SBC’s on the ball: Barnsley, Antoine Griezmann and Anderlecht

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 “exploitative” ticket prices, Barcelona being reported to FIFA and an intriguing new owner at Barnsley. 

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Getting the ‘Moneyball’ rolling at Barnsley

It could be a big 2018 for Barnsley FC, after the Championship club were taken over by a consortium which includes Chinese billionaire, Chien Lee and the baseball pioneer Billy Beane, who was the inspiration behind the Hollywood film ‘Moneyball’.

Chief Executive Gauthier Ganaye told the club website: “We would like to thank every member of our loyal fan base for their patience and continued support over recent months. An exciting chapter is opening for Barnsley Football Club and we are looking forward to the future together.”

Beane was the mastermind behind the Oakland A’s transformation with the use of statistical, computer generated data to utilise undervalued players, a tactic that many have speculated could be translated to football.

On the other hand, Lee has a track record in football as the co-owner of French Ligue 1 side Nice, who have enjoyed a lot of success in recent times including reaching the play-off stage in the Champions League and finishing third in the French top tier.

Barnsley currently sit 20th in the Championship table and are just four points above the relegation zone.

Barcelona reported to FIFA by Spanish rivals 

Barcelona have been reported to FIFA by Atletico Madrid, after the it was alleged that the Catalan club made an illegal approach for Manchester United target, Antoine Griezmann.

Atletico have claimed that in spite of the 26-year-old France international signing a new contract, keeping him at the Wanda Metropolitano until the summer of 2021, Barcelona have made contact with the family of the player, eyeing up a potential transfer for the player. 

A spokesperson for FIFA confirmed earlier in the week, that football’s governing body had received a complaint from Atletico over the approach. Furthemore, Atletico were unable to sign players this summer after  breaching FIFA rules over the signing of minors. A ruling that delayed the return of Diego Costa to the club, after he was frozen out by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.

At the time the club responded with a statement, claiming that: “This ruling is unfair and causes an irreparable damage to our club.”

New takeover just the medicine for Belgian Champions

Marc Coucke, Belgian pharmaceutical entrepreneur  has agreed to buy Belgian champions, Anderlecht for a reported fee of up to 100 million euros (£88.6 million).

Anderlecht, who were previously owned by a by a group of investors headed by the Vanden Stock family, are one of Belgium’s most prestigious clubs, having won numerous European titles in the 1970s.

In a statement,  Anderlecht president Roger Vanden Stock commented: “It pleases me to look back at the time when my father and my family owned the club, but it is time to pass on the baton, so RSC Anderlecht can always remain RSC Anderlecht.”

Coucke founded over-the-counter medicines group Omega Pharma, which he went onto sell to U.S. company Perrigo in late 2014 for 3.6 billion euros, he also owns Belgian club KV Oostende and previously was on the board at France’s Ligue 1 Lille.

Currently sitting in third place, Anderlecht are enduring a tough season, losing 5-0 to domestic rivals Club Bruges on Sunday has left them 13 points behind leaders Bruges.

Sevilla deemed to be doing no wrong over “exploitative” ticket prices

UEFA have stated that La Liga club Sevilla are completely with their rights to charge Man United fans up to £133 for tickets for the Champions League last 16 tie at the Sanchez Pizjuan in February.

United fans reacted with angrily when Sevilla announced that prices for the 2,450 standard seats would be £89 with 200 tickets deemed “category one” priced at £133. The Manchester United Supporters Trust branded the prices as “exploitative.”

The price rise marks a 65% increase on tickets from when Liverpool took on the Spanish club in the group stages of the tournament, when travelling fans were charged £54.

Nonetheless, article 19, subsection 3 of UEFA’s regulations states: “Unless the associations or clubs concerned agree otherwise, the price of tickets for supporters of the visiting team must not exceed the price paid for tickets of a comparable category that are sold to supporters of the home team.”

Tech giants prepared for Premier League television rights battle. 

Tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and Netflix are all set to take part in the next round of bidding for Premier League television rights.

From the 2019-20 season onwards, 200 live matches will be available each season, with the price of the UK package expected to rise above its current figure of £5.14 billion. Those games are divided into five packages of 32 matches and two packages of 20. No broadcaster will be allowed to acquire more than 148 per season.

With this new competition from the world’s biggest digital media companies, Sky is faced with perhaps its biggest challenge to maintain its dominance of Premier League TV rights.

To protect from these new challengers, Sky and BT have agreed a so-called cross supply deal. Under the terms of the deal, BT will market and sell Sky’s Now TV service – including the Sky Atlantic, Sky One, Sky Living, Sky Sports and Sky Cinema channels – to its customers. While BT will wholesale its BT Sport channels to Sky, allowing the firm to sell them directly to Sky customers.

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The Betting industry’s relationship with Football and its wider stakeholders will be discussed at the ‘Betting on Football 2018’ (#bofcon2018) conference. Click on the below banner for more information…

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