The below article on EPL Newcastle issues got me thinking about a few wider interrelated topics.
- The EPL voted through this initial sponsorship suspension 18 in favour & City abstaining. This is a pretty unanimous statement of intent by almost every EPL club at both ends of the spectrum.
- Newcastle are claiming such a sponsorship suspension is anti-competitive. They used a very similar argument in the CAT re the takeover before that dispute was resolved. See their EPL cartel and dominance wording herehttps://lnkd.in/e_AxiUvw.
- Again similar to NUFC’s previous EPL takeover dispute, EPL dispute proceedings were initiated. It is likely that if matters escalate, new ownership will take a leaf out of Mike Ashley’s playbook and start arbitration with 3 independent arbitrators appointed to resolve matters.
- Interestingly City abstained because (perhaps) of their current ongoing EPL arbitration in part re their historic Etihad sponsorship deal & Football Leaks fallout. One area of discussion at the time was related party transactions & fair/market value.
- By way of wider context, cost control/FFP reform is back on the cards at UEFA level specifically with talk of luxury taxes replacing break-even. This is the reported Bayern (stricter break-even) v PSG (looser luxury tax) conflict at the ECA right now.
- EPL clubs are worried NU will ‘game’ the break-even regime through higher commercial revs giving NU greater leeway to spend. Expect more stringent regulations on related party deals brought in ASAP &/or wider structural discussion on whether EPL should follow UEFA luxury tax reforms.
- Add to this context the fan led review into football governance and the distinct possibility of an independent regulator. This body may well be given oversight over such FFP/cost control/luxury tax compliance issues.
- Whilst the EPL & EFL are currently regulating such matters like related party commercial deals & cost control more generally, the coming months may lead to the independent football regulator being handed such responsibilities.
- As you can see, one micro decision is part of a broader number of macro issues for clubs, EPL, EFL, UEFA & government all from a political, legal, governance, regulatory and commercial perspective.