Thursday, 1 May 2008

Globalization of football (soccer) ownership

This season we've seen 4 teams in Champions League: 3 english teams (Man utd, Chelsea and Liverpool) and 1 spanish (Barcelona); and we now we can be sure we'll see 2 english teams (Man utd and Chelsea) for the final, scheduled on May 21st 2008, Moscow.
Who are the owners of theese teams?
Barcelona is owned by its members, they are more than 150 thousands and every four years they have the right to vote in the club’s presidential elections.
Let's see what happened in english football in the recent years:
1997 egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed bought Fulham FC
2003 russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea FC
2005 US businessman Malcolm Glazer bought all of the shares and delist Man Utd from
London Stock Exchange
2006 US entrepreneur Randy Lerner bought Aston Villa FC
2006 irish Niall Quinn bought Sunderland AFC
2006 icelandic billionaire Björgólfur Guðmundsson bought West Ham United
2007 US businessmen George Gillett and Tom Hicks bought Liverpool FC
2007 thai businessman and politician Thaksin Shinawatra bought Manchester City

All the most important teams (except Arsenal) today are owned by foreigners, probably there's a connection between the foreign investors and the first final with two english clubs.

There are several rumours that George Soros (hungarian-born US speculator and philanthropist) is going to buy Roma ; Steven Horowitz of Inner Circle Sports has been recently seen in Rome more than once, therefore someone does want to buy the club. Some newspapers wrote Soros offered about 210 million Euro for 67% of shares, which is 2,37 Euro per shares, more than double the current price. Will it be enough for the family that now owns the club?

If you don't have any idea why people like football (or soccer, if you are from USA), you can have a look at this research:
Parity and Predictability of Competitions - 2006
(you can view and download the 6-page pdf file)
3 US researchers (Eli Ben-Naim, Sidney Redner and Federico Vazquez) studied the results of nearly all regular season competitions in 4 major American professional sports leagues (Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, National Basketball Association and National Football League) and English Premier League; they analized more than 300,000 games in over a century.
It is hard to say whether to rely on this study (they admitted "home and away games are not incorporated into our model, but game location does affect the outcome of games") or not; anyway at the end they wrote "soccer and baseball are the most competitive sports while basketball and [US] football are the least"

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