‘Transfer fees unlikely to fall’

first_imgThe record-breaking fees paid during the recent transfer window are unlikely to fall in the near future and are sustainable for the modern game, agent and transfer market expert Esteve Calzada told Reuters.Spaniard Calzada, former head of marketing and commercial operations for Barcelona, unveiled his company Prime Time Sports’ biannual Football Transfer Review study at the Soccerex convention.The report found that spending on player fees increased by 16 per cent across the top five leagues in Europe, the fifth successive year of growth.While the highest profile and most expensive deal took Brazil forward Neymar from Barcelona to Paris St Germain for a world record fee of 222 million euros, there was increased spending across the leagues.But Calzada said that with the exception of PSG, who also signed France forward Kylian Mbappe on-loan from Monaco with an obligation to buy next year at 180 million euros, the money spent was within budgets and that even top clubs were now generating money through player sales.“For the first time the growth is not only justified by television rights income but it also justified by the money the clubs have made from trading and selling players,” Calzada said.“In the past, some sides would be well known for producing and then selling players but now we see that those transactions are being conducted by top teams.“Every top team has been very active selling players as well as buying players. In the top 10 for acquisition rankings, we have seen five clubs who are also in the top 10 for sales. Normally it would be a completely different set of clubs. Now the money is flowing, I sell a player and invest the money in another player,” he said.Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic’s move from Chelsea to Manchester United and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s switch from Arsenal to Liverpool are examples of big clubs selling to rivals.RISING FEESThe Spaniard said the rising transfer fees were not a sign that the game is in poor financial health.“As long as the incomes from teams continues to grow we will continue to see the money spent on transfers and that growth can also come from player sales,” he said.The only way transfer fees could start to fall would be if the game began to see revenues, particularly from broadcasters, fall.“If all of a sudden we see television rights income going down, stagnating, that could be a problem, if audiences go down, broadcasters will pay less for the rights and then the clubs are making less money…then the prices will go down,” Calzada said.“What has changed in the game is nothing can be spent that you cannot afford,” he said, noting that UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules should be a safeguard against club’s over-spending.PSG’s dealings are to be investigated by UEFA to examine whether their buying spree broke FFP rules which ban clubs from spending more than their generated revenue, a policy introduced to prevent rich owners from trying to buy success and distorting the transfer market.“I always thought that FFP was good for the game and good for the industry and this case is a test for this regulation,” Calzada said.“The only thing we can say is to wait and see the outcome of the investigation and it is also only fair to wait and see how PSG will explain this to UEFA. I am personally very curious to see (that) as I cannot see a way to do it which is not infringing FFP,” he added.last_img read more


Real Madrid snatch 2-1 comeback win at Bayern Munich

first_imgHolders Real Madrid came from a goal down to snatch a precious 2-1 victory at wasteful Bayern Munich on Wednesday and carry a considerable advantage into their Champions League semi-final second leg in Spain.Real, eyeing a third straight title, needed a 44th-minute equaliser by Marcelo against the run of play to cancel out Joshua Kimmich’s opener after Bayern, chasing three trophies this season, had missed a hatful of chances.A perfect break allowed Real substitute Marco Asensio to beat Sven Ulreich with a fine effort and grab the winner in the 57th minute.The result was identical to last year’s quarter-final first leg between the teams before Real won the return game as well on the way to the first successful Champions League title defence.Liverpool crushed AS Roma 5-2 in the other semi-final first leg on Tuesday.Bayern, who had lost only one of their last 22 home games in the competition, had only themselves to blame and were punished for their profligacy.They almost scored after 25 seconds when Real defender Dani Carvajal failed to clear properly in a furious and physical start to the match.The hosts’ game plan seemed to go out the window after eight minutes with speedy winger Arjen Robben was forced off with an ankle injury.They were undeterred by Real’s early tight pressing game, however, taking the lead when Kimmich slotted home after a superb through ball from former Real player James Rodriguez.The Bavarians should have scored again even after another setback when Jerome Boateng went off with a thigh muscle injury, with chances falling to Franck Ribery, Mats Hummels and Thomas Mueller.But it was Real who struck against the run of play with a low drive from Marcelo a minute before the break as the Brazilian full back added to his goals against Paris St Germain and Juventus in previous rounds.The Spanish side, who have had a disappointing domestic campaign, then caught the Germans napping after a defensive blunder as Asensio raced clear to score their second goal.Bayern struggled to recover from the blow and despite having nearly 60 percent of possession they could not find an equaliserThe defeat snapped Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes’s 12-game winning streak in the competition stretching back to 2013.last_img read more


VAR will not be perfect, warns FIFA refereeing chief

first_imgVideo Assistant Referees (VARs) will be making their debut at the World Cup in Russia this month but the technology will not be perfect, FIFA’s director of refereeing, Massimo Busacca, warned this week.The VAR system was approved for use at the tournament for the first time in March.But although it has been used in domestic competitions across Europe in the past year — including in top division of the German and Italian leagues and the FA Cup in England — concerns have been raised about the system’s readiness for the World Cup.Busacca told a news conference FIFA had full confidence in the VAR technology but that it might not provide the degree of clarity some may be craving.“If we say now yes to (having VAR in) this World Cup, it’s because we think we are ready,” he said. “But don’t think that it will be perfect. We are looking to have an incredible uniformity and consistency, but don’t think that technology solves the problem 100 percent.“In front of a video, we will always have a human person who is making an interpretation. It’s not goal-line technology with a vibration. No, it’s an interpretation. It can be yes, it can be no. We can discuss after the game, always.“But I’m sure and convinced that the scandals that we remember from the past we will not see any more.”Pierluigi Collina, chairman of FIFA’s referees committee, knows the pressure of officiating at the highest level, having taken charge of the 2002 World Cup final between Brazil and Germany.However, he believed that having the ability to refer to VAR would alleviate the stress on officials in Russia.“Psychological issues for a referee are very important,” Collina said.“It’s the main reason why the referee makes the so-called home field review. Because it would be very, very difficult for someone to change the decision made on the field of play without knowing what happened. His self-confidence for the rest of the game could be heavily affected.“That’s why we are convinced that any referee with the possibility to review the incident and change his mind and change his decision will be very helpful in terms of limiting the psychological effects on himself.”Argentine referee Nestor Pitana will take charge of Thursday’s opening World Cup match between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia in Moscow.last_img read more


England’s Alli promises best behaviour at World Cup

first_imgEngland attacking midfielder Dele Alli has promised to not fall foul of new FIFA regulations introduced for the World Cup which allow referees to punish players retrospectively for infringements during a match.The new rules, backed by Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology, could lead to players being punished at the interval for foul play that went unnoticed during the first half.Alli, who has come under scrutiny for previous incidents of hot-headed behaviour at Tottenham Hotspur, remains confident he will avoid letting his temper get the better of him in Russia.“When you’re playing the games, you are focused on trying to help the team as much as you can,” the 22-year-old told reporters.“You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you could jeopardise everything and lose the game for your team and your country. I’ll just be myself, the way I always am.”Alli served a one-match ban for making an obscene middle-finger gesture during England’s qualifier against Slovakia last year.But the midfielder, who despite his reputation has only ever been sent off once in three seasons for Spurs (a Europa League tie), insists he has learned from his mistakes.“I want to play with passion and I want to play with hunger in every game I play,” Alli added.“I’ve made mistakes in the earlier part of my career, but you have to make mistakes in order to learn from them. If you look at my record, I’ve definitely learned from my mistakes.”England kick off their World Cup campaign against Tunisia on June 18. Panama and Belgium are the other teams in Group G.last_img read more


Tuesday’s order of play at Wimbledon

first_imgOrder of play on the main show courts on the second day of the Wimbledon tennis championships on Tuesday (play starts at 1200 GMT unless stated, prefix number denotes seeding):Centre Court3-Garbine Muguruza (Spain) v Naomi Broady (Britain)Dudi Sela (Israel) v 2-Rafael Nadal (Spain)1-Simona Halep (Romania) v Kurumi Nara (Japan)Court One21-Kyle Edmund (Britain) v Alex Bolt (Australia)Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Belarus) v 8-Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)Tennys Sandgren (U.S.) v 12-Novak Djokovic (Serbia)Court Two (play starts at 1030 GMT)22-Johanna Konta (Britain) v Natalia Vikhlyantseva (Russia)James Duckworth (Australia) v 4-Alexander Zverev (Germany)7-Dominic Thiem (Austria) v Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus)Vitalia Diatchenko (Russia) v 24-Maria Sharapova (Russia)last_img


Djokovic seeks rest and calm before final against Anderson

first_imgNovak Djokovic envies Kevin Anderson the extra night’s sleep he’ll have had before the pair meet in the men’s Wimbledon final on Sunday.Both finalists played record-breaking, energy-sapping five-set semi-finals to reach the tournament’s finale. But Anderson’s six-hour-36-minute duel with John Isner at least finished on the day it started on Friday.Djokovic’s thriller against long-time rival Rafael Nadal lasted a mere five hours 15 minutes, but only three sets of that could be completed before the Wimbledon curfew at 11 pm on Friday, and the pair had to come back on Saturday to finish off before the women’s final.“Kevin also had quite a few hours on the court in the last couple matches. But he had a day off, which is quite, so to say, necessary at this stage.“I wish I can have a day. But it is what it is. I’ll just have to accept the circumstances and try to recover as best as I can,” Djokovic said.The 31-year-old Serb, making a comeback this year after a slump in form and an elbow injury, said he did not feel he would be a clear favourite in the final, despite his 12 Grand Slam titles — three at Wimbledon.“I think we’re quite even. He’s playing I think his second Grand Slam finals. He played the U.S. Open finals last year. He’s definitely playing the tennis of his life,” Djokovic said.“I don’t think he has much to lose really tomorrow. He’s going to come out with big serves and big tennis.”Djokovic is seeded 12th after his drop in form and Anderson is eighth.“Hopefully I’ll be able to weather the storm.”The two semi-finals were the longest ever played at Wimbledon, and Djokovic said the physical toll was immense.“If I show you my feet, you would understand,” he said, adding that Nadal was probably the game’s greatest fighter.“He battles every single point like it’s his last. That’s something that is so impressive with Rafa. That’s what makes him so difficult to beat on any surface.“You’re coming into the match against him, knowing that you have to earn your points, is already an energy-spending moment. So you have to be ready for it, obviously. That’s why you put in X amount of hours on the practice court, preparation, trying to be as professional as you can, because you need to compete with a guy like Nadal. He does the same.”Nadal said Djokovic was back to his highest level of tennis and the Serb said the victory had made him “quite emotional”.“Because it’s been a long 15 months for me, you know, trying to overcome different obstacles. So to be where I am at the moment is quite, quite satisfying.”He said he worked hard to stay calm like the master of tennis cool Roger Federer, but it was tough because of the high level and intensity of the match and the quality of his opponent.“Obviously it’s important…to accept whatever is happening and try to possess the calm mind, because the calm mind in the end wins,” he said.“Sometimes you lose the control. The match is long, so you have time to bounce back, I guess, to regroup,” he said.“A couple times I lost my cool, then I lost my serve, then a set. Nadal is who he is because he knows how to use those momentums. When he sees the opportunity, he seizes it, he really takes it.“That’s why this match was extraordinary from every point of view. Incredibly proud to overcome it.”last_img read more


Neville claims numbers behind Wembley sale are bizzare

first_imgFormer England defender Gary Neville has hit out at the “bizarre” numbers behind how the proceeds from the proposed £600m sale of Wembley will be shared to grassroots football.The potential sale of the national stadium to Fulham owner Shahid Khan will go to a vote of the Football Association Council on October 24, the governing body has said, after a “healthy discussion” of the merits of the deal on Thursday.Some have agreed with the FA’s plan to use the windfall to transform grassroots facilities, while others have likened it to selling the crown jewels.England boss Gareth Southgate, meanwhile, wants any revenue to be ploughed back into the game, but remains publicly impartial on whether he backs the sale or not.As part of the detailed financial plans, contained in a document seen by the Press Association, the FA has set out how the net £590m proceeds from Wembley’s sale will be reinvested in community facilities via the Football Foundation.This will, according to the governing body, result in £46m of investment per annum over a 20-year period, with the remainder earning interest.The FA, which is being advised by the Rothschild and Co independent financial advisory group over the proposed sale, says this would result in a total of £920m being made available over the time frame, which assumes a five per cent rate of return. Currently the Bank of England base rate is 0.75 per cent.Former Manchester United defender Neville, who won 85 England caps, labelled the FA’s plans to sell off Wembley as “ridiculous” when he appeared in front of a parliamentary committee at the House of Commons in July.On Saturday, in a reply to a post on Twitter over the breakdown of the figures set to be reinvested in grassroots, Neville again criticised the proposals.“The numbers are bizarre. The most bizarre is how they supposedly grow the sale proceeds per annum post sale,” he said.“Who are they banking/investing with? They point towards match funding potential but no one can see where and how?”Press Association Sport understands the FA believes the financial projections on any possible future investment returns from the proposed Wembley sale are realistic.When all the additional level of investment from the FA, Premier League, government, local authorities and other funding partners is taken into account, the total investment in community facilities over 20 years is set to amount to around £3.3billion.Khan’s offer also includes £300m in retained hospitality income from Club Wembley.Neville later also posted: “This sale can’t go through. It’s short-term thinking and I’m sure will be blocked by councillors once they start to delve into the detail.“That money will be gone inside 10 years with little impact. In 20 years it will be ‘How did that sale ever go through?’”last_img read more


Mourinho takes centre stage again as Premier League returns

first_imgManchester United manager Jose Mourinho’s “it’s not about me” comment after his team’s thrilling comeback win over Newcastle United is unlikely to be heeded on Saturday when he returns to his former club Chelsea.Mourinho’s words, spoken after United fans chanted his name in appreciation of the 3-2 victory, may have reflected a weariness at the constant focus on his position at Old Trafford but the spotlight will unavoidably be on the Portuguese again.The manner of United’s win, with three goals in the final 20 minutes of all-out attacking football, has raised the question of whether he will embrace a more positive style of play.Nothing in Mourinho’s history suggests that is likely and the prospect of facing Maurizio Sarri’s in-form team at Stamford Bridge is a strong deterrent against a cavalier approach.Second-placed Chelsea are unbeaten, level on points with champions Manchester City and challengers Liverpool and with their Belgian forward Eden Hazard in scintillating form they will start as clear favourites.United are already seven points behind the leading trio having lost to Brighton and Hove Albion and West Ham United on the road and Tottenham Hotspur at home and Mourinho will be keen to ensure they avoid defeat in west London.Chelsea have not lost at home to United since October 2012, losing just two of the 16 meetings between the two since then and Mourinho has suffered four defeats in six games against his former club since taking over at United.But as he reminded the media in his recent demand for more “respect” Mourinho won three Premier League titles in his two spells as Chelsea manager.The former Porto and Real Madrid boss has never been afraid to play defensively when visiting top rivals and so for all the hope that he might try to replicate the ‘gung-ho’ second half display against Newcastle it would be no surprise if he were to revert to type on Saturday.Manchester City will expect to pick up three points at home to a Burnley side that will feature former City keeper Joe Hart.City have not lost at home to the Clarets since 1963 and have lost once in their last 19 meetings in all competitions.Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp will also be expecting maximum points when he faces off with close friend David Wagner as the Reds travel to Huddersfield Town on Saturday.Huddersfield are 18th in the table, have yet to win this campaign and have managed to score only four goals.Fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur visit London rivals West Ham on Saturday while in-form Arsenal host Leicester on Monday looking for a 10th successive victory in all competitions.Sunday’s game features Everton at home to Crystal Palace.last_img read more


Leicester City owner’s funeral starts in Thailand with royal honour

first_imgThe funeral of Thai billionaire and Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, killed in a helicopter crash a week ago, got underway at a Bangkok temple on Saturday with a Buddhist bathing rite using water bestowed by the Thai King.Vichai, 60, founder of Thai duty-free giant King Power International, was killed last Saturday along with four others when his helicopter crashed outside the King Power Stadium in the English city of Leicester after a Premier League match.The funeral, closed to the public and media, was attended by Vichai’s relatives, friends and senior Thai politicians and soccer officials.It began with a bathing ritual using royally-bestowed water and an eight-sided urn lent as an honour by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, and was followed by recitation ceremonies which will last for seven days.Thailand’s kings have traditionally granted such honours at the funerals of high-ranking state officials or citizens who had devoted their lives to the good of the country.Outside the temple on Saturday, Kiatisuk “Zico” Senamuang, a former Thai national soccer player and coach who was also at the Leicester match, told reporters that international soccer world had lost an important patron.“I’m very proud of him… Not only the Thai people but also soccer fans around the world mourn his loss,” he said.Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy and his team mates will travel to Thailand for the funeral after Saturday’s Premier League match against Cardiff City.Vichai, who bought Leicester City in 2010, was adored by fans after the club stunned the soccer world by beating odds of 5,000/1 to win the Premier League title in 2016 in what amounted to a sporting fairy tale.The Thai tycoon died along with two members of his staff, the pilot and a passenger when the helicopter came down in a car park moments after taking off on Oct. 27. His body arrived in Bangkok on Friday.He had close ties to the Thai royal family, being bestowed with the last name Srivaddhanaprabha – meaning “glowing light of prosperity” – as an honour to his family in 2012.Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, nicknamed “Top”, Vichai’s youngest child and King Power’s chief executive officer, said last week that he has “received a very big mission and legacy” from his father.Vichai’s death came just weeks before a planned auction for Thailand’s airport duty-free and commercial concessions, threatening to end King Power’s near monopoly of the sector.King Power currently controls more than 90 percent of Thailand’s duty-free market, being a sole operator with concessions in all major airports in the country until 2020.last_img read more


Vietnam to host Formula One race in Hanoi from 2020

first_imgVietnam will host a Formula One grand prix for the first time in 2020 with a street race in the capital Hanoi, organisers said on Wednesday.The Vietnamese Grand Prix is the first entirely new addition to the calendar since U.S.-based Liberty Media took over as commercial rights holders last year and replaced former dealmaker and supremo Bernie Ecclestone.“We are delighted to announce that Hanoi will host a Formula One Grand Prix,” the sport’s chairman Chase Carey said in a statement.“Since we became involved in this sport in 2017, we have talked about developing new destination cities to broaden the appeal of Formula One and the Vietnamese Grand Prix is a realisation of that ambition.“We are thrilled to be here in Hanoi, one of the most exciting cities in the world right now with such a rich history and an incredible future ahead of it.”The South-East Asian country is a growing market for sponsors such as brewer Heineken and will give the region four races on the calendar again after the departure of Malaysia last year.The others are China, Singapore and Japan.Ecclestone told Reuters last year that he had talks with the Vietnamese about a race while he was in charge but had decided, despite the money on offer, against it because he felt there were enough in that part of the world already.Wednesday’s announcement was marked with a launch party held inside the centuries-old walls of central Hanoi’s Thang Long citadel and featuring electronic music and traditional dance and drumming.Retired British F1 driver David Coulthard also attended with a Red Bull demonstration car.Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had met Carey earlier.“This is an important event not only in the field of sport but also in culture and society, contributing to the development of Vietnam,” Phuc said in a government statement.Vietnam’s largest conglomerate, Vingroup JSC, has signed a “multi-year deal” to host the event, the Formula One press release said, without elaborating.VinFast, a unit of Vingroup, is set to become Vietnam’s first fully-fledged domestic car manufacturer when its first production models built under its own badge hit the streets next August.The Hanoi race will be run on a 5.565-km layout in the west of the city, adding another street race to the existing ones in Monaco, Singapore, Azerbaijan and Melbourne’s Albert Park in Australia.Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung said the race would reflect Vietnam’s ability to hold global events.“It provides an opportunity for inward investment to Vietnam and importantly to bring the exciting wheel-to-wheel racing of Formula One to the people of Vietnam,” he said.While the country does not have much of a tradition of motorsports, sporting events or competitions in which the national team does even marginally well are widely watched and passionately celebrated.There will again be 21 races on the 2019 calendar, with the same races as this year retaining their placeslast_img read more