SBC’s on the ball: La Liga, Vincent Kompany and a resignation in Russia

From sponsorship to the ever-expanding world of football media coverage, when it comes to the business of football, SBC has you covered. This edition looks at La Liga’s expansion plans, a resignation in Russia and new technology in England.

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Marriner the man to debut innovative technology in English football 

Andre Marriner will take charge of the first match in English football that will a utilise video assistant referee (VAR), when he takes charge of the FA Cup 3rd round tie between Brighton and Crystal Palace on Monday night.

Throughout the game, Neil Swarbrick and Peter Kirkup will be watching on screens, helping the ref with the big decisions of the game. All three officials have been carefully selected as the first to utilise the technology, with all three being members of the Select Group of elite match officials.  

La Liga to revive plans for controversial 39th game

La Liga could be about to replicate the Premier League’s idea of hosting a 39th game abroad, in an effort to expand the global appeal of Spanish football.

The proposition was aimed at helping the Premier League fend off competition from the other European Leagues with regards to global popularity, however it proved to be extremely unpopular amongst English fans. Furthermore, the plans also proved unnecessary, with the English top flight naturally going onto become the most valued product amongst a worldwide audience.

Nonetheless, many Premier League executives believe that in a bid to thwart England’s domination in foreign TV rights, La Liga may now plan to utilise a 39th game on foreign soil.

City captain calls for reduced Premier League ticket prices

Manchester City club captain  Vincent Kompany has called on Premier League clubs to place a cap on the price of match tickets as a method of attracting the “right people” back into football.

Kompany has recently graduated with a Master of Business Administration from Manchester Business School and, during his research on maximising revenues from home advantage, he concluded ticket prices should be reduced for business reasons.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: “You get better home advantage depending on the atmosphere that you can create within your facilities, and that is linked to the people who enter your stadiums.

“The Premier League is generating two or three times the revenue of the other top five leagues in Europe, so at what point do you realise that your revenues are that big as a TV product, and the revenue from match-day tickets is only getting smaller?

Netflix rules itself out of Prem TV rights scramble

While tech giants such as Facebook and Amazon are vying to challenge traditional broadcasters for Premier League TV rights, Netflix has ruled itself out of the race. It was reported that the American streaming giant will instead be focusing its sports operation on original programming rather than live events.

“We want to provide the best video storytelling across all genres, but it won’t encompass live sports broadcasting,” a Netflix executive told The Independent. Italian champions Juventus recently agreed to film a behind-the-scenes documentary with Netflix, which is said to be far more indicative of the type of content they will pursue.

As the tender for the 2019-22 Premier League rights goes out this month, there is a genuine fear amongst traditional broadcasters that a number of big-spending tech firms will wrestle control from the likes of Sky and BT.

It’s all too much for Mutko 

Vitaly Mutko, The Russian deputy prime minister who received a lifetime ban from the Olympics in December, has announced he is temporarily stepping down as the head of the Russia’s football union.

Mutko’s Olympic ban relates to his alleged role in state sponsored doping in the country, however he has laid out his intention to appeal the ban with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In a statement FIFA commented underlining that it: “Understands Mr Mutko’s decision which was also taken in the best interest of the World Cup next summer. FIFA thanks Mr Mutko for this responsible step and for the work carried out so far for the World Cup.”

It adds that Mutko’s decision “will have no impact on the successful staging of the World Cup next summer, as FIFA, the Russian government, RFU [Russian Football Union] and the LOC continue their fruitful cooperation on the preparations for the World Cup according to plan.”

Mutko’s resignation comes as FIFA is plagued with criticism over the way it has failed to pursue the question of whether the Russian FA covered up positive tests  within the Russian national football team. Craig Reedie, the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, emphasised that his expectation that FIFA would pursue any allegations of corruption and act decisively.

He stated: “We provided them with all the information we had at the time and told them they should be responsible for getting on with results management.”

An emotional Manuel Burga acquitted

Former president of Peru’s soccer federation, Manuel Burga was acquitted of a host of corruptions charges, that originated from the infamous FIFA bribery scandal that took place under the tenure of Sepp Blatter.

Having watched on as Juan Ángel Napout, the former president of South American football’s governing body and José Maria Marin, the former president of Brazil’s football federation were both found guilty on counts of racketeering and wire fraud conspiracies, an emotional Burga broke down as the jury found him not guilty.

Currently, the raids on the FIFA offices by the FBI have led to a total of 23 guilty pleas from former FIFA officials, with over 40 people and companies charged over potential corruption.

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