Premier League clubs vote to tighten sponsorship rules

The Premier League has implemented stricter regulations aimed at preventing clubs from inflating sponsorship and transfer deals with entities linked to their owners.

These revised rules were approved by a ‘very narrow’ majority in a club vote last month and aim to address concerns about Profit and Sustainability Rules and maintaining a level playing field within the league.

The process will now work where the clubs must demonstrate the legitimacy of these transactions. They must provide a declaration from an associated party director confirming their belief in the deal’s fair market value.

Then an independent commission will review each of these deals, make a decision and impose a range of sanctions for any breaches they find. The severity of the offence will determine the penalty.

It is understood that the vote was not unanimous, with the league scraping through their ‘two-thirds majority’ rule with 14 of the 20 clubs agreeing to this policy.

Manchester City and Newcastle were reportedly part of the few clubs that staunchly opposed this policy and both clubs are in the spotlight having entered multiple commercial deals with brands from the same countries as their owners over recent years.

This has become an obvious integrity issue with the way clubs have inflated deals with affiliated entities in order to meet the stricter FFP thresholds that have seen clubs like Everton and Nottingham Forest punished, the former with a six-point deduction.

It became an interesting discussion after big clubs like Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham voted in favour of these new strict rules after recently being passed by Newcastle and Manchester City in commercial revenue.

Out of the 115 FFP charges that Manchester City face, the ones that could impose the biggest sanction are directly related to this topic, with the club earning over 13 times more in 2022/23 than they did in 2008 when the takeover first occurred, indicating a potential exaggeration of revenue from their Middle Eastern sponsors.

The Premier League claims that these revisions will ensure long-term financial sustainability while promoting fairness amongst clubs as they try to prevent other clubs from gaining an unfair advantage through non-market practices.

With Leicester City, Everton and Nottingham Forest charged in the last month, there is a clear crackdown on clubs breaking the Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR).

It is certainly a step in the right direction for the Premier League who are seeing more clubs spend seemingly above their means without any harsh regulatory or legal checks that could potentially damage the integrity of the competition.

UEFA and FIFPRO Europe pledge to strengthen their collaboration

In Stuttgart, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin met with David Terrier, President of FIFPRO Europe, and members of the FIFPRO Europe board in an attempt to improve the working relationship between the two parties and professional footballers in Europe.

Key topics covered included football governance, player workload trends, and the growth of women’s football.

The two organisations had plans previously to mend the relationship and focus solely on employment matters affecting male and female players within the European football pyramid.

The meeting not only emphasised the growing relationship between UEFA and FIFPRO Europe, but it also highlighted greater player inclusion in decision-making processes, giving them more agency around matters that affect them.

This will be touched on by creating a new player-specific forum for important discussions with UEFA, complimenting the annual UEFA Convention on European football’s future.

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin spoke on the meeting and the progress it will make on the sustainability of football in Europe.

“Since David Terrier’s election as President of FIFPRO Europe, we have covered significant ground in our collaborative efforts. We may not agree on every issue and work remains to be done, but our progress across a wide range of areas is evident,” he said in a statement.

“In recent months, we have successfully implemented measures to tackle issues affecting players in both men’s and women’s football while also improving governance structures. This ongoing dialogue is essential as we strive to address the evolving challenges in football.”

David Terrier, President of FIFPRO Europe expressed a similar sentiment about the importance of these healthy discussions with UEFA.

“Our collaboration with UEFA is going from strength to strength and I would like to thank Aleksander Čeferin in understanding the key issues facing players today,” Terrier explained in a statement.

“Our primary objective is to create a healthy and sustainable environment for all players in Europe, and we very much see UEFA as a key partner to build long-lasting solutions.

“We look forward to achieving more, tangible outcomes for the players we represent and, generally, for the betterment of professional football across the continent.”

The solidarity-based football pyramid in Europe also ensures that benefits and resources are distributed across all European leagues, players and clubs so they can properly tackle these issues at all levels.

It is a fantastic step forward in improving the quality of European football by listening to players on what they find most challenging in the professional game, and it will be interesting to see how the player forum affects decisions in the near future.

Brisbane Roar confirm multi-year apparel deal with Cikers Australia

Brisbane Roar confirmed a multi-year deal with Cikers Australia to become the club’s new Apparel Partner, leaving behind New Balance who first joined the Roar in 2021-22.

The deal, the most lucrative in Brisbane Roar’s history, will have the club in Cikers Australia kit and apparel for the next three seasons.

Cikers will produce a wider variety of custom playing, training, and casual wear for Roar players, staff, members, and supporters.

Cikers Australia is an apparel company that offers services to local clubs, schools, universities and organisations with their high quality teamwear manufactured to the very highest standards and competitively priced.

The company currently also partner with A-League Champions Central Coast Mariners and future National Second Division club Wollongong Wolves, offering them both club record multi-year deals.

It’s clear Cikers Australia is playing a big role in Australian football on the manufacturing side and will look to strike more deals in the future with CEO Victor Wang claiming it is in their best interest to build a name through the world game down under.

Zac Anderson, Brisbane Roar COO expressed his excitement on the possibilities of this new deal for the club’s kit designs in its 20th season.

“We are thrilled to join forces with Cikers Australia. This partnership marks a pivotal step towards taking more control over our Club’s merchandise and retail strategy.” Anderson said in a club statement.

“Our collaboration is focused upon delivering products that represent our Club’s great history and connection to Queensland.

“We are committed to excellence, and together with Cikers Australia, we aim to deliver apparel that our players and supporters are proud of.”

The club have promised special, revamped pieces of merchandise to celebrate the club’s 20th season competing in the A-League by representing the club’s origins in their kit designs.

In 2023, Cikers released a design for the Mariners in their Australia Cup campaign by paying homage to the original Mariners kit of the inaugural 2005/06 season A-League season, and it was met with praise from the fanbase so expect similar in this deal.

Both parties share the same values of growing the game and selecting designs that speak to the history of the club making this a brilliant deal for the Brisbane Roar who have recently struck many good business deals.

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