Is it okay that our football clubs have foreign owners?

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  • Two decades at the helm of global entertainment giant Walt Disney might seem a strange apprenticeship for taking over a lower-level English football club, but Michael Eisner insists it is the latest logical move in his high-flying business career.


    The 75-year-old American completed his takeover of historic south coast club Portsmouth in August for £5.67m, buying it from fans who had stepped in with their own money to save the club.

    For those who follow the media industry, the name Michael Eisner is instantly recognisable as the former head of Disney, who took what was once a predominantly American film studio making cartoons and family films into a global media monster.


    He bought the American network ABC, expanded the Disney theme parks around the world to places like Paris and in a very popular move, bought the premium sports network ESPN. But his tenure at Disney was mired with controversy with many people accusing him of turning the company into a cold money machine. There was even a famous campaign against Eisner called "Save Disney."


    It was something of a surprise, therefore, to read that Eisner has bought Portsmouth football club. The article goes on to describe why Eisner bought the club and there is no doubt that with his media experience, especially controlling America's premium sports channel, he knows something about sports, American sports that is.


    With Man Utd and other clubs also in foreign hands, is it about time we said no to this foreign invasion and banned foreign ownership of our precious football clubs?

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  • I'm not a footy fan but as a disinterested observer these foreign owners seem to have ploughed a lot of money into (mainly) Premier league clubs so they have bought top quality players and have placed these clubs on a firm commercial footing.


    I doubt any of these clubs would be as successful as they are if the ownership had stayed in the UK. Just my opinion though.

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

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  • I think from a business point of view, I agree, and as you know I'm not a footy fan either. From a emotional point of view though, it's like handing over the crown jewels to foreigners, which long term, I'm not sure whether than's a particularly wise move or not.

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  • The trouble with sports on that level is that they cease to be very sporting and move into the mega entertainment bracket, which attracts super-rich predatory entrepreneurs.

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  • In the article, Eisner describes being overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the Portsmouth fans and that's why he bough the club, perhaps.... He is a cold money man, though. If it were Disney buying the club, their intent would be clear, but Eisner's motives are not so clear, unless he's planning to turn them into another Chelsea.

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  • There are a number of megarich Brits who could invest in their nation's favourite sport. Where are they?

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

    Is standing in the clothes that you once wore

  • I'd like to know that too, LW. Don't know why we need the foreigners coming in and buying the clubs out, especially with the ongoing situation at Man Utd where the profits are being taken out and away from the club.

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  • Wembley stadium maybe sold to American Football!

    An American billionaire has launched an audacious bid worth more than £500 million to buy Wembley Stadium from the Football Association, the Evening Standard has learned.

    Car parts tycoon Shahid Khan - owner of Fulham FC and the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team - is understood to have struck an outline agreement with FA boss Martin Glenn to transfer the “home of English football” to foreign ownership for the first time.

    After Disney's ex boss getting involved in the "beautiful" game, another American businessmen has set his sights on the big one, buying the home of English football.


    Is this pure short termism on the FA's part here by considering this bid? The FA are still massively in debt after the build of the new Wembley Stadium and have stated that they want to plough money into grass routes football such as building artificial turfs for kids up and down the country. But as other commentators have said, this is a massive asset and Khan would not be interested in it unless he could foresee a long term profit out of buying the stadium. So why can't the FA make better use of the facility?


    As the stadium sits idyll and unused for most of the year and Khan has said that England would still be allowed to play there, I can't really see a problem with this.

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  • Seems ok to me. It has to be used as much as possible under FA stewardship or they lose money when ideally semi finals shouldn't be played there and more England friendlies should be played out in the regions.

  • I suppose the only other option was that one of the clubs took it over, but it wouldn't be perceived as our national stadium then.

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  • I can see the buyer changing the name, selling the name to raise revenue is popular amongst the business types these days, who knows what it could end up being called if that happens.

    Young boys in the park jumpers for goalpost that's what footballs all about isn't it.

  • One of the newspaper columnists quipped the other day that the stadium could be renamed to The Taco Bell.... Or how about the KFC megadrome?:thumbdown: I think there will probably be a clause in the sale to say that the Wembley name has to stay.

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  • The Taco Bell.... Or how about the KFC megadrome?

    There was a picture in the Sun of a giant yellow M over the Stadium.^^

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

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  • I'm not really sure what the American thinks he may get out of this. We already have "proper" football, the American version will only ever be of a minority interest to this country, so I don't see the benefit to him of buying Wembley.

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  • I'm not really sure what the American thinks he may get out of this. We already have "proper" football, the American version will only ever be of a minority interest to this country, so I don't see the benefit to him of buying Wembley.

    American football is surprisingly popular over here and the NFL are keen to push it outside of the USA. Even so you'd think he'd need more than that to profit from it.

  • Perhaps he intends to use Wembley as the launch pad to spread it across the country. It sure is an expensive gamble.

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  • I'm not really sure what the American thinks he may get out of this. We already have "proper" football, the American version will only ever be of a minority interest to this country, so I don't see the benefit to him of buying Wembley.

    Dunno why they even call it American Football, it resembles Rugby more than football so should be called American Rugby, also seems to be a very over complicated, loud brash over the top game, more style over substance, but that very much sums up America and Americans in general. :P

    Young boys in the park jumpers for goalpost that's what footballs all about isn't it.

  • Yep!:) Perhaps that explains why proper football is getting ever more popular over there and that has nothing to do with a certain David Beckham either, the Americans just prefer it.

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  • CHELSEA owner Roman Abramovich has put the club up for sale with a price tag of more than £2billion, it was claimed last night.

    It follows the Russian oligarch’s dispute with the Government in recent months over his visa status.

    I didn't know where to put this story, as the background to it is security related and all about this:


    Russian ex spies attacked on British streets


    And as Fidget said in that thread:


    I am maybe naive, but I can see no reason to keep Russian criminals sweet. The 'powers that be' should get proof of their criminal activity, and then kick them out after seizing their assets.


    The lack of such action leads me to believe they are useful in some way, to somebody, but what it may be, escapes me!

    I think this is the start of the clampdown. The Russian billionaires are all chums of Putin and it's all nicked money from the Russian people, so I'm glad this is happening. But back to football...


    Do we want to encourage other foreign buyers of our clubs, or should we now be searching for home grown investment in them?


    Perhaps I was a bit premature with starting this thread last, if all the foreign club owners depart!


    Will we miss them?

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  • I must say domestic football is really starting to bore me , it is so out of touch with reality but still people get into debt to go and pray at the stadiums en-masse, if only people realised that the piss was being taken out of them , it might change .

    As for foreign owners , most clubs seem to be vanity and ego projects for billionaires , I hope they all lose fortunes to be honest.

  • In terms of the Russians, it's the money they've laundered, allegedly, out of Russia. All Putin's cronies have stashes in foreign countries, especially ours.


    As for the football itself, it's not something that I follow, but the premier league at least, seems very distant from grass roots football with expensive seats or tv subscriptions. Then there's the peacock managers and their tantrums and obscenely paid football "stars".


    If people want to get into debt by paying for something they cannot afford, that is their business. But I agree, the piss is being taken out of them, But the stupid and ignorant have got to do something with their free time, I suppose.

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  • A little bit off topic, but I am more concerned about foreigners owning essential services in the UK, eg. power, water, rail, etc.


    I couldn't care less about football since it became all about money. It's just a competition about who can afford the best, and sport rarely comes into it. Players should be restricted to those who have citizenship of the country they play for, too, especially when it comes to international games.

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  • A little bit off topic, but I am more concerned about foreigners owning essential services in the UK, eg. power, water, rail, etc.

    That's actually a good idea for a new topic.:thumbup: If I get the chance, I'll dig up some articles on the subject and create a thread about it.

    I couldn't care less about football since it became all about money. It's just a competition about who can afford the best, and sport rarely comes into it. Players should be restricted to those who have citizenship of the country they play for, too, especially when it comes to international games.

    Even when it was just a national game, you had players from other different parts of the country playing for clubs in places where they didn't live, so I guess having foreign players is just an extension of that.


    I agree though, it's all about money, money, money and who can buy the best. When did people become a product that can be bought by the highest bidder?

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  • When did people become a product that can be bought by the highest bidder?

    I think that happened once the clubs become successful brands in their own right and match receipts are not the prime source of income.


    Being run on strict business lines means that product is everything and that means getting the best players irrespective of their origins.


    I'm not a football fan but I suspect that many are feeling that the heart has gone out of the game.

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

    4312-gwban-gif

    If my post is in this colour  it is moderation. Take note.

  • I read somewhere that the English Premier League has the lowest number of players eligible to play for its host country, compared to say the top leagues of other countries like Germany, Spain, France Italy etc.


    Maybe they need to implement a rule where a certain percentage of a teams starting line up has to be eligible to play for the English national team.

    Young boys in the park jumpers for goalpost that's what footballs all about isn't it.

  • I think it was something like 30% Ron, or something similar. No wonder we haven't won the world cup since the 60s!


    I think your rule sounds like a good idea. If they're all foreigners in a team, how does that serve us?

    I'm not a football fan but I suspect that many are feeling that the heart has gone out of the game.

    I think you're right and about the fact that its strictly a business now.

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  • I think it was something like 30% Ron, or something similar. No wonder we haven't won the world cup since the 60s!


    I think your rule sounds like a good idea. If they're all foreigners in a team, how does that serve us?

    Yes but if they tried that you would get someone cry that its discrimination. :rolleyes::rolleyes:

    Young boys in the park jumpers for goalpost that's what footballs all about isn't it.

  • I don't see how a rule saying half of all players in a team should be English in the English Premier League, is discriminatory, but I reckon I know what the clubs would moan about and it's what Heero said.


    These clubs are pure business' now and they'd argue that by getting the best foreign players to come here drives their profits. So, they'd probably make that kind of argument.

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