Football faces chilling new threat

Football faces a chilling new threat: multi-club ownership.
This model, where investors control or influence multiple teams across the globe, has exploded in popularity, with UEFA reporting a staggering 180 clubs entangled in its web by 2022. That’s nearly twice the number just four years ago, and a fivefold increase since 2012 writes Michael Talbot.

Football faces chilling new threat

But this meteoric rise isn’t cause for celebration. Instead, it rings alarm bells about the potential erosion of the very essence of football – fair competition, local identity, and the spirit of the game.

Imagine a scenario where a single investor owns fierce rivals in the same league. Transfers between these clubs could become mere accounting tricks, inflating prices and distorting the market.

Football faces chilling new threat

Shared facilities and scouting networks could give one team an unfair advantage over another. This is just one nightmarish possibility born from multi-club ownership.
But the threat goes beyond match-fixing. The financial muscle of these investor groups widens the already gaping chasm between “super clubs” and smaller teams. Imagine a league dominated by a handful of global giants, leaving local heroes and passionate fans with little hope of ever competing. This isn’t just about trophies – it’s about the soul of the sport, its ability to inspire communities and offer a pathway for local talent.
Then there’s the issue of identity. When ownership becomes detached from a club’s history and community, its unique character is at risk. Imagine a club’s traditions and playing style dictated by investors with little understanding of the local culture. Will the passionate chants and vibrant colors be replaced by generic branding and a soulless pursuit of profit?
Examples abound. The sinister City Football Group, owned by Abu Dhabi United Group, owns 13 clubs worldwide, including Manchester City. Red Bull GmbH controls RB Leipzig, Salzburg, and Bragantino, among others. While they claim independence, their shared branding and transfer strategies raise eyebrows.
The good news? Regulatory bodies like UEFA are scrambling to address this Frankenstein’s monster. Potential solutions include stricter regulations to prevent conflicts of interest and ensure fair competition. Fan groups are also raising their voices, demanding action to protect the spirit of the game.
But the question remains: is it enough? Will regulations be strong enough to curb the power of these investor groups? Will fans be heard? Or will football become a mere spectacle, controlled by a select few, devoid of its passion and local roots?
The future of football hangs in the balance. It’s time for a serious conversation about multi-club ownership, its potential dangers, and the measures needed to safeguard the beautiful game from becoming a soulless corporate entity. Let’s not let football become a victim of its own success.

About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

3 comments on “Football faces chilling new threat

  1. Football used to be about local identity. Your team was part of your “family”.
    Now it is turning into an investment and advertising vehicle. Some teams with a strong fan base are resisting for now (Benfica, Sevilla, NAC Breda, St. Pauli). Others can’t put up a fight (like Palermo) and end up being owned by investors such as City Football Group.
    It is hard to survive if you are a small club in a small market with a small fan base. Clubs are like people. Some sell their soul for money and others don’t, even if it means being poor.

  2. A nation of’ Shop-keepers’ wanting to preserve something that never really existed.

    I wonder if Michael Talbot was an advocate of High Streets across Britain, with local butchers, green grocers, Tailors and haberdashers, were local business owners were allowed to make a profit and serve the community…?

    I’m sorry to reveal that the 2020’s world has global everything, Banks, Supermarkets and online shopping.

    Since 2008 Global Financial Crisis, the wealthiest 1% have seen their wealth increase exponentially, while the 99% struggled.

    Football is the same ‘financial business’ and will continue to be owned by big money and consolidate it’s power through conglomerate multinational acquisitions.

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