Football finances back in spotlight at Soccerex forum

Manchester United's midfielder Nani (L) tussles with Manchester City's midfielder David Silva (R)
Image caption The big clubs in Manchester have very different business models

Football business will again be in focus as the Soccerex European forum makes its second Manchester appearance.

The two-day event, starting on Wednesday, includes big name speakers from clubs, leagues, brands, sponsors, federations and others.

The topics being examined include hosting Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, Uefa's new financial fair-play rules, and the German football model.

Firms will also be displaying football-related products and services.

Club finances

Football's finances and business structures continue to be in the spotlight.

For example, at present Plymouth Argyle is struggling to stay in existence, QPR is up for sale, and MPs have been scrutinising the operations of top clubs, including Manchester United.

Indeed, only last week United's parent company Red Football Joint Venture announced a loss of £109m in 2010.

Meanwhile, neighbours and rivals Manchester City have forced their way towards the top end of the table, thanks largely to player acquisitions funded by owners the Abu Dhabi United Group.

In the recent transfer window City completed the £27m signing of Bosnian international striker Edin Dzeko from Wolfsburg, and such spending has led to fears that the club may be inflating the transfer system.

These issues and others like them will be examined in series of sessions and seminars.

Starting point

Among the delegates are the chief of Poland's Euro 2012 hosting plans, Marcin Herra, Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre, Real Madrid marketing manager Begona Sanz, and Bayern Munich sporting director Christian Nerlinger.

Image caption Plymouth Argyle have hit financial difficulties this season

Other clubs in attendance will include Arsenal, Manchester United, Ajax and Chelsea.

Last year's event, which - as this year - was hosted at Manchester Central Convention Complex - was attended by 1,200 people from the football industry.

Duncan Revie, chief executive of Soccerex, says the event brings together people from across the industry.

"It is a myriad of people, ranging from the professional clubs and major sports brands and sponsors to bankers and lawyers and even companies that make plastic seats or play pitches.

"People keep using it as a place to meet and do business. They may not sign the contract there and then but they will start the negotiations and have the initial meeting in Manchester and take it from there."

Among the seminars, topics to be covered include financial prudence, league and club strategies, sponsorship, the fan experience, broadcasting, new media, naming rights, and venue management.

The European Professional Leagues (EPFL) organisation will also be hosting a behind-closed-doors meeting around Soccerex.

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