Monday, November 28, 2022

Small goals + multi-club networks

Morning. First up, well in Arsenal Women who qualified for the knock-out stage of the Champions League with a 1-0 win over Ajax last night.

A game not without controversy, due to some odd officiating, but also this:

That sounds very weird. I don’t even understand fully how you would do that, but the why is obvious and should leave Ajax open to some serious scrutiny from the authorities. The draw takes place on Monday, so we’ll see who we get then. As ever, full coverage and analysis over on Arseblog News.

Update: Chatting with Tim this morning, it seems as if the actual goalposts in use were undersized, perhaps from the youth set-up. That’s insane.

Elsewhere, there’s an interesting story in the Guardian about Arsenal’s interest in establishing a ‘multi-club network’. It says:

Kroenke, who owns Colorado Rapids in the MLS, the Denver Nuggets in the NBA, Colorado Avalanche in the NHL and the NFL champions the Los Angeles Rams among others, is also understood to have explored the possibility of acquiring clubs in Brazil, Belgium and Portugal. While Arsenal sources have played down any immediate plans, the club are believed to want to develop their existing links with the South American country in particular.

This comes off the back of comments last week from new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly who expressed his desire to do something similar, but they didn’t get as much coverage as his risible ‘All-Star Game’ idea.

Man City already do this, via the City Football Group who own the aforementioned Man City, as well as New York City, Melbourne City, Yokohama F. Marinos (Japan), Montevideo City Torque (Uruguay), Girona (Spain), Sichuan Jiuniu (China), Mumbai City FC, Lommel SK (Belgium), ES Troyes AC (France), and Palermo.

You can see how there would be benefits for the ‘big’ club in having these associated clubs, whether that’s easier movement of players on loan or using them as kind of ‘feeder’ clubs to develop talent more quickly. It could be good for developing staff too, coaches, analysts, and so on, and then there’s whole ‘brand’ side of things which is probably part of it too. A shared philosophy – assuming it’s an exciting and interesting one – will probably be of benefit to all those clubs, and the smaller ones get the kind of investment and financial support they might not otherwise.

The other side of it though is about the creeping monopilisation of football by big clubs/entities. The Wikipedia article on City Group reads:

City Football Group Limited (CFG) is a holding company that administers association football clubs. The group is owned by three organisations; of which 78% is majority owned by the Newton Investment and Development LLC, 14% by the American firm Silver Lake and 8% by Chinese firms China Media Capital and CITIC Capital.

Faceless corporations are, unfortunately, a reality in the world we live in, but surely I can’t be alone in finding that entire paragraph depressing? Perhaps all these investment firms are kind and benign and simply provide opportunities for investors and employees due to their benevolent approach to financial matters; but the chances are they are companies who prioritise profit at the expense of everything else. A holding company within a holding company within a shell corporation that owns your local football club also bought up large swathes of residential property in your city at the expense of first time buyers, contributing to a housing crisis where nobody can afford to buy a home and rents keep going up and nobody thinks about how a city is supposed to function without people being able to afford to live in it.

An extreme example, perhaps, and enough about what’s going on in Dublin, but I worry about small things not existing. Your local coffee shop is forced out by another homogeneous chain outlet who open up 50 yards down the road and who have the financial backing not to worry about rising rents or diluted trade.

I suppose the difference is that there would be investment in the football club that would be beneficial to it, but even that raises questions of sporting integrity, a divide in resources that skews the playing field. Just like we’ve seen with Man City who, but for the emergence of the best Liverpool team in 30 years, would have strolled to the title every season in a relentless, terminator way that’s basically just boring for everyone else but them.

Here’s the thing though: If Chelsea are talking about it publicly, if KSE are considering it privately without giving too much away, and Liverpool are waiting on that platform too, chances are it’s an inevitability and there’s not much anyone can do about it. I guess we’ll see what happens.

Right, that’s your lot for this morning. We’ll have any emerging fitness news on Arseblog News during the day, back tomorrow with more and a brand new Arsecast.

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