) Chelsea (€255.9m)
(7) AC Milan (€235.8m)
(8) Liverpool (€225.3m)
(9) Internazionale (€224.8m)
(10) Juventus (€205.0m)
(11) Manchester City (€152.8m)
(12) Tottenham Hotspur (€146.3m)
(13) Hamburger SV (€146.2m)
(14) Olympique Lyonnais (€146.1m)
(15) Olympique de Marseille (€141.1m)
(16) Schalke 04 (€139.8m)
(17) Atletico Madrid (€124.5m)
(18) AS Roma (€122.7m)
(18) Vfb Stuttgart (€114.8m)
(20) Aston Villa (€109.4m) [Deloitte, 2/2011 pdf file]

Entity Tags: Olympique de Marseille, Bayern Munich, Olympique Lyonnais, Roma, Tottenham Hotspur F.C., VfB Stuttgart, Milan, Aston Villa, Arsenal F.C., Manchester United F.C., Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, Liverpool F.C., Deloitte, Club Atlético de Madrid, S.A.D., Manchester City F.C., FC Barcelona, Chelsea F.C., Hamburg SV, Internazionale, Juventus, Fussball-Club Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Sunderland announces that the club lost £27.9m for the 2009-10 football season, £1.4m more than it lost the previous term. The club turned over £65.4m, compared to £64.6m the previous season, so the loss is equivalent to almost 40 percent of turnover. The main cost item was player wages, which were £46.63m, having increased by £2.5m from the previous season. Matchday revenue fell by over a million pounds to £12.6m, whereas television and media payments increased by almost £4m. [Press Association (London), 2/15/2011]

Entity Tags: Sunderland A.F.C.

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Unsuccessful FIFA presidential candidate Grant Wahl.Unsuccessful FIFA presidential candidate Grant Wahl. [Source: Sports Illustrated]Sports Illustrated journalist Grant Wahl announces a bid for the FIFA presidency, joining the incumbent Sepp Blatter and Asian strongman Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar in the race. In order to be on the ballot for the summer election, however, Wahl has to be nominated by one FIFA member by April 1. Wahl criticizes Blatter for the corruption that dogged the recent World Cup bidding process and says that trusting Blatter to clean up the organization is like “trusting a Tour de France winner to oversee cycling’s anti¬doping program.” He also dismisses bin Hamman as “just another FIFA insider.” Wahl’s program is:
bullet Clean up the organization, including “releasing all of its internal documents, WikiLeaks-style, and commissioning an independent investigation using the guidelines of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act”;
bullet Enhancing the role of women in FIFA, including appointing a female general secretary;
bullet Support for instant replay;
bullet The World Cup will be refereed by the best referees, regardless of where they come from, and they will have to explain decisions to the press after games;
bullet Yellow cards will no longer be awarded for removing a shirt following a goal;
bullet A limit of two terms will be imposed on the FIFA president.
While Wahl’s chances of being nominated are slim, he comments, “I actually think I would beat Blatter if the election were left up to the world’s soccer fans (instead of the current system of one vote per FIFA member nation).” [Sports Illustrated, 2/17/2011]

Entity Tags: Mohamed bin Hammam, Grant Wahl, Joseph S. Blatter, International Federation of Association Football

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

UEFA director of competitions Giorgio Marchetti thinks Champions League final tickets are not overpriced.UEFA director of competitions Giorgio Marchetti thinks Champions League final tickets are not overpriced. [Source: Getty Images] (click image to enlarge)UEFA announces the prices for the 2011 Champions League final, to be held in May at Wembley Stadium in London. Tickets will go on sale at £300, £225, £150, and £80, plus a £26 charge described as an “administration fee.” This represents a substantial increase over previous years. For example, just two years ago the £150 category three tickets cost only £80. The Champions League final was recently moved to Saturday, allegedly so that more children could attend (see November 30, 2007). However, only 500 discounted tickets are made available to children; they cost £113, have to be purchased with an adult ticket costing £225, and also incur the “administration fee,” giving a total cost of £364.
UEFA Justification - UEFA’s director of competitions Giorgio Marchetti insists the prices are based on the market rate and compare with those for the World Cup final. “The prices are based on the type of event and when you compare it to other events we don’t think that the Champions League final is overpriced,” he says. “This is the market price. Do you think we would have trouble filling Wembley if the prices were higher? Do you think it would be different? We try to strike a balance between the interest of supporters and the interest of the event. Why should we price the tickets lower than what we think is a fair level?”
'A Pretty Disgusting Cake' - However, the prices meet with disapproval from the media and fans. “These prices are absolutely outrageous and take ticket pricing to an absurdly stratospheric new level,” says Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters Federation. “In a difficult economic climate, not only in this country but across Europe, where supporters may be coming from, this represents disgraceful exploitation of fans.” He adds: “To ask fans to fork out between £150 and £300 for a single match ticket is outrageous and strikes as profiteering at the supporters’ expense. That’s before we even get started on the £26 administration fee which is the cherry on top of a pretty disgusting cake. UEFA should be ashamed of themselves and there is no way of justifying such a high fee. It is totally unacceptable whatever country the supporters are from but it will be particularly harsh on fans coming from abroad who have to add travel costs.” [Guardian, 2/18/2011]

Entity Tags: Union of European Football Associations, Football Supporters Federation, Giorgio Marchetti, Malclom Clarke

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Arsenal FC signs Jon Miquel Toral Harper from Barcelona, a couple of weeks after his 16th birthday. Due to different employment laws in Spain and Britain, Arsenal can offer Toral a professional contract, although FC Barcelona cannot yet do so and cannot stop him from going to England. Toral is not the first 16-year-old to leave Barcelona for Arsenal; the best-known such transfer was that of current Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, who left Catalonia for London in 2003, when he was also 16. Barcelona president Sandro Rosell expresses the Catalans’ displeasure over the deal, calling it “legal but a little immoral.” [Guardian, 2/24/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Barcelona, Jon Miquel Toral Harper, Arsenal F.C., Sandro Rosell

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

HM Revenue and Customs comes to an agreement with Premier League clubs that they will pay it £100m for overusing image rights clauses in players’ contracts. In addition to salary for paying football, clubs have increasingly been paying players compensation for use of their image rights, which is taxed at a lower rate. However, Revenue and Customs now successfully argues that a portion of the image rights payments were disguised salary, and the clubs pay around £100m to avoid legal proceedings. [SportsPro, 2/25/2011] The exact date of the agreement is unknown, although the agreement is reported as being imminent in February 2011 and to have been signed by 2012. [SportsPro, 2/25/2011; Guardian, 2/8/2012] The exact amounts paid by all clubs are unknown. However, Chelsea will later reveal their portion of the bill is £6.4m. [Guardian, 2/8/2012]

Entity Tags: Chelsea F.C., Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Manchester United’s parent company, Red Football Joint Venture Ltd, announces a record pre-tax loss of £109m for the financial year ending June 2010. This means the company lost an additional £29m on top of the £80m pre-tax loss posted for the same period by Red Football Limited, the football club’s immediate holding company, in October. Most of the additional £29m is interest on the club’s payment-in-kind loans, which were £233m in June, although this form of debt has since been cleared in murky circumstances. The business is not concerned by the loss, saying that the club itself is making more money, in particular due to increased commercial revenue. The total borrowings of Red Football Joint Venture Ltd at June 2010 stood at £522m, up from the 2009 figure of £514m. [Guardian, 3/22/2011]

Entity Tags: Manchester United F.C., Red Football Limited, Red Football Joint Venture Ltd.

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

An artist’s rendition of Qatar’s proposed ‘artificial cloud’ system.An artist’s rendition of Qatar’s proposed ‘artificial cloud’ system. [Source: TechFever (.net)]Scientists at Qatar University say they have developed artificial clouds, costing $500,000 each, to provide shade for stadia and training grounds at the 2022 World Cup. The work was done due to concerns over the fierce summer heat in the Gulf, which can reach up to 50 degrees in June and July. Saud Abdul Ghani, head of the mechanical and industrial engineering department at the university, says the clouds are made from a lightweight carbon structure and carry a giant envelope of material containing helium gas. Four solar-powered engines move the structure via remote control. [BBC, 3/24/2011]

Entity Tags: Qatar University, Saud Abdul Ghani

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA reminds the Swiss club FC Sion that it will be under a transfer ban in the summer 2011 transfer window, according to a later interview with FIFA’s director of legal affairs Marco Villiger. [FIFA, 9/30/2011] However, Sion will sign players in the window (see Summer 2011), leading to a dispute (see September 2, 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion, International Federation of Association Football

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke says that Qatar “bought” the right to hold the 2022 World Cup in a private e-mail to FIFA vice president Jack Warner. “For MBH [Mohamed bin Hammam, the leading Qatari football official who is now running for president of FIFA], I never understood why he was running. If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express much he does not like anymore JSB [Sepp Blatter, bin Hammam’s opponent in the race]. Or he thought you can buy FIFA as they bought the WC [World Cup].” The e-mail’s date is unknown, but presumably it is written in the early spring of 2011. After the e-mail is made public in a wave of mud-slinging during the presidential election, Valcke will say that he did not mean that Qatar officials actually bribed voters: “I’d like to clarify that I may use in an email—a ‘lighter’ way of expression by nature.… What I wanted to say is that the winning bid used their financial strength to lobby for support.” [Sky News, 5/30/2016]

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, Jack Warner, Jerome Valcke, Mohamed bin Hammam

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

British newspaper The Observer states that Mohamed bin Hammam, a Qatari, president of the Asian Football Confederation, and a senior member of FIFA’s executive committee, voted for the Spain/Portugal bid for the 2018 World Cup in December 2010. Shortly before the vote, bin Hammam denied he had a deal with Spain/Portugal to vote for their bid for 2018 in return for them voting for Qatar in 2022 (see November 28, 2010). [Observer, 5/1/2011] It is unclear how The Observer knows this, as information about who voted for which bid is secret. [BBC, 12/2/2010]

Entity Tags: Mohamed bin Hammam, Asian Football Confederation

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

A $40,000 bribe paid on behalf of Mohamed bin Hammam to Fred Lunn, vice president of the Bahamas FA.A $40,000 bribe paid on behalf of Mohamed bin Hammam to Fred Lunn, vice president of the Bahamas FA. [Source: FIFA] (click image to enlarge)Following an address to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) by FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam, $40,000 bribes are handed out to CFU member offcials in an attempt to get them to vote for bin Hammam. The meeting is held at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Trinidad, where bin Hammam, who had paid for the officials’ travel and accommodation, presents his manifesto. Following the pitch, the officials, from 25 football associations, representing 25 votes out of 208, are asked to go into a conference room. The first to enter is Fred Lunn, vice president of the Bahamas FA. He is handed a large brown envelope and, when he opens it, according to a later affidavit, “stacks of US$100 fell out and on to the table.” Lunn is not authorized to accept such a gift, but is urged to do so by a CFU official. After accepting the money, he texts his superior, Bahamas FA president Anton Sealey. Sealey then calls him to say that “under no circumstances would the Bahamas FA accept such a cash gift.” Lunn takes a picture of the money and then returns to the conference room. There he finds a queue of officials waiting to collect their bribes, which prompts him to again text Sealey: “[A] lot of the boys taking the cash, this is sad given the breaking news on the TV CNN [about corruption charges in the 2022 World Cup bid process].… I’m truly surprised its happening at this conference.” Sealey’s reply is: “I’m disappointed but not surprised. It is important that [we] maintain our integrity when the story is told. That money will not make or break our association. You can leave with your head high.” The next morning Lunn attends a CFU meeting addressed by FIFA vice president and CONCACAF president Jack Warner. “Mr Warner stated that he had instructed Mr Bin Hammam to bring the cash equivalent of any gift he had intended to bring for the people attending this meeting,” Lunn will later say in the affidavit. “Mr Warner then stated that the money could be used for any purpose… for grass-roots programs or any purpose the individuals saw fit.” By this time Sealey has informed CONCACAF official Chuck Blazer, who will have a report prepared into the matter at the request of FFIA secretary general Jerome Valcke and then go public with the allegations (see May 24, 2011). [Press Association (London), 5/30/2011]

Entity Tags: Jack Warner, Anton Sealey, Caribbean Football Union, Jerome Valcke, Chuck Blazer, Mohamed bin Hammam, Fred Lunn

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The English Football Association says it will abstain from voting for one of the two candidates, Sepp Blatter and Mohamed bin Hammam, running for the position of president of FIFA. The decision is made because of allegations of corruption made against both men in recent months. “There are a well-reported range of issues both recent and current which, in the view of the FA board, make it difficult to support either candidate,” says the FA in a statement. “The FA values its relationships with its international partners very highly. We are determined to play an active and influential role through our representation within both UEFA and FIFA. We will continue to work hard to bring about any changes we think would benefit all of international football.” [BBC, 5/19/2011]

Entity Tags: Football Association, International Federation of Association Football, Joseph S. Blatter, Mohamed bin Hammam

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Chuck Blazer, an American member of FIFA’s executive committee, goes public with allegations that Mohamed bin Hammam, one of two candidates in the forthcoming election for FIFA’s presidency, gave bribes to as many as two dozen voters. Blazer alleges that Jack Warner, the president of the North American football grouping CONCACAF of which Blazer is general secretary, was involved. According to Blazer, at a meeting of the Carribean Football Union (CFU) Hammam, aided by Warner and two other CFU officials, Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, offered cash to CFU members in return for voting for him (see May 10, 2011). [Press Association (London), 5/25/2011]

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, Chuck Blazer, Debbie Minguell, Jack Warner, Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, Jason Sylvester, Mohamed bin Hammam

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA announces that its ethics committee will investigate two members of the organization’s executive committee, Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner, as well as two Carribean Football Union officials, Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester. The announcement follows allegations of vote-buying made by fellow executive committee member Chuck Blazer (see May 24, 2011). The officials are to attend an ethics committee meeting in four days’ time to discuss the allegations. Bin Hammam is currently running for FIFA president, with the election scheduled to take place next week. Bin Hammam’s rival is the Swiss Sepp Blatter, so the ethics committee hearing will not be attended by its chairman, Claudio Sulser, who is also Swiss. Instead the meeting will be chaired by Petrus Damaseb, a judge from Namibia and the committee’s deputy chairman. [Press Association (London), 5/25/2011]

Entity Tags: Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, Petrus Damaseb, Claudio Sulser, Jason Sylvester, Mohamed bin Hammam, Chuck Blazer, Debbie Minguell, Jack Warner, International Federation of Association Football, FIFA Ethics Committee

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam refers his opponent, the incumbent Sepp Blatter, for an ethics invesigation. This follows the opening of an ethics investigation into bin Hammam, who offered bribes to 25 voters in the Caribbean (see May 10, 2011, May 24, 2011, and May 25, 2011). According to bin Hammam, the report into the matter that forms the basis of the charges against him contains “statements according to which Mr Blatter, the incumbent Fifa president, was informed of, but did not oppose, payments allegedly made to members of the Caribbean Football Union.” Reportedly, FIFA vice president Jack Warner, who is also under an ethics investigation, told Blatter of the payments. If this were true, it would be an ethics violation by Blatter, as FIFA officials are under a duty to disclose any evidence of improper conduct to the organization’s secretary general. Bin Hammam’s allegations are first made in a letter to FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, but are then reported in the media. [Guardian, 5/26/2011] FIFA’s ethics committee will open an investigation of Blatter (see May 26, 2011).

Entity Tags: Joseph S. Blatter, Jerome Valcke, Mohamed bin Hammam, International Federation of Association Football

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA’s ethics committee opens an investigation into the organization’s president, Sepp Blatter. The investigation was proposed by Blatter’s presidential rival in a forthcoming election, Mohamed bin Hammam (see May 26, 2011). According to bin Hammam, Blatter knew of but did not oppose bribes bin Hammam is said to have offered 25 presidential voters. Blatter did not report the bribes, although FIFA’s code of ethics apparently places a duty to report such conduct on all officials. [Daily Telegraph, 5/27/2011] The ethics committee will clear Blatter of the allegations, saying the bribes had not actually been paid when he learned of them, so there was no duty to report (see May 29, 2011).

Entity Tags: Jerome Valcke, International Federation of Association Football, Joseph S. Blatter, Mohamed bin Hammam, FIFA Ethics Committee

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Jack Warner, vice president of FIFA and president of the CONCACAF grouping of North and Central American football associations, promises a “football tsunami” of dirty laundry if an ethics committee hearing goes against him. Warner is facing bribery charges due to an alleged attempt by FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam to bribe Carribean voters (see May 25, 2011). “I tell you something, in the next couple days you will see a football tsunami that will hit FIFA and the world that will shock you,” says Warner in Port of Spain. “The time has come when I must stop playing dead so you’ll see it, it’s coming, trust me. You’ll see it by now and Monday. I have been here for 29 consecutive years and if the worst happens, the worst happens.” Warner also insists he is not guilty of a “single iota of wrongdoing,” says he he could walk away from FIFA, as “you must never get too attached to anything,” claims, “I am wielding more power in FIFA now than sometimes even the president, I must be the envy of others,” and adds that he voted for the US to hold the 2022 World Cup finals (see Around 2:30 p.m. December 2, 2010). [Daily Telegraph, 5/28/2011]

Entity Tags: Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, Jack Warner, International Federation of Association Football

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

At a hearing on bribery allegations, FIFA’s ethics committee clears the organization’s president Sepp Blatter of wrongdoing, but provisionally suspends his presidential rival Mohammed bin Hammam, FIFA vice president Jack Warner, and two other officials. The allegations stemmed from a meeting in early May, when bin Hammam, aided by Warner and the other two officials, Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester of the Caribbean Football Union, paid voters to support bin Hammam (see May 10, 2011). The allegations were broken by FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer, leading to ethics referrals for the five officials (see May 25, 2011 and May 26, 2011). According to Namibian judge Petrus Damaseb, who chairs the committee meeting, Blatter is not guitly of the charges against him—that he knew of the bribes, but failed to report them—because he only knew of them in advance. Damaseb says, “The committee took the view that the obligation to report did not arise because at that stage no wrongdoing had occurred.” [ESPN, 5/29/2011] The relevant section of FIFA’s ethics code states, “Officials shall report any evidence of violations of conduct to the FIFA secretary general, who shall report it to the competent body.” [FIFA, 2009 pdf file] According to the ethics committee, there is therefore no duty under the code to report forthcoming violations of ethics. However, the committee decides that the other four officials have a case to answer and are provisionally suspended from all football-related activity. [ESPN, 5/29/2011]

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, FIFA Ethics Committee, Debbie Minguell, Petrus Damaseb, Jason Sylvester, Joseph S. Blatter, Mohamed bin Hammam

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Mohammed bin Hammam, the Qatari head of the Asian Football Confederation, pulls out of the race to become president of FIFA. His withdrawal means that the incumbent, Sepp Blatter, is unopposed in the election. Both bin Hammam and Blatter face corruption charges and are due to attend an ethics committee meeting today to answer allegations about their alleged involvement in bribery, ahead of the presidential vote in three days’ time. “It saddens me that standing up for the causes that I believed in has come at a great price—the degradation of FIFA’s reputation. This is not what I had in mind for FIFA and this is unacceptable,” says bin Hammam. “I cannot allow the game that I loved to be dragged more and more in the mud because of competition between two individuals. The game itself and the people who love it around the world must come first. It is for this reason that I announce my withdrawal from the presidential election.” [Guardian, 5/28/2011]

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, Mohamed bin Hammam

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FC Sion win the Swiss Cup, beating Neuchatel Xamax 2-0 in the final. The result means that Sion qualify for next year’s edition of the Europa League. [UEFA, 5/29/2011] Sion are currently operating under a transfer ban imposed due to a rule breach (see April 16, 2009). As a result they were unable to sign new players during the winter break of this season (see January 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Neuchatel Xamax FC

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Qatari Investment Authority buys a 70 percent stake in the leading French club Paris St. Germain. The club’s former controlling investor, the US Colony Capital group, retains an interest of nearly 30 percent. The takeover comes after PSG finished fourth in Ligue 1—their highest placing since 2004—and reached the French cup final. [ESPN, 5/31/2011] The investment will be operated by Qatar Sports Investments, an arm of the new owners. [Guardian, 11/22/2011]

Entity Tags: Qatar Sports Investments, Paris Saint-Germain Football Club, Qatari Investment Authority, Colony Capital

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss club FC Sion signs several new players, despite an apparent transfer ban. The new players are Guilherme Afonso (from Lugano), Pascal Feindouno (Monaco), Gabriel Garcia De La Torre (aka “Gabri,” Umm-Salal), Stefan Glarner (Thun), José Gonçalves (St. Gallen), Billy Ketkeophomphone (Strasbourg), and Mario Mutsch (Metz). [Swiss Football League, 2011] The transfer ban was to last for two transfer windows (see April 16, 2009 and June 1, 2010). Sion signed several players the previous summer (see Summer 2010), but nobody arrived during the winter transfer window (see January 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Instead of releasing €12 billion ($17.2 billion) to help the Greek government’s worsening economic and political crises, EU leaders assembling in Luxembourg for seven hours, from Sunday night into Monday morning, place more pressure on the Greek government after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) required Europe to guarantee Greece’s finances for the next 12 months. Rather than act with a sense of urgency, EU finance ministers expect the Greek Parliament and President George Papandreou to pass an austerity bill. Greece’s crises threaten to topple the euro and EU financial markets. [New York Times, 6/20/2011]

Entity Tags: European Union, International Monetary Fund, Greece, Georgios Papandreou

Timeline Tags: Global Economic Crises

Eurozone policymakers fail to reach an agreement over the weekend on financial aid to bail out Greece, resulting in a sharp market drop on Monday morning as disappointed traders react to the leaders’ failure to guarantee the next €12 billion installment of Greece’s original bailout. Widespread speculation is that a disorganized Greek default will send Eurozone single-currency nations, as well as nations around the globe, into another panic. [Guardian, 6/20/2011]

Entity Tags: European Union, International Monetary Fund, Greece, Eurozone

Timeline Tags: Global Economic Crises

The qualification committee of the Swiss Football League rejects requests by FC Sion for the registration of six newly-signed players: Stefan Glarner, Pascal Feindouno, José Gonçalves, Gabriel Garcia De La Torre (a.k.a. “Gabri”), Billy Ketkeophomphone, and Mario Mutsch (see Summer 2011). This is due to a transfer ban imposed on Sion for a rule breach by FIFA (see April 16, 2009). [Swiss Football League, 7/15/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Swiss Football League

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The appeal tribunal of the Swiss Football League rejects an appeal by FC Sion and six of its players against a decision of the league’s qualification committee, which refused to register the six (see July 15, 2011). The appeal tribunal finds that the qualification committee correctly decided to reject the applications to register the players because Sion was under a transfer ban. [Swiss Football League, 7/29/2011] Sion will apply for a court order allowing the six to play, and will initially be successful (see August 3, 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Swiss Football League

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Civil Court of Martigny and St. Maurice orders FIFA, the FIFA subsidiary Transfer Matching System GmbH, and the Swiss Football League to allow six FC Sion players to play with immediate effect. The players were signed during a transfer ban (see Summer 2011), so FIFA claims they cannot be fielded, and the Swiss Football League had ruled to this effect (see July 15, 2011 and July 29, 2011). However, the league’s rulings are now overturned. [FIFA, 11/18/2011] Two days later, the Swiss Football League issues a statement saying that the players can be used until a further court ruling. [Swiss Football League, 8/5/2011] The same judge will later affirm his ruling (see September 27, 2011), but it will be overturned by a higher court (see November 16, 2011).

Entity Tags: Swiss Football League, FC Sion, Transfer Matching System GmbH, Civil Court of Martigny and St. Maurice, International Federation of Association Football

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss club FC Sion defeats the Scottish team Celtic to win a place in the group stages of the Europa League. The first game of the two-legged playoff tie finished 0-0 in Glasgow, but the Swiss win the return leg 3-1. [Press Association (London), 8/26/2011] UEFA will overturn the result as Sion fielded a number of ineligible players (see September 2, 2011), leading to a drawn-out legal dispute.

Entity Tags: Celtic F.C., FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Two UEFA officials, president Michel Platini and general secretary Gianni Infantino, say that the Swiss club FC Sion clearly breached a transfer ban imposed on it and that the club should not resort to civil courts. Sion used players signed while it was operating under the ban (see April 16, 2009) to win a Europa League playoff (see August 25, 2011). However, their opponents Celtic have now appealed to UEFA to overturn the result. Platini says that the players were fielded “in clear violation of the ban,” adding, “FC Sion has not respected the rules of the transfer ban—they signed players and then played those players.” Infantino says the case will be dealt with in house. “The civil court ruling does not affect UEFA,” he says. “We will look at our rules and the FIFA rules. There is a ruling by FIFA, [the Court of Arbitration for Sport] have ruled, it went to the Swiss supreme court, and everything was confirmed but it has been challenged again.” Infantino also sets out the key point of the dispute, saying, “It is an interpretation question which is complicated—whether a two transfer-window ban means two transfer windows or parts of several transfer windows.” [Press Association (London), 8/26/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Gianni Infantino, Michel Platini, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA president Sepp Blatter says that civil courts should not be used in the dispute with the Swiss club FC Sion. Although operating under a transfer ban (see April 16, 2009), Sion signed several new players (see Summer 2011) and used them to secure a place in the Europa League (see August 25, 2011), which UEFA is now reviewing. “Tell me,” says Blatter, “on what grounds we should grant an exception to a club where millions of others follow the rules?” He adds: “I like the way [FC Sion owner Christian] Constantin makes things happen generally, but one of the fundamental principles of football is not using the civil courts with our internal regulations. FIFA judged the case and found Sion guilty.” [Daily Mail, 8/29/2011]

Entity Tags: Joseph S. Blatter, International Federation of Association Football, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

UEFA throws the Swiss Club FC Sion out of the Europa League for fielding ineligble players. The players were ineligible because they were signed during a transfer ban imposed on the club (see Summer 2011) as punishment for rule-breaking (see April 16, 2009). The players played in a two-legged playoff tie with Celtic, and UEFA now awards each leg to the Scottish club 3-0. [UEFA, 9/2/2011] Sion will appeal the ruling, but the decision will stand (see September 13, 2011).

Entity Tags: Celtic F.C., FC Sion, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Qualification Committee of the Swiss Football League rejects a request from FC Sion for the registration of player Brian Amofa. The committee says that the request was rejected because of a transfer ban imposed on Sion in 2009 (see April 16, 2009). Such decisions on registration can be appealed to a higher body within the league. [Swiss Football League, 9/2011]

Entity Tags: Brian Amofa, Swiss Football League, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

A Swiss court, the Tribunal Cantonal du Valais, rejects an action by the Swiss club FC Sion in the dispute over Sion’s ejection from European competition (see September 2, 2011) and refuses to issue an injunction. According to the court, the dispute between Sion, UEFA, and Celtic, which replaced Sion in the Europa League, does not have close enough links to Valais for it to adjudicate the matter. [Swiss Football League, 9/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Tribunal Cantonal Valais

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

A Swiss court, the Tribunal Cantonal de Vaud, orders that the club FC Sion be reinstated in the Europa League. UEFA recently threw Sion out of the league in a dispute over player eligibility (see September 2, 2011). UEFA is not represented at the court hearing. [UEFA, 9/13/2011] Later the same day, UEFA’s appeal body confirms Sion’s ejection (see September 13, 2011), and UEFA’s emergency panel decides to ignore the court order (see Afternoon, September 13, 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Tribunal Cantonal de Vaud, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

UEFA rejects an appeal from FC Sion over the club’s expulsion from the Europa League (see September 2, 2011). The ruling means that Celtic, which Sion defeated in a playoff, goes forward to the group stage of the competition. Sion can file an appeal against the decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. [UEFA, 9/13/2011] Earlier in the day, a Swiss court had ruled that FC Sion should be readmitted to the competition (see Morning, September 13, 2011), although UEFA’s emergency panel soon decides to ignore the court order and keep Sion out of the competition (see Afternoon, September 13, 2011).

Entity Tags: Celtic F.C., Union of European Football Associations, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Following a Swiss court order that FC Sion be reinstated in the Europa League (see Morning, September 13, 2011) and a UEFA appeal body ruling that confirmed the club’s ejection (see September 13, 2011), UEFA’s five-member emergency panel, including president Michel Platini, meets to discuss what to do. It decides to ignore the court order and continue to include Celtic in the competition at Sion’s expense. UEFA issues a statement explaining its reasoning for ignoring the order: the court only heard Sion representatives, not UEFA, and one of the grounds for the court’s ruling was erroneous—UEFA’s appeal body reviewed the decision shortly after the court order was issued, whereas the court thought it would not do so until after the Europa League group stage started on 15 September. “I am a strong believer and deeply attached to the protection of football and fairness of the game,” says Platini after the meeting. “I am happy that football disciplinary bodies are sanctioning clubs who are using their influence and wealth to induce players to breach their contracts. This is against all rules of sporting fairness. This is ultimately about protecting clubs, the players and football itself.” He adds: “We have clear rules and regulations that all clubs know before they enter our competitions. We cannot accept that if one individual club does not get its own way then it goes through any possible system to force its will on the others. Two independent disciplinary bodies have ruled on this issue and we must abide by their decisions.” [UEFA, 9/13/2011]

Entity Tags: Union of European Football Associations, Michel Platini, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

UEFA’s 53 member associations issue a declaration of support on the way the body’s leaders have handled the FC Sion affair. According to a statement released by UEFA, the 53 associations declare “unanimous support” for both “the governing body’s determination to uphold the statutes and regulations of football in the case of FC Sion,” and also specific persons and bodies prominent in the dispute, “UEFA president Michel Platini, the UEFA executive committee, the UEFA general secretary [Gianni Infantino], the UEFA disciplinary bodies, and the UEFA administration.” In addition, the member associations urge UEFA to take “concrete steps to uphold the statutes and regulations of FIFA, as UEFA has done,” because an “independent sports justice system is the best guarantor of equality and fairness for all participants in sports.” [UEFA, 9/21/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

UEFA president Michel Platini and general secretary Gianni Infantino are ordered to attend an interview with a Swiss prosecutor in UEFA’s home canton of Vaud over the FC Sion affair. The move comes after UEFA ignored a civil court ruling that the Swiss club should be reinstated in the Europa League, which led Sion to file a criminal complaint. UEFA issues a statement saying it is “happy that Michel Platini should go and meet the Vaud prosecutor and explain UEFA’s position.” [Associated Press, 9/23/2011] The interview will take place in the middle of October (see October 19, 2011).

Entity Tags: Gianni Infantino, Michel Platini, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

UEFA files an application with the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a decision on the FC Sion case. Although Sion was thrown out of the Europa League for fielding ineligible players (see September 2, 2011), it has taken the dispute to civil courts in Switerland (see Morning, September 13, 2011 and September 23, 2011), which UEFA does not approve of. [UEFA, 10/11/2011]

Entity Tags: Court of Arbitration for Sport, Union of European Football Associations, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

A judge with the Swiss civil court of Martigny and St. Maurice reaffirms a ruling he issued the previous month in the dispute between FC Sion and the football authorities (see August 3, 2011). The decision ordered that Sion be allowed to field six players whose eligibility was disputed. [FIFA, 11/18/2011] However, a higher court will later overturn the ruling (see December 23, 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Marco Villiger, FIFA’s director of legal affairs, gives an interview to the organization’s website on the dispute between FIFA and UEFA on the one hand and the Swiss club FC Sion on the other. Villiger says that by involving civil courts in the dispute, Sion is “irresponsible” and has done an “enormous amount of damage” to “the autonomy of the sport” and also to Swiss football. He adds that the civil actions have caused “chaos” and comments: “If every club went to a local court when they disagreed with something, international football would no longer be possible. Arguments over the games which involved ineligible players will continue long after this case is closed.” He also discusses FIFA’s communication policy on the case, saying, “Normally FIFA does not comment on ongoing cases, but we are being a little more open about this one because the other side have been so aggressive in the media.” Villiger also hints that FIFA is displeased with the Swiss FA’s handling of the matter, saying that member associations are responsible for enforcing FIFA’s decisions: “If an association chooses not to enforce it, it’s up to us to sanction them. Possible sanctions include suspensions, expulsion from competitions, and so forth. If we can no longer enforce decrees, the whole system is in danger.” [FIFA, 9/30/2011] FIFA will later make such a threat against the Swiss FA explicit (see December 17, 2011).

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, Marco Villiger

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

A Swiss court again finds in favour of FC Sion in its dispute with UEFA over the club’s expulsion from the Europa League. The Civil Court of the Canton of Vaud instructs UEFA to reinstate the club in the Europa League and orders that UEFA pay the maximum fine of 1,000 Swiss francs for each day of non-compliance. The judge says that UEFA’s actions are unfair and that it appears not to have followed its own rules in the case. [FC Sion, 10/5/2006]

Entity Tags: Cour civile du canton de Vaud, Union of European Football Associations, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

UEFA’s executive committee unanimously decides to ignore a court order to reinstate the Swiss club FC Sion in the Europa League (see October 5, 2011). The decision is taken at an extraordinary meeting to discuss the case, although the meeting is not attended by UEFA president Michel Platini and general secretary Gianni Infantino, who are to appear before a prosecutor in the case (see September 23, 2011). Neither is it attended by Peter Gilliéron, a committee member and also president of the Swiss Football Association. Instead of complying with the ruling, the committee decides to wait for the outcome of another court hearing in the dispute, this time before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The committee justifies its refusal to comply by saying that it lacks the power to reinstate the club—Sion was ejected by UEFA’s disciplinary bodies and these are independent of the organization’s executive. UEFA issues a statement saying it is therefore “constitutionally unable to apply to the letter of the super provisional and provisional measures decided by the civil court.” [UEFA, 10/11/2011]

Entity Tags: Union of European Football Associations, Michel Platini, Gianni Infantino, Peter Gillieron

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

UEFA President Michel Platini gives a wide-ranging interview to the German publication Der Spiegel on a number of topics. On the FC Sion affair, in which UEFA has decided to deliberately ignore a court order reinstating Sion in the Europa League, Platini is asked, “How is it that you can simply ignore a court’s ruling?” He replies: “The prosecutor will pose that question to me on October 19 (see September 23, 2011 and October 19, 2011). I can’t talk about it now.” He also talks about how he sees the significance of the dispute: “It would be a catastrophe for the sport if everyone could go to court at any time. Imagine if a player got a red card and found a judge who said: ‘The referee and the football association are preventing him from performing his job.’ A ban on working! We could all just call it quits… If a court decision finds that the six ineligible players should have been allowed to play, it would be a disaster, the end of football.” On the topic of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules Platini says the aim is to “introduce some fairness,” but does not know whether it will benefit German clubs specifically. Asked about the absence of specific penalties in the regulations, Platini replies, “It’s not about killing the clubs; we want to help them. There is a range of possible sanctions, including monetary fines, a ban on signing new players and the exclusion from competitions.” Platini also says that he has been sure for the last two months that the 2012 European Championships will be in Poland and Ukraine, as planned. Previously, there was a risk part of the tournament would be taken away from Ukraine and played in Germany. Finally, he refuses to confirm he will succeed Joseph Blatter as FIFA president in 2015. [Der Spiegel (Hamburg), 10/14/2011]

Entity Tags: Michel Platini, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Court of Arbitration for Sport decides some procedural issues in the dispute between UEFA and the Swiss club FC Sion over the club’s expulsion from the Europa League (see September 2, 2011 and September 26, 2011). The court confirms its competence to decide the merits of the case, dismisses a request by FC Sion for a stay of proceedings, and confirms the nomination of the arbitrator originally chosen by FC Sion. In addition, the court’s statement sent to the parties twice states that FC Sion is committing “clear abuse of [court] procedures” through its attempts at legal maneuvering. [UEFA, 10/15/2011]

Entity Tags: Court of Arbitration for Sport, Union of European Football Associations, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Owners of English Premier League teams from the US and Asia want to end promotion to and relegation from the English Premier League, according to League Managers’ Association chief executive Richard Bevan. Five English clubs are owned by Americans (Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Aston Villa, and Sunderland), and Manchester City, Chelsea, and Blackburn are also owned by foreigners. “There are a number of overseas-owned clubs already talking about bringing about the avoidance of promotion and relegation in the Premier League. If we have four or five more new owners, that could happen,” says Bevan, speaking at the Professional Players Federation conference in London. “You’ll find that with American owners and you’ll find that with some of the Asian owners as well. If you look at sport all around the world and you look at sport owners trying to work out how to invest and make money, you’ll find that most of them like the idea of franchises. If you take, particularly, American owners, without doubt there have been a number of them looking at possibly having more of a franchise situation. That would mean no promotion or relegation. That would obviously not be good news for English football.” According to Bevan the solution is, “You need to make sure that the FA is strong enough to ensure that the principles on which our clubs are run, if I’m an owner coming in, I must recognise and embrace the history, the tradition, the supporters, the community, the philosophy of actually how this club should be operating and not deciding my club should be taken abroad or whatever.” According to the Press Association, such an outcome is unlikely, because, “Even if a two-thirds majority of Premier League clubs voted in favour of abolishing relegation, the move would still be unlikely to come about as the league’s own rules dictate it would also require approval from the FA, which would expect to hear widespread opposition from the rest of the game.” [Press Association (London), 10/17/2011]

Entity Tags: League Managers’ Association, Richard Bevan

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

UEFA explains the ways in which the Swiss club FC Sion could be reintegrated into the 2011-2012 Europa League to the Swiss court Tribunal Contonal de Vaud, following a court order it do so. Sion could be reintegrated into Group I as a fifth team and either eight additional fixtures would be played, or all previous results would be ignored and the group would start again with teams only playing each other once. Alternatively, Sion would simply join the competition in the next round. [UEFA, 10/17/2011] Sion will lose the legal battle and will not be reinstated (see December 15, 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Tribunal Cantonal de Vaud, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss judicial body Tribunal Cantonal de Vaud rejects an application by the Swiss club FC Sion that it order UEFA to immediately reinstate the club in the 2011-2012 Europa League. In particular, the court rejects the request that UEFA be ordered to enable Sion to play the French team Stade Rennais in the next round of fixtures instead of Celtic. Sion defeated Celtic in a playoff, but were then thrown out of the competition for fielding ineligible players and the Scottish team invited back in (see September 2, 2011). [UEFA, 10/18/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Union of European Football Associations, Tribunal Cantonal de Vaud

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

A Swiss prosecutor interviews UEFA president Michel Platini and general secretary Gianni Infantino over the FC Sion case. UEFA threw Sion out of the Europa League for breaching a transfer ban (see September 2, 2011), but this led to a legal dispute and Sion filed a criminal complaint against UEFA, which is the reason for the interview (see September 23, 2011). [UEFA, 10/19/2011; Agence France-Presse, 10/19/2011] Details of what is said in the interview are unknown.

Entity Tags: Michel Platini, Gianni Infantino, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Court of Arbitration for Sport sets the date of the hearing in the Europa League dispute between UEFA and the Swiss Club FC Sion for November 24. UEFA ejected Sion from the Europa League for fielding ineligible players (see September 2, 2011) and since then there has been a series of legal disputes between the parties (see September 26, 2011 and October 14, 2011). The date is conditional on it being approved by the two parties. [UEFA, 10/25/2011] The court will rule in December, mostly in favour of UEFA (see December 15, 2011).

Entity Tags: Court of Arbitration for Sport, FC Sion, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Six players from the Swiss club FC Sion appeal bans imposed on them by the disciplinary committee of the Swiss Football League. The five-match bans were imposed on the six, Pascal Feindouno, Gabriel Garcia De La Torre (a.k.a. “Gabri”), Stefan Glarner, José Gonçalves, Billy Ketkeophomphone, and Mario Mutsch, in a dispute over whether they were signed while Sion was under a transfer ban (see Summer 2011). The players and the club now appeal this decision to the league’s appeal tribunal. [Swiss Football League, 10/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Swiss Football League

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

UEFA president Michel Platini criticizes the Swiss club FC Sion for involving civil courts in a dispute between it and the football authorities over a transfer ban (see August 3, 2011 and October 17, 2011). “If tomorrow you receive a red card on the pitch and you go to a judge because you cannot play in the next match, and the judge says you are right, what can we do?” Platini tells the French broadcaster RTL. “Everything must depend on the [Court of Arbitration for Sport]. Today, we have in principle an independent disciplinary process in the federations, in UEFA, in FIFA. If nobody respects its decisions and goes before civil courts, now that justice today moves slowly, I ask myself how this could happen. What do we do if a club relegated to the second division go to a court because they have a first division budget and want to stay there?” The Court of Arbitration for Sport has just set a date for a hearing in the case. [Press Association (London), 10/25/2011]

Entity Tags: Union of European Football Associations, Michel Platini, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss club FC Sion complains to that country’s Competition Competition about the behavior of UEFA. Sion and UEFA are involved in a legal dispute over the club’s expulsion from the Europa League for fielding ineligible players (see September 2, 2011) and Sion now argues that UEFA is abusing a dominant position. [UEFA, 2/7/2011] The commission will take no action against UEFA (see February 7, 2012).

Entity Tags: Competition Commission (Switzerland), FC Sion, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss club FC Sion and several of its players complain to the European Commission over its treatment by UEFA and FIFA. Sion was punished by the authorities for poaching another team’s player (see April 16, 2009), but has allegedly ignored punishment for this infringement (see September 2, 2011). Sion’s announcement of the complaint states its belief that that UEFA’s expulsion of the club from the Europa League is in conflict with European Union law. [Swissinfo, 10/31/2011]

Entity Tags: European Commission, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

A Swiss appelate court, the Tribunal Cantonal Valais, overturns lower court rulings favorable to the football club FC Sion in a dispute with FIFA and UEFA. A lower court had twice ruled (see August 3, 2011 and September 27, 2011) that players FIFA declared ineligible because of a transfer ban on the club (see Summer 2011) could actually play. FIFA welcomes the ruling, stating, “The Cantonal Court has thus indirectly taken the same view as FIFA and the [Swiss Football League] and its ruling has indirectly confirmed the legality of the transfer ban FIFA imposed on [FC Sion].” [FIFA, 11/18/2011]

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, FC Sion, Swiss Football League, Tribunal Cantonal Valais, Swiss Football Association

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA president Sepp Blatter makes some controversial comments about racism in response to a question asked by CNN World Sport. “I would deny it. There is no racism,” says Blatter. “There is maybe one of the players towards another—he has a word or a gesture which is not the correct one. But the one who is affected by that, he should say: ‘This is a game. We are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands.’ And this can happen, because we have worked so hard against racism and discrimination.” [BBC, 11/16/2011] Blatter will soon issue an apology for the comments (see November 16, 2011).

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, Joseph S. Blatter

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA president Sepp Blatter issues a clarification of remarks he made earlier in the day about racism in football; in an interview with CNN he had appeared to suggest that a player who was the target of racist abuse from an opponent should shake the opponent’s hand after the game and forget about it (see November 16, 2011). “My comments have been misunderstood,” says Blatter in a FIFA press release. “What I wanted to express is that, as football players, during a match, you have ‘battles’ with your opponents, and sometimes things are done which are wrong. But, normally, at the end of the match, you apologise to your opponent if you had a confrontation during the match, you shake hands, and when the game is over, it is over. Anyone who has played a football match, or a match in any sport, knows that this is the case. Having said that, I want to stress again that I do not want to diminish the dimension of the problem of racism in society and in sport. I am committed to fighting this plague and kicking it out of football.” [FIFA, 11/16/2011]

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, Joseph S. Blatter

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The key hearing in the dispute between UEFA and the Swiss club FC Sion over the latter’s ejection from the Europa League is held before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The hearing follows a long dispute between UEFA and the club (see September 2, 2011). [UEFA, 12/15/2011] The court will mostly rule in favor of UEFA (see December 15, 2011).

Entity Tags: Court of Arbitration for Sport, FC Sion, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss Football League rejects appeals against the results of matches in which players signed by FC Sion during the summer transfer window played. The club was apparently operating under a transfer ban when it signed the players (see Summer 2011). The league’s disciplinary committee rejects appeals by Sion against the results of two games with BSC Young Boys on July 23 and December 4. Sion played these games without its six disputed signings. The protest is rejected because at the time of the first game none of the players was validly registered, and they were not allowed to play in the second game following a Swiss court decision adverse to Sion (see November 16, 2011). Protests by other Swiss clubs against the results of matches in which the six disputed players were involved are also rejected. A protest by Grasshopper Club of Zurich is dismsised for formal reasons. Protests by FC Lausanne-Sports, FC Thun, FC Basel, and FC Lucerne are dismissed because at the time of the games between FC Sion and these clubs the Swiss league was allowing the six to play because of orders from Swiss courts (see August 3, 2011 and September 27, 2011). These decisions can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. [Swiss Football League, 12/12/2011] The committee will issue a similar ruling concerning another FC Sion match soon after (see December 23, 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Swiss Football League

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Court of Arbitration for Sport issues a ruling in the dispute between UEFA and the Swiss club FC Sion that is largely favorable to the Europan governing body. The court finds that UEFA is not under a duty to reintegrate Sion into the 2011-2012 Europa League, a competition from which it had been banned for fielding ineligible players (see September 2, 2011). However, the court does not rule in favor of UEFA on some other matters. For example, it refuses to declare that UEFA regulations and disciplinary measures are not in conflict with Swiss law. Sion is ordered to pay two thirds of the costs of proceedings—with UEFA making up the other one third—and also to make a contribution to UEFA’s legal costs. [CAS 2011/O/2574 UEFA v. Olympique des Alpes SA/FC Sion: Arbitral Award, 12/15/2011 pdf file]

Entity Tags: Court of Arbitration for Sport, Union of European Football Associations, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA threatens to suspend the Swiss FA in a long-running dispute over the transfer of an Egyptian goalkeeper to FC Sion in 2008 (see April 16, 2009). FIFA sets a deadline of January 13, by which time the Swiss FA must comply with its instructions. Otherwise, the Swiss national team will be unable to play matches and FC Basel will be unable to continue in the Champions League. FIFA demands that Sion be penalised by forfeting each game in which it fielded an ineligible player, in particular the six it signed in the summer when FIFA says the club was under a transfer ban due to improprieties during the goalkeeper’s transfer. “The executive committee decided to give a final deadline of January 13 to the Swiss FA to enforce the registration ban imposed on Sion… and to sanction the attitude of the club repeatedly trying to circumvent this decision in a legally abusive manner,” says a FIFA statement. However, Swiss FA spokesman Peter Gilleron tells a news conference FIFA’s demand is “impractical,” although he believes a points deduction is possible. [Reuters, 12/17/2011] In response, Sion files a criminal complaint against FIFA’s executive committee (see December 29, 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion, International Federation of Association Football, Swiss Football Association

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The disciplinary committee of the Swiss Football League rejects another appeal by FC Sion over the result of a recently played game. Sion was unable to field six banned players in the game with FC Zurich on December 10 because of a long-running dispute. The committee, which rejected a similar appeal by Sion a few days previously (see December 12, 2011), says the player bans are appropriate because of a Swiss court ruling (see November 16, 2011). Sion may appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. [Swiss Football League, 12/23/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Swiss Football League

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss club FC Sion files a criminal complaint against FIFA’s executive committee in the long-running dispute over a player’s transfer (see April 16, 2009). FIFA had previously threatened to suspend Switzerland from international competition if the Swiss Football Association did not sanction Sion in accordance with FIFA’s instructions, and such suspension would mean that the Swiss national team could no longer play matches and that FC Basel could not continue in the Champions League (see December 17, 2011). Sion says on its website that the threat amounts to unacceptable blackmail and a breach of a basic legal rule. [Associated Press, 12/29/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, International Federation of Association Football

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss FA deducts 36 points from FC Sion because the club fielded what it deems to be ineligible players in 12 matches. The move comes as a part of a long-running dispute between the club and various football authorities (see April 16, 2009), following a threat from FIFA that if the Swiss FA did not do so, all Swiss teams would be suspended from international competition (see December 17, 2011). The players are ineligible as they were signed during a transfer embargo imposed after Sion signed an Egyptian goalkeeper despite him being under contract to another club. Three points are deducted for each domestic league or cup game in which one of six ineligible players was fielded. The deduction leaves Sion bottom of the Swiss first division with a points total of minus five. According to the Swiss FA, Sion may appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. [BBC, 12/30/2011]

Entity Tags: Swiss Football Association, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss Competition Commission decides to take no action against UEFA following a complaint made by the club FC Sion. UEFA and Sion have been in dispute for some time over the club’s expulsion from the Europa League for fielding ineligible players (see September 2, 2011), and the club filed a complaint with the commission in October (see October 27, 2011). UEFA now issues a statement saying the commission has said it will take no action on the complaint. According to UEFA, this decision confirms “that UEFA has not violated the rules of free competition and that the decisions of its disciplinary bodies represent neither an abuse of a dominant position nor an obstacle to free competition.” [UEFA, 2/7/2011]

Entity Tags: Competition Commission (Switzerland), Union of European Football Associations, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Chelsea announce a loss of £67.7m for the 2010-2011 season, slightly less than the previous one (see January 31, 2011). There was a modest increase in revenues to £222.3m from £205.8m, thanks to Champions League and television income. Wages were down by £4.4m on last year and operating expenses down by £7m. The accounts contain an extraordinary item of £28m relating to the replacement of manager Carlo Ancelotti with André Villas-Boas in the summer. This means that Chelsea’s manager replacement costs have been around £64m in the last four years. In addition, the accounts reveal Chelsea paid £6.4m to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to settle claims arising from a failed tax avoidance scheme that involved paying players not salary, but compensation for use of their image rights. The size and repeated nature of the loss means that Chelsea may have difficulty complying with UEFA’s financial fair play regulations, although the consequences of this are unclear. [Guardian, 2/8/2012]

Entity Tags: Chelsea F.C.

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Deloitte publishes its annual rankings of the richest clubs in European football. There is little change to the top 10, and the top seven clubs are in exactly the same positions as they were last year (see February 2011). The rankings of the top 20 European clubs and their football earnings are:
(1) Real Madrid (€479.5m)
(2) FC Barcelona (€450.7m)
(3) Manchester United (€367m)
(4) Bayern Munich (€321.4m)
(5) Arsenal (€251.1m)
(6) Chelsea (€249.8m)
(7) AC Milan (€235.1m)
(8) Internazionale (€211.4m)
(9) Liverpool (€203.3m)
(10) Schalke 04 (€202.4m)
(11) Tottenham Hotspur (€181m)
(12) Manchester City (€169.6m)
(13) Juventus (€153.9m)
(14) Olympique de Marseille (€150.4m)
(15) AS Roma (€143.5m)
(16) Borussia Dortmund (€138.5m)
(17) Olympique Lyonnais (€132.8m)
(18) Hamburger SV (€128.8m)
(19) Valencia (€116.8)
(20) Napoli (€114.9). [Deloitte, 2/2012; Press Association (London), 2/9/2012]

Entity Tags: Bayern Munich, Olympique de Marseille, Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, Roma, Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli S.p.A., Tottenham Hotspur F.C., Olympique Lyonnais, Ballspiel-Verein Borussia 1909 e. V. Dortmund, Arsenal F.C., Milan, Valencia, Manchester City F.C., Chelsea F.C., Manchester United F.C., Deloitte, Fussball-Club Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04, FC Barcelona, Juventus, Hamburg SV, Liverpool F.C., Internazionale

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

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