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Should Premier League clubs get even richer?

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David Bond | 20:51 UK time, Monday, 26 September 2011

Sir Alex Ferguson's first full interview with the BBC since he stopped talking to the corporation in 2004 because of a documentary on his son Jason will inevitably reopen the debate about TV and its influence over football.

The Manchester United manager has spoken frequently to other media outlets in the past about the way broadcasters dictate fixture scheduling leaving his team with less time to prepare for big matches in Champions League weeks.

That's not new - although many may wonder why he seems prepared to bite the hand that has kept his club so well fed down the years.

Look at how TV revenues have grown since he took charge in 1986. Back then the total deal for all 92 Football League clubs was £3.15m. This season United will share a deal worth £1.2bn. United's take for winning the title in May was £60m.

Sir Alex Ferguson

Alex Ferguson has criticised the control television has on his team's schedule. Photo: Getty

Putting that to one side, however, what is interesting is his call for the League to get more money from overseas TV rights. He argues that with the League now screened in 212 countries, the deal needs to be renegotiated.

"Whatever we get paid it's not enough," he says.

The current value of the League's international TV rights deal is a staggering £1.4bn over three years. It doubles in value every time the League sells their overseas rights.

Sir Alex might well be right when he states this area could be exploited further but intriguingly this is the one part of the League's TV deal which is shared absolutely equally between all the clubs. So no matter how many times United appear on TV in Singapore or America and no matter where United finish in the table each of the 20 teams splits the cash equally.

At no point in the interview does he call for United to get a larger chunk of the overseas rights. In fact he goes on to say that "it's fair" to have an equal share.

With the club's owners, the Glazer family, increasingly looking abroad for revenues and planning a share flotation in Singapore, Sir Alex's employers may take issue with his views.

But the League's chief executive Richard Scudamore will be delighted to see Sir Alex's comments as it lends even greater weight to his equitable model, a stark contrast to the situation in Spain where La Liga's lack of collective solidarity has allowed Real Madrid and Barcelona to take the lion's share of TV revenues and thus turn the competition into an annual two horse race.

Sir Alex's timing is also interesting. Next week the European Court of Justice is due to issue its decision on whether Sky's ban on pubs showing live Premier League football via foreign satellite broadcasts is illegal.

If the ECJ says that is in breach of EU laws then the Premier League's overseas TV model could be facing major changes by the time the new deal is negotiated in time for August 2013.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Should clubs really earn a fair share? I know in blinkered moralistic views they should. But TV revenue is built on viewers and being able to give advertisers as many viewers as possible for their product advertisements. More viewers tune in to TV for ManU than Bolton. Advertisers wont pay the same for air time during a lower league game. I know, I know, it should be equal but it's not the way the world of TV works I'm afraid. If it is to be equal then it should be made equal across Europe to stop Barca and Real negotiating their own deals and leaving the rest of La Liga down the pan.

  • Comment number 2.

    Sounds like a rant to me.

  • Comment number 3.

    David,

    Another business and money based article... these are the sport pages!

    Are you actually interested in sport - you know skill, competition, entertainment, fun, sportsmanship. Its just all you ever bang on about is business and as you are in charge of these pages it kind of sets the tone...

    Some of us (still) come here for sport any chance of a bit more of that? Sorry to sound harsh but there is already a section for business / money / finance etc...

  • Comment number 4.

    a stark contrast to the situation in Spain where La Liga's lack of collective solidarity has allowed Real Madrid and Barcelona to take the lion's share of TV revenues and thus turn the competition into an annual two horse race.

    And tell me how many horses have been in the races these last few years in England ?

    Ermmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, Man U and Chelsea

    So whats your argument ?

  • Comment number 5.

    As Liverpool fan I can see where Fergie is coming from but it is a bit disingenious comment. As he well knows, as does Wenger and KK, that TV finances all the spending on players and stadia since 1992 and you can't bite the hand that feeds. I'm 38 and can rememeber how bad the stadia were in late 80's and was there on 15th April 89. TV has made sure that horror will not happen again so easily. so purist like Mr Ferguson may complain but we need to thank TV money for what they have enabled even if it has been the detriment of some of my own clubs records

  • Comment number 6.

    it will be 3 horse this year with either manchester club being victorious. but at least the clubs over here are lesslikely to go the wall. Valencia are still in massive trouble I believe and their TV income less than 30% of the big two over there

  • Comment number 7.

    We need to keep the share equal through out the league , the premier league is representing all clubs and any revenue bought in divided equally so we can keep the league competitive and the major attraction around the globe, we dont want a la liga scenario where two teams are the only quality.The league is bigger than any club and should not be used as a gravy train for man united .

  • Comment number 8.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 9.

    @John, Yes the same teams win the league year after year, but the league as a whole is a lot more competitive than Spain. Real and Barca are absolutely miles ahead of everyone else, whereas in the EPL you have the top 3 now and then 3 other teams who are also very strong battling it out for fourth. The English teams who finish fourth still make a big impact of the Champions League which shows the strength of the league. You also get far more upsets because the league is so strong.

  • Comment number 10.

    If the pricing in the premier league wasn't equality based then I would give up on football. Football is not for those with the most money, it is for all - thus the money should be split equally. To say that the better clubs should be paid more is just self defeating - only making it harder for a smaller team to get into that better bracket.

    ''And tell me how many horses have been in the races these last few years in England ?
    Ermmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, Man U and Chelsea
    So whats your argument ?'

    Gap between 2nd and 3rd in the Premier League in 09/10: 10 points.
    Gap between 2nd and 3rd in the Premier League in 09/10: 25 points.

    As above premier league 10/11: No points - seperated by goal difference.
    As above La Liga 10/11: 21 points.

    Yup, totally the same thing.

  • Comment number 11.

    I dont know why people buy Man Utd season tickets. I could have watched every game Man U have played this season on TV. Every game, no matter what competition has been shown live on Sky, ESPN or ITV. Man Utd will be on Sky Sports 4 this week against Basel.

  • Comment number 12.

    Concentrating all the money in the top couple of teams will kill football in the end - spreading it out to have as many competitive teams in the league is the only way the long term future of the sport can be protected, otherwise you end up with the Scottish/Spanish style system where there are only 2-4 meaningful games in the domestic season, the domestic cups become meaningless, and the entire football league system is just a feeder for a couple of teams to compete in Europe and everything else is for "also rans" that have no way of ever overcoming the financial disadvantages they have.

  • Comment number 13.

    @John (No.4): Man Utd and Chelsea might be the ones winning it, but you can see Man City winning it quite easily. You can see Liverpool and Arsenal winning it with a few key signings (or a change of boardroom in Arsenal's case), even Tottenham look like contenders these days.

    By comparison with La Liga everyone is in no doubt, whatsoever, that Real Madrid or Barcelona will win it. And except for a brief spell of Barcelona being mismanaged at the start of the millennium and the one Atletico Madrid title in 1996, it's been DOMINATED by the two since 1985. It's about another decade or two of neglect from being the SPL Mk. II.

    Currently the Spanish neutral's only real hope is that Malaga aren't deterred by the FFP rules. Both Valencia and At. Madrid need time to rebuild their squads after their many departures over recent years.

  • Comment number 14.

    From an economic point of view- the TV revenues that goes to the clubs, should be distributed according to the popularity and viewing figures of all matches played during the season. In other words, Man Utd, City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham will get the largest chunk of that TV revenue. From an economic perspective, its the fairest solution.

    However, is it the "best" solution? It clearly is not. Overtime the bigger clubs will have such a stranglehold of the TV revenue streams, the smaller clubs cannot compete. The margin between the top 4/5 clubs and the rest will grow even bigger and the Premier League as a result will suffer in the longer term. The quality of the mid/bottom table clubs will deteriorate, creating a bigger gap and more disillusionment amongst football fans- including fans overseas. Eventually, this will lead to a decline in the demand of the Premier League and fewer will watch the games on TV or even in the stadiums. You will get the smaller mid table teams thumped on a regular basis by the bigger clubs- it will be no fun anymore for the neutral to watch.

    The equitable distribution of TV revenues is the best for the Premier League- its one of the reasons why the Premier League is the Premier League. Lets not forget, last season Wolves beat Liverpool twice, Man Utd and Chelsea at home when they were bottom of the league- because they had the finances to obtain players to be able to do that- in another world they would never in a million years have achieved that. I say, leave the economic model as it is because it gives a chance at least for the smaller clubs to punch above their weights and beat the bigger clubs!!!

  • Comment number 15.

    The top teams are on tv more so get more tv money and because they are shown more they get more "fans" from people watching the games. Yes the money is split at the start but it's not true to say the clubs all get the same amount of tv money since Man Utd get more because they are shown the maximum number of times they can be.
    I do agree though that the Wednesday night away in Europe>Saturday morning premier league matches are unfair and have distorted the league over many years but the UEFA cup teams fair even worse so it's not like it's just the big boys suffering. Maybe it's just nostalgia but as a neutral I would prefer everyone to have Saturday 3pm kick offs with the option to watch any match I want live rather than be presented with Man Utd at home against Bolton which isn't even a contest, but has been chosen because Man Utd have the most fans.

  • Comment number 16.

    In an ideal world, I'd love to see the Premier League run along the financial lines of the NLF, ALL revenues thrown into a pot and shared equally. Obviously that works fine when you have no non-domestic competition in addition to your own league title. But as we have the Champions League that will never happen because the fattest turkeys will never vote for Xmas.

  • Comment number 17.

    "In an ideal world, I'd love to see the Premier League run along the financial lines of the NLF"

    I don't think anyone wants to see the PL ran along the lines of the Vietcong, quite frankly.

    Except, perhaps, old Red Nose himself.

  • Comment number 18.

    Sir Alex Ferguson hit the nail on its head by pointing the finger on the TV deals done for a number of years, while in the mean time, more countries watch English football and TV broadcasters increase their profits, keeping the EPL on something like fixed rate that banks love to charge when it's suitable to them. TV deals should be renegotiated annually. Until then, there is one only winner and their name is TV broadcasters.

    It is to his credit that, besides it would be convenient for United, he supports the current format of sharing TV cash, surely against the wishes of United directors. Can you attempt to imagine other top Premiership managers attempting that? I can't.

    I watched two La Liga matches in consecutive matches. In both matches, I turned the channel in the middle of the match. The spectacle was disappointing and worse than boring. Then again, it didn't involve Barcelona nor Real Madrid, the lion share receivers of TV cash allocation in Spain.

    We may be reading time and again many premier league chairmen presenting masterfully positive balance on their clubs' books, by putting the cash in the bank and just hoping their clubs won't get relegated but the opportunity is given to every Stoke City to invest in improving their squad, adding quality to their game and squad, while adding also longevity in the Premiership.

    Very good article. Bravo, David Bond.

  • Comment number 19.

    @3 - Sport (or football, at least) is now very much intertwined with the economics of the various clubs. Don't want to read about it? Don't click on the link. Theres plenty of 'pure' sport on here, too.

    @13 - Valencia were very successful under Rafa, don't forget. The financial problem for them has got more to do with stadium issues...

    I believe the money is divvied out in various ways - the equal share, then the prize money depending on your finish. Fergie hasn't asked for an advantage, just more for everyone. Arguably so Man Utd can compete with the top 2 in Spain, but it'd help with clubs in debt, as more income = a chance to clear the debts somewhat.

    Also, aren't we all forgetting that actually, maybe, Man Utd are successful because of Fergie? Lots of clubs have got very close to the amount of money Utd have had. Utd come out on top due to be properly run (in terms of a football club - the Glazer's is a bit more debatable). City and Chelsea have probably spent more than Utd recently - money doesn't guarantee success. Being properly run helps a huge amount, too. 3 clubs in the PL with the longest serving managers? Man utd, Arsenal, and Everton. Guess who's overachieved more than anyone else for the money they've spent...?

  • Comment number 20.

    Equal share of the Broadcasting rights is exactly right for football. It benefits football as a whole rather than just who is at the top currently. The system operating in Spain is an absolute joke. Hopefully the rest of La Liga goes on strike so that they can earn themselves a fairer deal.

  • Comment number 21.

    it seems from the article that Fergie is only saying revenue from other countries should be split equally ; i dont think he is suggesting domestic tv money should be divided 20 ways

  • Comment number 22.

    @ 21.At 00:30 27th Sep 2011, smokey bacon,

    He doesn't ask for change in the way cash is distributed currently by the EPL either, though. As the Manchester United manager, he could always claim that top English clubs should get a higher share from tv cash from deals abroad, as those countries watch Premier League because they want to watch the top English sides. Still, he doesn't and that's to his credit.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think a lot of what fergie says is true. i'm not biased towards him or united at all - i'm a sheffield wednesday fan. I've heard the interview and fair play for saying what he thinks. It's a double edged sword - lots of money involved, but fixtures are dictated to all clubs, to the detriment of certain clubs at different times.

    I do think TV money should be shared equally though - the top clubs make the most because of other revenue streams such as gate receipts, sponsorship, merchandising etc. We have the quality and competative league that we have as a result (as mentioned - compared to La Liga for example).

    on a different note, and i know a lot don't agree but i think the premier league do wonders for the lower leagues. They have no obligation to filter money down to the lower leagues but they do, and they do it for the right reasons.

    Foreign TV money for the premier league is an important point though. I am a sky viewer, but I must admit that it makes me angry to see so many other countries showing live premier league matches when we have to pay such a price to see them ourselves.

  • Comment number 24.

    An article with laughably little substance, but well, that's what the BBC provides nowadays.

    Anyway, I think it would be fairer by far if there was a sliding scale for TV revenue with clubs at the top getting less than clubs at the bottom. This would make the league far, far more competitive.

  • Comment number 25.

    @24 - You haven't thought that through have you?

    it might make the league more competative, but there would be no competation to finishing higher in the league? If you're a mid-table club, it would make you rather lose than win, to finish as close to the bottom as possible without going down. Stupid

  • Comment number 26.

    To all those people moaning and saying Fergie is having a rant, I say this; WATCH THE INTERVIEW. He is basically advocating keeping the league as fair and as competitive as it possibly can be, he can't do anything about the 'oil money' currently flowing through the veins of the upper echelons of the Premier League but by wanting to keep the distribution of the TV revenue money equal he is advocating the fairest system.

    The simple fact is if each club were left to negotiate their own TV deals then Manchester United, as the biggest financial concern in modern day football (yes they are) would blow the competition away and given that the money would be legitimately earned (without the aid of a vastly inflated stadium naming deal) they would literally walk the league year upon year.

    As much as SAF is a bad loser (self admitted) I strongly believe he has no interest in strolling the league each year. The highest achievers out there, of which SAF is one, thrive on testing themselves against the strongest competition and coming out on top against the best.

    The debate over individual TV rights and whether the TV companies have too much power are two different arguments, do not confuse the two.

  • Comment number 27.

    @reubenae No.19: Aye, I did kind of address that, I didn't really want to flesh out the whole scene of Spanish football from 1999-2005 (namely, Vincent del Bosque and the Galacticos, Rafa's reign at Valencia, Deportivo's 2nd round of glory years, the bumbling presidency of Gaspart at Nou Camp).

    Forgot they were building a stadium though, a lot of that going around at the moment! As an Arsenal fan myself I keep forgetting how lucky we kept at a reasonable level for so long despite constructing our own stadium, especially when you see Juve's years without CL and Valencia selling off every star they have.

  • Comment number 28.

    As an Englishman living in Australia, I feel entitled to comment about the split of overseas money. EVERY single premier league game is shown live out here, so every club has equal airtime, consequently every club should get the same revenue from overseas rights. Should the premier league receive more money from overseas? I'd have to say no, my subscription already costs a bomb as it is. Ferguson talks about salaries and ticket prices, the same thing can be applied to salaries and the price of subscribing to Foxtel!

    @11 - Buster - "I dont know why people buy Man Utd season tickets". because it is INFINITELY better to be able to watch a game live than it is to watch it on TV. I consider the money I just spent on coming back to England and getting tickets for 5 games money well spent (just a shame the Everton game was called off)!

  • Comment number 29.

    Madchester United have been on the telly even single time they've entered the field this season. Their barmy fans must be loving it!

  • Comment number 30.

    I believe Fergie knows what he is doing. The only way Man U is gonna get stronger in totality is when all the English clubs improve. When they give games for Man U, Man U will be better equipped to perform in Europe. Fergie knows that this is only possible when the other english clubs are strong enough to survive and perform.

    I know it feels good to win 5-0 and 8-2 etc often but it doesn't necessarily prepare the team for more difficult challenges like when Man U face a team who are very tactically disciplined. When English clubs are stronger, they in turn help Man U to be better.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm not sure that Ferguson is in any disagreement with the Glazers. They are looking ahead to more TV viewers (subscribers plus advertisers) in Asia. That is where the future big money is coming from. They see Barcelona and Real Madrid with their own TV deals in Spain, and are determined not to be left behind in the gold rush for global audiences.

    Premier League revenues? Well, they've been very useful to the club, but the growth prospects look limited until a significant number of European competitor clubs fall way behind, or go to the wall. Globally, the Glazers don't intend to let Sky make too much money from THEIR valuable football franchise on a world-wide scale. Not if they can help it.
    Remember: Sky wanted to buy Man Utd a few years ago.

  • Comment number 32.

    Not sure this interview deserves a dedicated editorial piece (I refuse to call a journalist's entry on a news website a blog).

    Secondly, I don't see much objectionable in what Sir Alex has said here, it is fairly non-controversial. He has long argued about the fixture schedules - nothing new.

    Sky and ESPN get to decide which games a week are played at the non 3PM slots - again common news.

    TV has pumped in a lot of money - duh!!!

    English clubs don't get paid enough - compared to Real Madrid and Barcelona of course not.

    He believes equal shares are good - he's a socialist, so nothing new and surprising there.

    So David and BBC, please tell me what new insight this editorial piece is providing us?

  • Comment number 33.

    It is interesting how we always get a few who think they are qualified to pass judgement on the journalists writing these articles. Sady their comments are quickly forgotten, I say sadly because they dilute the only platform for discussion we have left on the BBC web page. You're looking for attention and you just got a little, hope it makes you feel warm.

    As far as the article is concerned, Sir Alex is God and there can't be any doubt about that. He says it like he sees it, he's an extraordinary human but he's got his feet firmly on the ground. I wish more people in his position (real power) would stay true to their character and not change.

    Equal money is an abstract proposition as some will always earn more through their exploits in Europe, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect more overseas TV revenue. Like Sir Alex said, that's 212 countries and this is what you pay the Premier League teams? (You being the broadcasters not BBC of course). It will be interesting to see what the ruling of the European Court of Justice will be and I hope we get another blog about that when the time for the decision comes. I hope when the TV deal is renegotiated that more money trickles down. Even if the Premiership is the leading brand in world football the Championship and all the clubs downstream should feel the benefit of a better TV deal.

  • Comment number 34.

    Surely it's a piece of great psychology? I (meaning SAF) think that TV has too much of a say as too much money is coming in...however I know if the deal fell through then my employer has the facilities to make the most cash from its performance...however if the collective agreement breaks down/clubs say you'll get less cash for more control e.g. deciding kick-off times after European fixtures then my direct rivals e.g. Arsenal, Spurs etc. will suffer from a fall in revenue that my employer can absorb - could Arsenal survive with a large % drop in TV income knowing they'd not make up that % with a sole-TV deal?

  • Comment number 35.

    I haven't watched the interview which was conducted by BBC with Ferguson, but I must admit that what Ferguson says, he is always right. Love his comments, he is always used to be a justice and he is now.

    It is very nice to see, them teams like Wigan, Stoke, and other non-top clubs gets the same amount of wages as the top teams, if I am not mistaken.
    IMHO the Premier League is with well equpied abd good sporting behaviours clubs, not that La Liga with diving and non-sporting behaviours and Serie A with those scandals. If there's the best League than that is English Premier League.

  • Comment number 36.

    Before the Sky Sports deal & subsequent cash injection, Man Utd hadn't won the league title in a generation. Admittedly Fergie had strengthened them to the point that they were ready to win it but how much of Man Utd's dominance in the monied era due to Sky would they have enjoyed under the spendthrift Edwards ownership?

    The Champions League is NOT as important as domestic or international football for 80% of football fans (those whose clubs aren't in it). I don't like the staggered matchdays etc but too much credence is given to the CL & the handful of football barons who allow 4 'Champions' per rich country, a league format for maximum revenues & who talk as if it means more than the World Cup! If there's a money grabbing contest blighting football it is the CL, not the PL.

  • Comment number 37.

    Indeed the league is screened in 212 countries, but so are the leagues of Spain, Germany Italy...
    Via my cable provider I get a sport channel where I can see probably every football match in the world live.
    If UK is renegotiating so will the others, with consequence that the subscripions will rise - there is a watershed when customers will walk away, and then contracts will not be renewed the next time. It is very easy to price yourself out of the market.
    Football on TV is entertainement and is competing with other forms of entertainment.
    If the current system fails, then MU has the image and power to work alone on pay per view basis and can earn much more than currently under the status quo.

    It is in his interest that the current sytem fails

  • Comment number 38.

    The argument that the money should not be split equally as its not good economics, and that the big teams should get more money due to larger audiences, is in essence to me the reason for current economic crisis. Money and not morals are dictating policy. WE should as a nation be backing the right idea even if it does mean a loss of money as money isn't what is important in life.

  • Comment number 39.

    To John comment #4 the difference is that the premier league two horse race is not separated by about 20 points from 2nd &3rd placeas has happened in la Liga

  • Comment number 40.

    The question you have to ask as a fan of football, rather than a tribal fan of whatever club you suppot, is what the effect of TV money is on the competition.

    If you give it all to Man Utd, what chance is there of any other team actually winning the League?

    Once that becomes too small, the competition becomes like a fawning Royal Court and anyone with competitive fire rather than subservient sycophancy loses interest.

    The whole point of a league competition should be to pit the skills of players and managers against each other.

    If it's already effectively decided by the TV money before you start, what's the bloody point??

  • Comment number 41.

    David Bond suggests that in La Liga the league is a 2 team race, but what about the premiership? Man Utd were awful last season and what happened? The Premiership is always Man Utd and? It used to be Arsenal but its now Chelsea, and as for people saying but it goes to the wire, the question is how many times has it gone the distance and what happened at the end?

  • Comment number 42.

    The money should be distributed via prize money only. Thats fair. Man U maybe the biggest draw now but if they werent winning the league other teams would gain bigger draw value. Same in Spain. Other clubs shouldnt tollerate because they can never catch up if Barca and Real always make more money no matter how much they improve.

  • Comment number 43.

    #41 so awful they made their 3rd CL final in 4 years. Not united's fault Chelsea fell away last season, it's not like they didn't have the cash to go out and buy new players, maybe they shouldn't sack their manager all the time?

  • Comment number 44.

    And as for not sharing tv revenues equally, we would end up with a 2 or 3 team league, literally!

  • Comment number 45.

    Freddie Roach Ate My Hamster.
    Utd were leading the table in 1992,the last season before Sky poked it's nose in. Because of their success in winning the LC and due to a backlog of games..Utd were forced to play 4 games in 8 days,and this was before the days of 25 man squads. They only won 1 of the 4 and Leeds won the title.
    The following season we battled it out with Villa and Norwich,so maybe the Sky money was not an issue that season.
    Also,in 1992,Utd won the Yth Cup and again Sky money was not an issue in them making the grade. And...due to the all seater situation,Old Trafford was in rebuild and gates were pegged at 35,000..increasing to a full house 44,000 at the season's end.
    I would suggest Utd's success was due to SAF learning what it took to win the league in the preceeding years and when the lesson was learned,we had lift off.
    Agree with the basic argument on TV money.We're in the same league..we all get the same amount.

  • Comment number 46.

    The distribution of TV money in football runs contrary to the idea of competition. It really is that simple.

    It really doesn't matter what money a club like Man U make through the turnstiles and through merchandising, that is there business as 'Man U' is their name. But, if the people who run the competition, the Premier League, do not give people an equal share of broadcasting rights, then the competition is flawed from the off. (As flawed as the UEFA Fair Play Rules as it happens, but that's another, though perhaps parallel, argument.)

  • Comment number 47.

    13. At 22:43 26th Sep 2011, Spence wrote:
    @John (No.4): Man Utd and Chelsea might be the ones winning it, but you can see Man City winning it quite easily. You can see Liverpool and Arsenal winning it with a few key signings (or a change of boardroom in Arsenal's case), even Tottenham look like contenders these days.
    ___________________________________________________________________

    And the only reason Manchester City are challengers is because of external financing which greatly exceeds any TV income which Real and Barca benefit from.

    People seem to be conveniently ignoring the fact that Chelsea and Manchester City are the only other two bidders for the PL, because of vastly wealthy owners who have pumped hundreds of millions into the club, thereby neutralising the ''fairness' of the TV deals in England.

    Your comments about Liverpool and Arsenal being a couple of signings short of challenging for the title? That's too funny. By ''a couple'', I presume you mean 10.

    And as for Tottenham ''looking like contenders these days''. Would that be the same Tottenham that have shipped 8 goals already this season to two of the three actual contenders? Comments like yours about Tottenham made me think I'd accidentally stumbled across the BBC jokes page!

  • Comment number 48.

    #47, these money bags teams still cant compete with Ferguson, who has won 4 out of the last 5 leagues. When will people like you wake up and realise United's dominance is down to Sir alex, not money?

  • Comment number 49.

    9. At 22:20 26th Sep 2011, CJandthesoup wrote:

    You also get far more upsets because the league is so strong.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That's not true. Over the last 5 years, the top 2 in Spain have won less matches, drawn and lost more, scored fewer goals and conceded more against the bottom 6 in La Liga, then the top 2 have done in England against their bottom 6.

    The top 2 in Spain are also the top 2 in Europe, so it's little wonder they dominate their league so much.

    It always makes me chuckle when people talk about how ''competitive'' the Premier League is, when you look at a glorified pub team like Blackpool almost avoiding relegation last season. The reason people think it's competitive is because so many teams in it range from mediocre to utter dross.

  • Comment number 50.

    Bit rich accusing la liga of being a two horse race , perhaps we should be grateful we have a four horse race here !
    Im afraid clubs are way ahead of the legislators here , what with clubs only being able to spend what comes in through the gates then the status quo will remain .
    Football here through the TV money is not fair and will only mean the bigger clubs will get bigger

  • Comment number 51.

    #49 The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    The top 2 in Spain are also the top 2 in Europe, so it's little wonder they dominate their league so much.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On what evidence are Real Madrid in the top 2 in Europe?

  • Comment number 52.

    48. At 09:38 27th Sep 2011, Kapnag wrote:
    #47, these money bags teams still cant compete with Ferguson, who has won 4 out of the last 5 leagues. When will people like you wake up and realise United's dominance is down to Sir alex, not money?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I didn't say that United's success was entirely down to money ( although dominating the league from its inception, and all the financial clout that ensued from that dominance certainly accounts for a lot of their success over the last two decades ).

    The point I'm making is that Manchester City and Chelsea aren't the only two serious challengers to the title because of the English TV deal. They are the only serious contenders because they have mega-rich owners who can pump so much money into the club, that, in all intents and purposes, makes the disparity of ''income'' between them and an average PL team exactly the same as the financial disparity between the big 2 in Spain and the rest of La Liga.

  • Comment number 53.

    1878onwards - I'm not saying that Man Utd aren't a great club or even that Man Utd wouldn't have won the league without the Sky cash. For me the Leeds league title was more down to Cantona than MU's run of games etc, when Fergie got Cantona he completed his jigsaw & had the best domestic team.

    As for the point about MU's dominance in the Sky era, we'll never know how other teams would have done, MU would likely still have won more titles than most but I'm not sure they'd have dominated the 90s so completely under Edwards' 1980s style spending as they did when money had more of a say in football. Having said that, MU have produced some great players & SAF is for me the best football manager of the Sky era & I don't support a PL team (long suffering Forest fan) so am relatively neutral.

  • Comment number 54.

    51. At 09:42 27th Sep 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    On what evidence are Real Madrid in the top 2 in Europe?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Most people would agree that Barcelona are the best team in Europe at the moment. Despite the 5-0 drubbing that Real received early on last season, they consistently pushed Barca the closest ( only finishing 4 points behind them in the league, winning the Copa del Rey, and also giving them a tough battle in the CL semi-finals ).

    You would imagine that one of the top EPL clubs would be a contender fro second best team in Europe, but we've seen how the top English side has been completely outplayed ( some would say embarrassed ) by Barca twice over the last three seasons.

  • Comment number 55.

    #52 - You just said it then, what always makes me laugh when people look back to the start of the premiership, they conveniently forget that United were comfortably being outspent by nearly half the premiership. Everyone had money in those days, but they were terrible with it.

    As for today's game, Chelsea and City have taken half of Arsenal's side away from them, and plucked out the best players from the rest of the league over short periods of time. All they have done is unsettle existing sides, whilst throwing their signings onto the waste pile to replace them a year or two later. It has been Chelsea and City driving prices up, Torres never worth £50m which led to the scandalous £35m for Carroll.

  • Comment number 56.

    #48 Kapnag

    these money bags teams still cant compete with Ferguson, who has won 4 out of the last 5 leagues. When will people like you wake up and realise United's dominance is down to Sir alex, not money?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think it's a combination of Ferguson AND money.

    Chelsea have really been the only team to challenge Man U and that is fuelled by money. Chelsea, the football team, have not been as well run as Man U the football team.

    Everton and Arsenal have in Moyes and Wenger the consistency and continuity of Man U but have not had the money to back up that continuity with quality. (Let's not bring Wenger's transfer policy into this - he may have mismanaged his resources but his resources have been lower that Ferguson's due to the stadium move.)

    Man U have, to an extent, been in the right place at the right time and they, through Ferguson, have made the most of that. I have no real complaints with that, I think it is the reality of the situation.

  • Comment number 57.

    18. At 23:44 26th Sep 2011, Football_UK wrote:

    I watched two La Liga matches in consecutive matches. In both matches, I turned the channel in the middle of the match. The spectacle was disappointing and worse than boring. Then again, it didn't involve Barcelona nor Real Madrid, the lion share receivers of TV cash allocation in Spain.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You may have just been unlucky in the choice of matches you viewed. After all, you could have turned over and watched West Brom v Fulham or Villa v Stoke, and come to the same conclusion about the Premier League.

    La Liga is no different to the PL in the fact that some teams are better to watch than others.

  • Comment number 58.

    I don't understand how anybody can say TV cash should be biased towards the big names from an 'economic' point of view,

    Football should always be a sport, first and foremost, and the economics of football should always be conducted as necessary management of the sport.

    Sport requires as fair a playing field as possible, and The big names simply don't matter if there is no-one for them to play, wether United destroy Arsenal 8-2 or Stoke earn a draw against them, some people would argue Arsenal deserve more TV money because they're a bigger name.

    The reality is the sooner football leagues realise they are co dependent on each other as a business model the better.

    When La liga finally sorts itself out it'll be 10 times more entertaining. Imagine this great Barca side actually having to stretch its legs every week instead of playing at a walking pace.

  • Comment number 59.

    #54 The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    In summary then, it is simply your opinion that Real Madrid are the second best team in Europe and there is no more evidence to support that opinion than me saying that Man U or Chelsea could be the second best team in Europe. (Probably Man U as it goes.)

  • Comment number 60.

    #56, which would explain why people used to debate who was the better manager, Wenger or Ferguson before it became apparent Wenger doesn't know a defender from a decorator. As soon as ferguson retires, things will change. Unless people are expecting United to dominate for the next 20 years

    Man Utd's money became an issue when other clubs knew they had it and wanted as much as they could get - if they didn't get greedy they wouldn't have driven up prices across the market and they might have been able to get some quality players themselves. Premiership transfer fees are astronomical compared to the rest of Europe

  • Comment number 61.

    What a bunch of idiotic posters we have on here. One in particular who referred to a 'moralistic' view as being 'blinkered'. And another who referred to equality as being like the 'Vietcong'.

    All teams deserve an equal financial footing, and this is from a United fan. And everyone in society deserves the same thing. You have been brainwashed by the elite. What makes me laugh is that most of the people on here scoffing at the idea of financial equality are working class and therefore subjugated by the very system you claim to favour. Wake up.

    @ 45. Spot on mate.

  • Comment number 62.

    As much as anything SAF is correct. TV have too much power and can effectively pick and choose any clubs fixture list for them (his example of potentialy playing in easten Europe Wednesday night and then in London the following Saturday lunch time is a good one, as is making Sunderland fans have to get to London for lunchtime kickoffs, for example). As he says, when you sign contracts for so much money then that's the price you pay.

    Earlier this season my club, Sheffield Wednesday played a Carling Cup game on a Thursday night at Hillsborough which went to extra time and penalties. We had a league game in Bournemouth on the Saturday. We could have turned down the offer of the televised match, but we couldn't afford to pass the money by. Bournemouth refused to switch the Saturday fixture (and why shouldn't they - I'd expect Wednesday to do the same) and we duly lost. That begged the question, why can't something be written into the contract that if a side is playing in Europe on a Wednesday night and Sky want to televise their game the following weekend it has to be on a Sunday. Likewise Sky can't switch a match to Sunday at 4pm if that side is playing in Europe on the Tuesday?
    ----------------------

    in reply to @54. who wrote "You would imagine that one of the top EPL clubs would be a contender fro [sic] second best team in Europe, but we've seen how the top English side has been completely outplayed ( some would say embarrassed ) by Barca twice over the last three seasons."

    Surely that fact that this was in the final of the ECL means that ManU ARE the second best team in Europe?

  • Comment number 63.

    Soul Patch

    What difference does it make if Barca and Madrid were the best two teams in Europe? They are the best teams because of the absurd bias towards them. Madrid financed from a bottomless non-specific pit, Barca allowed to claim the best youngsters from the entire country of Spain. The two teams are then allowed to square off against each other while other teams take a backseat.

  • Comment number 64.

    59. At 09:59 27th Sep 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    In summary then, it is simply your opinion that Real Madrid are the second best team in Europe and there is no more evidence to support that opinion than me saying that Man U or Chelsea could be the second best team in Europe. (Probably Man U as it goes.)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes, it's my opinion which is formed through factual evidence. Real Madrid push Barca the closest, and the best that England has to offer were made to look rather foolish in 2009 and 2011.

    Of course, this can all change over a season, and Manchester United may well challenge Barca and Real this season, but until that happens, I'll just stick to the facts which we have at this point.

  • Comment number 65.

    and also giving them a tough battle in the CL semi-finals

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Did you watch the same games as me? What I saw was Barcelona playing like they always do and Real Marid chasing shadows, eventually resorting to fouling, clogging and hoofing long balls. It was embarassingly one-sided.

  • Comment number 66.

    50.At 09:41 27th септ. 2011, monisspecial wrote:
    Bit rich accusing la liga of being a two horse race , perhaps we should be grateful we have a four horse race here !
    Im afraid clubs are way ahead of the legislators here , what with clubs only being able to spend what comes in through the gates then the status quo will remain .
    Football here through the TV money is not fair and will only mean the bigger clubs will get bigger
    =============================================================
    I don't understand this view. If a club is endowed with the (enter generic commodity i.e. oil/gas/alumnium etc.) funds to spend to get nearer to the top clubs they will undoubtedly do so. The FFP rules don't say anywhere clubs aren't allowed to spend. If a club has the long term strategy, as Manchester City obviously have, they will balance spending with future ambitions.

    As far as the La Liga vs Premier League 2 horse debate, it has been done to death. Even so you still get the odd few who refuse to accept the truth. There is intrigue in the Premier League, where the clubs squads are closer in ability to one another. The table shows it each year and Real Madrid is far from 2nd in Europe because if they were they'd be playing in CL finals (and losing them) year in year out.

  • Comment number 67.

    Surprisingly I find myself agreeing with Sir Alex. Firstly, I agree with some comments that football should not forget what television (read SKY) has done for the game over the last 20 years; but I don't think the article suggests that television has been bad for the game. The issues in question I think are firstly the control over match scheduling that television (read SKY) appears to have (my side Derby have had a 3pm Saturday game at Crystal Palace changed to 7.45pm Friday this week and there are many, many similar examples). This I think is a genuine problem that fans and clubs would like to see rectified. I think it is accepted that we need televised matches (for the domestic wider audience demand and for the money it creates), but a little more sensibility should be afforded to the scheduling of these matches. I have no problem with a Friday night match but can the decision makers consider the fans and think about distance and travelling times?

    The second issue, and the one that stands out for me, is the distribution of income generated through the Premier League television deal. The method in which foreign television income is currently distributed equally is the only fair method and it frustrates me that people claim this to be unfair on clubs such as Manchester Utd and City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool for instance. Television could very easily destroy our game and create such inequality across the league and disenfranchisement of supporters and in my view, any unequal distribution of income could be the catalyst for this.

    The Premier League is sold as a product. There are 20 teams that make up that product. If people want to just see Manchester Utd, or another 'leading' club, play one of four or five teams every week then that is the first step away from the competition as it is known. That is a step down the line of the thought process that spawned the Champions League and is the sort of thinking, in my view, that has not taken the game forward, but has taken the game away from many supporters.

    Just a note to some people; although there are 20 teams in the Premier League, there are a further 72 clubs in the English Football League which the Premier League needs to support the product it is offering. Far too many people think that football began in 1992 and don't consider the implications of protectionism around the more successful clubs and the long-term affects on the domestic and national game.

    http://thethoughtsofphil.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 68.

    #64 The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    I don't even think you're comparing like with like! Barcelona beat Real Madrid over a two-legged semi final and beat them in the league last season. Barcelona only beat Man U in a one-off game.

    At best, for your argument, Real Madrid and Man U are equal second but, based on the actual football that took place as described above, I would put Man U above Real Madrid and I don't think there is ANY evidence to the contrary.

    It might not suit your anti-Premier League agenda (why is it you have that? Are you 'nibs' in disguise) but I don't see any of your 'factual evidence'.

    Perhaps you would substantiate your 'factual evidence' so that we can all follow your argument.

  • Comment number 69.

    People should listen to the full interview and at least try and understand what Ferguson is saying. He is not bemoaning the premier league tv money or Man United's share or lack of it, quite the opposite in fact.
    What he is intimating is his perceived lack of co-operation from Sky and the premier league when it comes to fixture congestion in particular the champions league scheduling.
    When it comes to the CL knock out stages, Spain like Italy and other leagues allow their clubs to switch fixture dates to say a friday night before the midweek CL games which gives their countries teams an unfair advantage and ergo a greater share of the CL tv pot.
    I agree with him.

  • Comment number 70.

    63. At 10:06 27th Sep 2011, DeadRevel - SaveOur606 wrote:

    What difference does it make if Barca and Madrid were the best two teams in Europe? They are the best teams because of the absurd bias towards them. Madrid financed from a bottomless non-specific pit, Barca allowed to claim the best youngsters from the entire country of Spain. The two teams are then allowed to square off against each other while other teams take a backseat.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A bottomless pit? Like Sheikh Mansour's pockets? If they had a more egalitarian approach to their TV deals in Spain, then they could just gain the extra revenue by putting themselves up for sale and operating like Man City or Chelsea.

    Your comment about Barca is a joke; Xavi, Messi (by residence), Valdes and Pique - all from Barcelona. Puyol and Busquets - Catalans who would also qualify for Barcelona's youth system under the 90-minute rule in England. Pedro - signed when he was 18, which any other club could have done. Iniesta - not from the local area but signed in 1999, before English football introduced the 90-minute rule.

    So, if you imagine that all of those players had an English doppelganger, then there is no reason why an English side couldn't have formed exactly the same team.

    ''Haters gonna hate'' as they say.

    Also, why aren't you complaining about advantages that English teams receive over some in other countries, like being able to sign 16 and 17-year-old Italians, who can't sign a professional deal in their own country until they are 18. Federico Macheda being a perfect example of this. Let's not even delve too closely into the deal which took Pogba from Le Havre...

  • Comment number 71.

    then they could just gain the extra revenue by putting themselves up for sale and operating like Man City or Chelsea.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Or Malaga.

  • Comment number 72.

    #41, yes Man U were awful. The reason they won the league was refereeing decisions so biasedly in their favour all season. Fergie has far too much power. The FA and refs are scared of him. Video replays need to be brought in to dilute this added effect of power clubs/managers gaining extra pts unfairly.

  • Comment number 73.

    Fergie makes a fair point. Foreign fans get to watch every single premier league game where as we have to make do with 2-4 a week. Surely overseas countries should pay significantly more for the extra games they can watch. I also don't understand why the overseas rights aren't sold in a territory by territory basis. Surely you could get massive deals out of the Arab States and possibly China/Japan/Korea individually?

  • Comment number 74.

    Video replays need to be brought in to dilute this added effect of power clubs/managers gaining extra pts unfairly.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yeah, those pesky extra points we get. I remember we were awarded 4 points for a win a few times last season, and two for some draws.

    Idiot.

  • Comment number 75.

    68. At 10:15 27th Sep 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I've already stated the factual evidence. Real had an extra-time win over Barca in the Copa de Rey, they drew the second league game, and lost 3-1 on aggregate in the CL semi-final (Real being unlucky when Mascherano conned the ref into thinking that Ronaldo fouled him, which led to Higuain scoring a disallowed goal).

    The aggregate score of the last two games between Manchester United and Barca has been 5-1 (the one courtesy of some poor officiating in this year's final).

    I admit that Real's thrashing of Tottenham last year has been pretty much replicated by the top sides in England this season, but the second-leg win came about when Real had half their first team rested, and Spurs had to resort to throwing themselves around as an act of desperation in an attempt to get on the scoresheet.

    There's not many United players who get into Real's side, and players like Cleverly and Welbeck would be playing in the third-division in Spain for Real Madrid Castilla!

  • Comment number 76.

    #73 Bellion-Wonderland

    I'm probably going to struggle to explain how, but, I don't think it is possible to get massive deals as you describe.

    Because there is not quite the connection between the clubs and it's fans (in the way that you or I might have a connection between ourselves and our clubs), if you start charging too much, you might price yourself out of the market, and people in those territories may just watch a different league instead, I think.

    If the Premier League IS the most watched in the world, then I think all you can hope for is that it costs the most to watch in those countries. Charge too much and I think you might turn them off.

    I hope that makes sense (though I'm not convinced that it does!)

    I don't know if it's a good example, but I would imagine that even something as globally popular as The Simpsons makes higher broadcasting revenue in the US than overseas.

  • Comment number 77.

    71. At 10:23 27th Sep 2011, We all follow United wrote:

    Or Malaga.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There's no comparison between Malaga's spending and Man City's or Chelsea's. Look at the players they've got in - a collection of over-the-hill players and others who they didn't have to fight too hard with other teams to gain their signatures.

  • Comment number 78.

    and Spurs had to resort to throwing themselves around as an act of desperation in an attempt to get on the scoresheet.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Really? You're criticising English sides for 'throwing themselves around'? Barcelona play some of the best football ever seen yet the likes of Busquets, Pedro, Mascherano, Thiago, Alves etc have taken diving to a new level. Remember the Inter Milan game? Almost the entire Barca team surrounding the referee to get Van Persie sent off for the heinous crime of 'having a shot'? And lets not even get started on Ronaldo, Pepe, Marcelo and the like!

  • Comment number 79.

    76. At 10:42 27th Sep 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Because there is not quite the connection between the clubs and it's fans (in the way that you or I might have a connection between ourselves and our clubs), if you start charging too much, you might price yourself out of the market, and people in those territories may just watch a different league instead, I think.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I think that's the case. Take somewhere like India, where the Premier League is quite popular. Is it that popular that TV companies would fork out over-the-odds money for TV rights? Or would they just think, ''that's too pricey, we'll show something else''.

    It's a question of how much of a demand there is to see the PL from within the country in question, and in a lot these countries the PL is popular because it's the only foreign league which is shown.

  • Comment number 80.

    #79 The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    I'm just stunned that we agree on something! :-)

  • Comment number 81.

    78. At 10:48 27th Sep 2011, We all follow United wrote:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I don't have a problem with players throwing themselves around. As far as I can see, diving is no worse than claiming a corner or throw-in which you know came off you last, or committing a foul or deliberate hand-ball.

    It's just that the English like to pride themselves on not diving - with a few notable exceptions ;) - so for an English side to so conspicuously and systematically attempt to win penalties from throwing themselves around, was just a measure of the desperation which Spurs were showing in that second-leg.

  • Comment number 82.

    80. At 10:53 27th Sep 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    I'm just stunned that we agree on something! :-)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Give it a few more months, and you'll be echoing my comments regarding Real Madrid's place in the overall European pecking order. ;)

    By the way, guess who are the bookies' second-favourites to win the Champions League this year?

  • Comment number 83.

    so for an English side to so conspicuously and systematically attempt to win penalties from throwing themselves around, was just a measure of the desperation which Spurs were showing in that second-leg.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So based on that, do Spanish sides show a measure of desperation for the entire 90 minutes?

  • Comment number 84.

    #81 The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    I do have a problem with gamesmanship it is the almost stratospheric level that Barcelona and Spain seem to have taken it to that, in my opinion, takes the shine off of their recent achievements.

    And I would be equally critical if it was my team as well as any others.

  • Comment number 85.

    #41
    Sure other leagues sell their rights abroad BUT the EPL is sold to the most countries of any league and they get the greatest viewing figures. Also in most countries more EPL games are shown each weekend than they show for other leagues.

    And i'm not sure subs would rise, the EPL is the most marketable so theywoud rise their ad rates

  • Comment number 86.

    #81 The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    How you can compare diving to fouls etc is beyond me!

    If a player fouls or handballs he is punished for it and rightly so. Diving often gets rewarded especially for Barcelona whose players have developed it into a fine art! Often the other team gets punished, seldom is it that the diving player gets a yellow card in the CL especially. It does happen in the EPL sometimes but not often enough IMHO.

    I agree with Mr Blue Burns if it was my team doing it I would still condemn it.

  • Comment number 87.

    soulpatchofdavidvilla, you're so one eyed and blinkered it's boring. "Oh spanish football is so wonderful, so far ahead of the premiership." Madrid clearly number 2 in europe despite their last final appearance being nearly a decade ago.

    Your diving comments are silly, especially hot on the heels of the disgraceful scenes in the cl semi last season between Barca and Madrid - one of the worst adverts for football I have ever seen.

  • Comment number 88.

    69. At 10:17 27th Sep 2011, jimmyroyce wrote:

    When it comes to the CL knock out stages, Spain like Italy and other leagues allow their clubs to switch fixture dates to say a friday night before the midweek CL games which gives their countries teams an unfair advantage and ergo a greater share of the CL tv pot.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You see, it's comments like these which make it necessary for people like me to post on these blogs and redress some of the blinkered, Anglo-centric nonsense which is all too prevalent.

    How is it an ''unfair'' advantage for domestic leagues to make accommodations for their representatives in European competitions? It's an advantage, but certainly not unfair. The inference from your statement is that it's some dubious trick by ''johnny foreigner'' to swindle the good, honest English teams out of some money.

    The fact of the matter is that the blame is entirely down to the English clubs for not demanding more fixture flexibility from Sky when it comes to rescheduling matches for teams who are involved in Europe.

  • Comment number 89.

    Nobody will ever forget the disgrace of Busquets peeping through his fingers to get that Inter Milan player sent off. They realised they weren't as good as Inter so had to resort to cheating to gain an advantage yet still couldn't win. Barca's reaction to Inter celebrating was also a disgrace. Whilst their football is sublime, their overall conduct is awful.

  • Comment number 90.

    @89

    As much as I love Barca's football I can not agree...they are marvelous winners but truly terrible losers. Real shame

  • Comment number 91.

    84. At 10:58 27th Sep 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    I do have a problem with gamesmanship it is the almost stratospheric level that Barcelona and Spain seem to have taken it to that, in my opinion, takes the shine off of their recent achievements.

    And I would be equally critical if it was my team as well as any others.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It only ''takes the shine off their achievements'' if you are someone who wants to fins any reason to detract from the fact that Spain and Barcelona currently own world football.

    First of all, there are two kinds of diving. Exaggerating contact from a foul (like Alves with Pepe last year) and making up a foul which never occurred (Eduardo against Celtic, for example).

    The former is fully justified, as far as I'm concerned, because referees just do not penalise fouls if the player stays on his feet. Look how many times Messi gets fouled on one of his mazy runs, but doesn't get the referee's decision because he stays on his feet.

    It's going down upon contact which make up the majority of ''dives'' which makes the holier-than-thou, English footballing public tut-tut.

    Making up contact, on the other hand, is cheating, but is no worse than intentionally fouling someone (or being ''professional'', as the euphemism which is used by English pundits), deliberately hand-balling or claiming a throw-in which you know came off you last.

    It's just that the English footballing public have such a warped and, ironically, dishonest view of fair-play where diving is seen as some kind of cardinal sin, whereas falsely claiming a corner is just though of as ''part and parcel of the game''.

  • Comment number 92.

    So once again this turns into a argument about which is better la liga vs. epl.

    The fact is the top flight of spain has had only 8 winners in its entirety while english top flight has had about 25 winners. Barca and Real have always had a monopoly over their league.
    And which other team has had banks fund them and wipe their debt? Real Madrid have had more liberties than other team in the world. Anyway that is beside the point.

    Real and Barcelona appear most on TV, which is natural, and they get most of the money generated from TV, and when these financial fair play rules kick in, who do you think will benefit most from it?

    I'm not surprised most people actually chose to ignore that Sir Alex wants there to be fair distribution of tv income between all clubs despite the fact Man United appear most on tv. If it was like it is in spain, most of the clubs in the league would not have anywhere near the amount of income they are getting currently

  • Comment number 93.

    I believe it would be a lot easier if the Premier League were a lot more transparent. As in i would like to know something along the lines of:

    Revenue from Sky
    Revenue from overseas
    Other Revenue etc

    Then a breakdown of where the money goes

    Prem teams
    Football League
    Investors
    Prem staff & directors

    Something simple like that would hopefully make us all a lot less suspiscious as to where the billions of pounds (especially from overseas revenues) is going.

  • Comment number 94.

    89. At 11:09 27th Sep 2011, We all follow United wrote:
    Nobody will ever forget the disgrace of Busquets peeping through his fingers to get that Inter Milan player sent off. They realised they weren't as good as Inter so had to resort to cheating to gain an advantage yet still couldn't win. Barca's reaction to Inter celebrating was also a disgrace. Whilst their football is sublime, their overall conduct is awful.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Again, Busquets was fully justified in going down. How else was Motta going to be punished for his raised hand unless Busquets exaggerated contact?

    I agree, Barcelona are bad losers, but just about every successful sportsman/sporting team is.

  • Comment number 95.

    #91 The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    There is certainly hypocrisy among the fans, players and media about the issue of diving in the English game. Afterall, you could cite examples such as Franny Lee in the 70's who had problems staying vertical!

    (I think this is an amusing copy and paste - 'He holds the English record for the greatest number of penalties scored in a season, a feat which earned him the nickname Lee One Pen, and sometimes led to accusations of diving. One such accusation, from Leeds United's Norman Hunter, led to an on-pitch fight, which The Observer later named as sport's most spectacular dismissal.')

    But, and it is a big but, your acceptance of it and the attitude that goes with it seems to allow it to become more and more acceptable and is as bad as Shearer on MOTD when he uses a phrase like 'the attacker is entitled to go down'.

    No one is 'entitled' to go down. If you're fouled you go down but not of your own accord! Let's draw a line and state that all such behaviour is unacceptable and eats away at any integrity in the game.

  • Comment number 96.

    92. At 11:19 27th Sep 2011, niro_d_wolf wrote:
    So once again this turns into a argument about which is better la liga vs. epl.

    The fact is the top flight of spain has had only 8 winners in its entirety while english top flight has had about 25 winners. Barca and Real have always had a monopoly over their league.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Spain has actually had 9-seasons, and their league started 40 years later than England's.

    In reality, though, it doesn't matter, because Preston winning in 1889, or Real Betis winning in 1934, is completely irrelevant to modern-day landscape of both leagues.


    You only need to compare them from 1992-onwards. It doesn't paint a pretty picture of the PL - 4 champions, and the top 4 being populated by the same clubs, time and time again.

  • Comment number 97.

    You only need to compare them from 1992-onwards. It doesn't paint a pretty picture of the PL - 4 champions, and the top 4 being populated by the same clubs, time and time again.

    ==

    Yeah, cos one of those clubs are being managed by Sir Alex Ferguson. Clubs that have run him close/finished above him in that time:

    Arsenal
    Blackburn
    Chelsea
    Liverpool
    Newcastle
    Aston Villa
    Norwich
    Man City this season

    The fact is, whatever criticism you lay at the premiership's door, you can easily apply that to Spanish football.

  • Comment number 98.

    95. At 11:24 27th Sep 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes, people like to ignore the English players who dive. There are a couple of current England internationals, one from the red half of Merseyside, the other from the blue, who would give Tom Daley a run for his money.

    I disagree about the ''integrity'' argument, as no-one has ever explained why diving is any worse than shouting ''our ball'' every-time the ball goes out for a throw-in or corner. In fact, Ashley Cole seems to have an automatic response of raising his arm in the air, every time the ball goes out of play off him.

    Presumably you'll be just as critical of him as you will be of players like Busquets taking a tumble?

  • Comment number 99.

    This has to be one of the most disingenuous blogs I've ever seen; it's absolutely littered with hackneyed spin - on Fergie, on the Glazers, and on the whole issue of TV rights.

  • Comment number 100.

    #98 The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    Yes, I would be equally critical of appealing for a ball that is not yours. I would also mention the example of the almost assault like contact that goes on when defenders are shielding the ball from an attacker so that it runs out of play for a goal kick.

    However, I would add the pretty strong caveat that neither of those examples are as serious or potentially game changing (in themselves) as cheating to get a penalty or trying to get a player sent off. I have never seen a goal scored from a throw in. (Though there was that one Rory Delap example....... :-) )

    And in any event, clamping down on some of what goes on would be a start even if it would be harder to clamp down on it all.

 

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