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Football democracy

One of Scottish football’s leading administrators has called for the game to accept that supporters matter more than television companies, and to rethink the balance between the demands of broadcasters and the interests of supporters.

Hibernian managing director Fife Hyland said the demands of broadcasters had been too easily allowed to outweigh the interests of supporters, particularly when it came to deciding kick-off times. “We know TV is important to Scottish football but it’s not the be all and end all,”he said.

For many of the Scottish football clubs , match-day receipts remain several times greater than income from broadcasting. For example, in their last published accounts, for the year to July 2010, Hearts revealed that their matchday revenues were more than two and a half times greater than their income from broadcasting. Their income from TV was £1.5million, while that from matches (gate receipts plus smaller associated items such as programme sales) was £3.9m. There is an ev…

Bigoted law

In updated guidance to police, Frank Mullholland, Lord Advocate, Scotland’s most senior prosecutor, has warned singing or chanting songs which “glorify, celebrate or mock events involving the loss of life” should be viewed as offensive. The ten-page report also says that “flags, banners, songs or chants in support of terrorist organisations” are “likely to be offensive”. Songs “which promote or celebrate violence against another person’s religion, culture or heritage” are also “likely to be offensive”, according to Mulholland. It is understood Mulholland’s guidance outlaws songs like the Billy Boys, The Boys Of The Old Brigade, the so-called Famine Song, and the chant “Ooh Ah, Up The Ra”, which is sung by Celtic supporters. Where the song is religiously prejudiced the relevant aggravation will be libelled.

Socialist Courier wonders just how many countries national anthems fall under that classification. "But we can still rise now And be the nation again!" A call for rebellion…

In the red, Whyte and blue

A "large number" of players at struggling football club Rangers have agreed pay cuts of between 25% to 75% to save the jobs of non-playing staff, administrators have said. It is understood senior players like captain Steven Davis and Scotland internationals Allan McGregor, Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker have accepted the largest wage cuts.

In a statement, joint administrator Paul Clark said: “The agreement on very substantial wage reductions and voluntary departures from the club represents a major sacrifice by the Rangers players."

Socialist Courier takes this opportunity to clarify why footballers earn so much.

Footballers at least start from the same position as the rest of us: not owning any wealth from which to obtain an unearned income, to obtain what they need to live they have to go out on to the labour market and offer their mental and physical energies for sale. Most professional footballers, working for clubs in the lower divisions or for non-league clubs…

Rangers Blues

The woes of Rangers grows by the day. The insolvency firm Duff and Phelps have set a 48-hour deadline over the sale of the club after cost-cutting talks involving slashing players' salaries to prevent redundancies broke down and are already considering the possibility of liquidation if they cannot reach a deal. They also said Rangers may not be able to fulfil their remaining SPL fixtures without the promise of new income or drastic measures to reduce costs while also confirming Rangers had no chance of competing in Europe next season as they would not be able to submit fully audited accounts by a March 31 deadline. .

Asked if Rangers was in a state to be sold, an administrators source admitted: "There's an awful lot still to be resolved. It is all about who owns what. It doesn't matter whether you are selling a house, or a football club, or a company, you have to know what you're buying."

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan has described…

Businesses as usual

Rangers has filed legal papers at the Court of Session to appoint administrators. Rangers awaits a tax tribunal decision over a disputed bill, plus penalties, totalling £49m which the club would be unable to pay.

Celtic has announced a big fall in pre-tax profits for the second half of 2011, profits of only £180,000 compared to a £7m profit at the end of the previous year. Cash from player sales also fell from £13.2m to £3.1m. Bank debt is £7m.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-17009960

And in the east, Hearts still struggle off-field as much as they do on-field. Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov told RIA Novosti on Wednesday that all wage arrears with the debt-stricken Scottish club have been settled (Hearts players have suffered late wages since October), but admitted to an outstanding tax bill that threatens their future. British tax authorities lodged a petition with a Scottish court earlier this week saying Hearts had eight days to settle the bill, reported to be a…

Buying and selling people

Celtic have the highest player transfer outlay in the last five years, with a spend of just over £35 million, closely followed by Rangers who have spent around £33 million in the same period. Coming in at a poor third is Hearts who spent almost £3 million.

The teams that are making money from selling their players?

Celtic again leading the way with £35,574,000. Rangers have made sales of just over £20 million. Here is where Hibernian really punch above their weight. The Easter Road side have sold just over £16 million of players in five years and Hearts also sold well, £14 million. So the profits for Hibs have been almost £15million and for Hearts £11 million.

Almost every club in the division has turned a modest profit with the wheeling and dealing of player sales. Hibernian's business model is so focused on bringing through youth players and moving them on for healthy fees. It appears that Scottish football is all about the search of young, marketable talent. Celtic’s transfer bal…

The morning after hang-over

Let's feel sorry for the sad departure of Scotland and England from the qualifiers for Euro 2008 .

But also let us shed a tear for all those profits that will now disappear .

England's exit will cost the U.K. economy about 2 billion pounds , according to Simon Chadwick, a professor at Coventry Business School. England's failure will have ``far-reaching consequences,'' according to Chadwick, a professor of sport business. ``Sporting success is essential not only for the pleasure we get from it, but also for the psychological well-being and economic benefits it generates,'' he said and workers are more productive when England does well, according to the professor.

Sports Direct's shares fell 13.3 per cent to 97.5p this morning. Sports Direct has an agreement to buy 65 per cent of all England shirts that Umbro expects to sell in the UK in any given year.

"As England have not qualified for the 2008 European Football Championships, the company can no long…

Fitba' Madness

Patriotism - It is all hype .

It is Scotland against Italy for a place in Euro 2008 .
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service said all of its appliances would be flying Saltire and Lion Rampant flags on Friday and Saturday to show support for the team .

The Big Match will be worth £8 million (£1m more than the £7m the Edinburgh economy was boosted by Barcelona's pre-season match with Hearts this summer) to the Glasgow economy, economists have predicted.

The Tartan Army is also expected to gamble a record £10 million ( The previous record of £5m was held by Scotland's Euro 2000 play-off game with England at Hampden in 1999. )

Meanwhile, rock group Runrig, who are to perform three songs during half-time at Hampden, have officially launched their Loch Lomond single in aid of Children in Need.

Yup , Scotland still goes cap in hand for charities to alleviate poverty and for the rest of us it is not going to be much different from the Roman Empire and its bread and circuses .

And Italy arr…