David Conn

Author's posts

Nov 23

LTA admits child protection failings after coach abused players for years

• LTA: ‘The actions we took were not enough and we apologise sincerely’• Former Wrexham TC head coach Daniel Sanders sentenced to six yearsThe Lawn Tennis Association, the governing body of the sport in Britain, has admitted to child protection failing…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/nov/23/lta-child-protection-failings-coach-abuse

Nov 08

Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis charged with match-fixing offences in Greece

• Panel of judges order him to stand down as chairman of Olympiakos• Marinakis declares his innocence and insists he will be clearedThe Nottingham Forest owner, Evangelos Marinakis, has been charged with criminal match-fixing offences in Greece and ord…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/nov/08/nottingham-forest-owner-evangelos-marinakis-charged-with-match-fixing-offences-in-greece

Nov 05

Arsenal and Everton stakeholders’ close ties laid bare in leaked files

Links between Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri prompt calls for broadening of Premier League ‘dual ownership’ rulesIt is a tale of two major Premier League football clubs. And two billionaires. And how their close relationship and the opaqueness and …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/05/arsenal-everton-stakeholders-close-ties-leaked-files-alisher-usmanov-farhad-moshiri

Sep 27

Premier League clubs aim to block rich six’s bid for bigger share of TV cash

• Proposal would see end to equal sharing of money from international rights
• Eleven of 14 ‘smaller’ clubs oppose plan presented by Richard Scudamore

The Premier League’s six richest clubs are facing stubborn resistance against their efforts to seek a greater share of income from the next multibillion‑pound round of TV deals.

In a plan believed by the 14 others to be supported by Manchester United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, the Premier League is proposing to end the system by which money from international TV rights sales is shared equally by all 20.

Related: Deceit, determination and Murdoch’s millions: how Premier League was born

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/sep/27/premier-league-clubs-block-big-six-tv-cash

Sep 21

Amazon and Facebook keen on Premier League rights, say Manchester United

• Tech companies’ interest will escalate financial boom for top clubs
• Ed Woodward announces record income made by United

The internet giants Amazon and Facebook are likely to bid for Premier League football streaming rights, which will further escalate the huge financial boom for England’s top clubs, the Manchester United vice-chairman has said.

In his quarterly call with bank executives who invest in United’s shares on the New York stock exchange, Ed Woodward said the technology companies were very interested in the last round of rights deals for 2016-19, which the Premier League sold primarily to BSkyB and BT for £8.4bn.

Related: Premier League remains world’s richest courtesy of huge TV revenue growth

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/sep/21/amazon-facebook-premier-league-rights-manchester-united

Aug 15

Southampton welcome new Chinese owners but how much will they invest? | David Conn

Katharina Liebherr believes Jisheng Gao and his daughter Nelly are the right people to take the club forward after their £210m takeover

Not a lot was known in England about the Chinese businessman Jisheng Gao before he began negotiating to buy Southampton football club last year, and confirmation that he has paid £210m for an 80% stake has been accompanied by familiar Premier League levels of Googling. Of Gao and his company, Lander, nothing greatly notable is revealed, except for reported links to past corruption allegations which the Premier League sought to clarify before allowing him to buy Saints, in a letter leaked to the Sun in April.

Gao was alleged in Chinese media reports to have been implicated in the corruption of Xu Maiyong, a notorious mayor in the booming Xiaoshan province of Hangzhou, who was known as “Xu three more” due to his outsized appetites for money, property and sex. Xu and Jiang Renjie, the vice-mayor of Suzhou, were both convicted of accumulating huge private wealth corruptly and executed by the Chinese authorities on 19 July 2011.

Related: Southampton sell 80% stake to Chinese businessman Gao Jisheng

Related: Swansea keep Manolo Gabbiadini at bay to frustrate wasteful Southampton

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/15/southampton-jisheng-gao-chinese-owners

Jul 17

How Bahrain uses sport to whitewash a legacy of torture and human rights abuses | David Conn

Campaign groups argue that Bahrain’s association with glamour sport is used to ‘launder’ a more wholesome image for the country

The cyclist Sonny Colbrelli secured prominent exposure for the name of his Bahrain Merida team early in the Tour de France, heading the group sprint at the end of the second stage in Liège before finishing a creditable sixth. The team’s leader, Ion Izagirre, crashed out on the first day, but Bahrain Merida has already established itself on the world tour, after star signing Vincenzo Nibali competed through three spectacular weeks in May to claim a third place finish in the Giro d’Italia.

The cycling team, launched in January with an estimated £13.7m budget by Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa, a son of the ruling King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, is the latest venture which will help promote the autocratically ruled, troubled country through an association with globally televised sporting events.

According to experts appointed by the UN, Bahrain forces used “excessive, lethal force to disperse peaceful protestors”

Bahrain’s harnessing of sport has helped deflect attention from reports of tortured detainees and death sentences

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/17/bahrain-accused-sport-whitewash-history-torture-human-rights-abuses

Jul 11

Premier League remains world’s richest courtesy of huge TV revenue growth

• Total earnings of 20 top-flight clubs in 2016-17 expected to exceed £4.5bn
• Premier League earned almost €2bn more than any other European league

The Premier League is set to remain by far the world’s richest football league, its clubs earning approximately €2bn (£1.7bn) more collectively than those in Europe’s second richest, the German Bundesliga, according to the annual review of football finances by the consultants Deloitte.

The total £3.6bn earnings of Premier League clubs in 2015-16, as reported by the Guardian’s own review of the clubs’ most recently published accounts are projected to have increased to £4.5bn last season, the first of the league’s vastly more lucrative 2016-19 TV deals.

Related: Alexis Sánchez has not told me he wants to leave Arsenal, insists Arsène Wenger

Related: Wayne Rooney rekindles his Everton love affair and wants to play up front

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/11/premier-league-worlds-richest-tv-revenue-growth

Apr 13

Football must learn from sorry rush to play Borussia Dortmund game

Thomas Tuchel was wrong to blame Uefa alone for the Monaco match going ahead a day after the bomb attacks but decision-makers must start to put people ahead of schedules, TV, sponsors, money and the like

Perhaps the most sensible conclusion to draw from the sorry row about who decided to reschedule a Champions League quarter-final for the day after a triple bomb attack on one of the teams, is to step back, and say that football should deal more maturely with trauma. It is a lesson that has been far too long in the learning.

The Borussia Dortmund manager, Thomas Tuchel, looked ashen after the 3-2 defeat against a predictably professional Monaco, complaining that Uefa had high-handedly insisted the match must be played. His players, Tuchel said, needed at least “a few more days” to try to come to terms with the assault on their lives, before having to perform again. Uefa insists it did not impose the decision to kick-off the match less than 24 hours after it was called off on Tuesday following the terrorist pipe bomb blasts aimed at the Dortmund team bus. Uefa said the decision was taken after thorough discussions and agreement with both clubs, and that nobody in the Dortmund hierarchy requested at any stage that the match should not go ahead.

Related: Uefa hasty in rescheduling Dortmund v Monaco less than a day later, says Jürgen Klopp

Related: Dortmund bombs highlight challenge of combating modern terrorism acts

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/apr/13/borussia-dortmund-thomas-tuchel-monaco-uefa-bomb-attacks