Responding to the UK Government’s Civil Society Strategy

This post appears in full on Reason Digital’s website.

The UK Government recently launched its new Civil Society Strategy: Building a future that works for everyone, echoing Theresa May’s first speech as Prime Minister where she vowed to fight against “burning injustice” and to be “driven, not by the interests of the privileged few but by yours.”

The strategy acknowledges the work already well advanced in parts of civil society, including “among responsible businesses and progressive public sector commissioners, where social value is in the forefront of what these organisations do.” One of the criticisms of the 2010 strategy was that it laid out plans that many charities and civil society organisations had been doing for some time.

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How do the world’s richest football clubs spend their money?

By Jbmg40 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Football is big business

The Premier League and its clubs add £3.4bn to the UK’s GDP and pays £2.4bn in taxes to the UK government. Tourists attending football matches in the UK bring another €490m into the economy every year.

A whole industry has been built around footballers and their clubs that includes agents and lawyers, PR and accountancy. Tax issues alone can affect where footballers choose to play and how much they pay (or don’t pay) in taxes.

There is now an MBA course specialising in Football Industries at Liverpool University in England’s north west, the region that’s home to four of the top 20 richest football clubs.

Like many business, a significant percentage of football clubs’ expenditure goes on salaries. UK Premier League clubs and their supply chains support over 100,000 full-time jobs but their wages are a fraction of those paid to players. It’s no coincidence that the highest-paid footballers in 2015 played for the world’s richest clubs.

There is much criticism of the level of dividends paid to the shareholders of football clubs and the way the clubs’ assets are used to leverage debt to support owners’ other interests. FC United of Manchester is a fan-owned football club set up partly in protest at Malcolm Glazer’s ownership and treatment of Manchester United.

However, the world’s richest football clubs also spend their money trying to be responsible members of their sporting and local communities. This article is about how football clubs and their membership organisations spend their money being responsible citizens.

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