The Premier League's generosity in giving larger hand-outs to its relegated clubs may not quite be all it seems. Mike Holden explains
Three years ago, three American economists emulated the non-fiction phenomenon Freakonomics with a book documenting their mathematical studies into sports data. Among other things, The Wages of Wins looked at the “competitive balance” of leagues across a variety of sports using a formula known as the Noll-Scully measurement, leading them to conclude that basketball will always have a competitive balance problem due to the relative lack of tall people.
Steve Menary looks at the changing faces and new ideas in football's hierachy
The shock departure of Ian Watmore after less than a year as FA chief executive rather overshadowed another change in the game’s executive merry-go-round. Shortly before Watmore’s sudden exit, Greg Clarke was confirmed as Football League chairman to replace Lord Mawhinney, who stepped down after seven years.
With Carlisle Utd facing an average away trip of 257 miles, their chairman is calling for League One and League Two to be merged on a regional basis. Roger Lytollis reports
Carlisle United managing director John Nixon wants fixtures played on Christmas Day and supporters issued with rattles and rosettes as they enter Brunton Park. Well, possibly not. But many would hardly be surprised, having heard Nixon argue that the Football League’s bottom two divisions should be regionalised, 51 years after Division Three North and South were scrapped.
The plans to restructure the Welsh Premier league have been met with an equal amount of support and opposition, as Paul Ashley-Jones reports
In May the Football Association of Wales (FAW) published plans to restructure the Welsh Premier (WP). The move, the greatest change in Welsh domestic football since the WP (previously the League of Wales) was created in 1992, proposed a cut from 18 teams down to ten by the end of next season. This plan didn’t come as a shock and had been endorsed by the clubs themselves some time ago. What did surprise them was that the FAW rejected a ten-club second division.
Five years ago the Football League became Leagues One and Two and the Championship. Roger Titford assesses the transition
Lord Mawhinney of the Football League is pleased to announce attendances in the competition have risen to their highest level since the early 1960s. The particular star of the show is the Championship where crowds are up five per cent on last season and back to a level last seen in the reign of George VI (apart from a statistical blip in 2006-07).
Reform is on the agenda in Scotland – but that’s nothing new. Dianne Millen takes a sceptical look at the latest proposals on restructuring the divisions and introducing promotion from non-League
In December George Peat, chairman of the Scottish Football Association, announced the “biggest and most thorough investigation yet” into the structure and governance of football in the country. Coming just a few days before the final meeting of the arbitration panel convened to rule on the 2006 proposal for a breakaway “SPL2”, the proposals took a low-key tone, with SFA chief executive Gordon Smith explaining: “We’re not necessarily making major changes – we’re just looking to see whether if, when you bring together all the stakeholders that are involved within the game, whether there are ideas that could be put forward.”
With the division struggling to grow, the Welsh Premier League could be set to move to the summer, writes Owen Amos
Summer – great, isn’t it? Warm air, green trees, and light nights. Marvellous. But there’s one problem: no football.
Richard Scudamore’s assault on the English language as he tried to defend “Game 39” was his only option, believes Taylor Parkes, because the bullshit stopped him having to face up to how flawed the scheme is
Much has been said in the past few weeks about the insane premise and fundamental absurdity of “Game 39”. Still, one question has not been asked: when Richard Scudamore spoke endlessly of “host-city event-management expertise”, told Radio 5 Live that “we think it is a ten-year play in terms of protecting our domestic position”, and argued that his scheme “allows us to grasp the globalisation nettle”, because “I would be criticised wholly if we let the league stray into the slow lane while others passed us in the fast lane” – who did he think he was talking to?
Is the Premier League the Holy Grail or the Emperor without his clothes, asks Gavin Barber
As I recall there have been two distinctively epiphanic moments in my life, on which the significance of an apparently mundane occasion has crept up on me unnoticed before revealing itself in a flash of enlightenment. The first was a few years ago when, at the age of 30, I bought and assembled a garden shed, and suddenly understood that the process of turning into my dad was inexorable and irreversible, and that I should embrace it rather than trying to resist. The second came at Portman Road on February 9, 2008.
The Italians are going off the English model, says Matthew Barker
Having long been the mantra of choice for would-be reformers of the sport here, adopting the modello inglese is beginning to lose its appeal. Italian reaction to the Premier League’s proposals for a 39th game generally chimed with Michel Platini’s widely reported comments about foreign owners, foreign coaches, foreign players and now foreign fans: that English football had finally gone a step too far and was steadily losing its soul.