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Friday, December 21, 2012

Eyebrows Raised at UEFA?

Further evidence emerges that clubs, faced with the prospect of complying with the domestic and European aspects of financial fair play [FFP] regulations, are increasingly focusing their efforts on securing lucrative sponsorship deals that maximise their brand value.

Manchester City’s remarkable ten year £40m a season sponsorship arrangement with Etihad has now been dwarfed by Qatari owned Paris Saint-Germain’s new £570m, four year sponsorship deal with Qatar Tourism Authority.

Several aspects of this deal will no doubt raise more than a few eyebrows at UEFA; firstly the deal, which is significantly greater than any existing deal in Ligue 1, doesn’t include shirt sponsorship nor stadium naming rights unlike City’s deal with Etihad, and then there’s the potential relationship between the owners of PSG and their new sponsor, as FFP rules forbid deals between related companies and both the Qatari Investment Authority and the Qatar Tourism Authority are arms of the Gulf State controlled exclusively by the Al Thani family.

A KEIOC spokesperson said, “Increasingly clubs are concentrating their efforts on commercial sponsorship partnerships which include shirt sponsorship, stadium naming rights and kit supply deals; the return on these is far greater than that for time and effort spent on infrastructure improvement as you could see when it was uncovered that Everton’s proposed move to Kirkby would have only generated an additional contribution of £6m per annum whilst a decent kit supply deal for a top club would easily exceed this for no additional investment; it’s a no brainer.”

The credibility of such deals are stretched when values exceed the market value by significant amounts and it’s UEFA job to police these potential transgressions which leave those clubs playing by the rules at a distinct disadvantage.

It’s like having one house in a small English town, in a road of identical houses all valued at £250k, being sold for £1m….to your brother; inevitably questions will be asked…..probably by the taxman and the police and the excuse that a similar house in Manhattan would be worth that figure shouldn't be accepted but then again this is UEFA and in football money talks.

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