Saturday, 26 November 2011

BECKS, FRANCE AND QATAR


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David Beckham is in demand in the City of Lights.


Fan Fuel | November 25, 2011, 9:28 pm
BY JAKE LEWIS 
David Beckham is widely suggested to be headed to Paris in January to play for Europe's newest Uber-rich soccer club, Paris St. Germain.
The backstory behind this encompasses the French President, the head of Europe's Football governing body, UEFA, and Qatar's successful and extremely controversial bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Lets go back to 2008, when the French Football Federation successfully played off mobile giant Orange against Canal Plus, to secure a Europe's third largest TV deal, worth 668 million Euros, second only to Barclays Premier League and higher even than Spain. Quite a luxury for the French league whose clubs then dined on the deal, while failing to increase revenues from gate receipts or commercial activities.
This resulted in the spectre of wholesale bankruptcies and the possibility that the league would fail, when Orange announced it would not bid to renew in 2012. This left Canal Plus with a monopoly bid which would inevitably be significantly lower.
Paris St. German president Robin Leproux said in March “If the TV revenue is cut in half, some clubs will go under. That would be disastrous for French soccer, but also for Canal Plus who could find themselves without any games to broadcast.”
France president Nicolas Sarkozy, a genuine and long time fan of PSG,arranged to meet the Crown Prince of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani and UEFA President, Michel Platini for lunch at the Elysee Palace on November 23, 2010. Prior to this meeting Platini had poured cold water on the bid that Qatar had made to host the World Cup in 2022, making it clear that the European vote would go elsewhere.
Ten days after the meeting, Platini placed UEFA's vote in favour of Qatar. And so it was that Qatar a nation of only 4,400 sq miles, and a population of 1.7 million, was chosen to host the largest sporting even in the world.
The quid pro quo?
In June, 2011 Qatar Sports Investment (QSI) – a branch of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund headed by Sheikh Tamim – secured a 70 per cent holding of PSG. They installed Nasser Al-Khalaifi as club president. Al-Khalaifi happens to also be director of the Qatar based Al Jazeera Sports network. The network promptly bought the international rights to Ligue 1 for 192 million Euros, and purchased half the rights for domestic coverage.
When all is said and done, the value of TV rights will equal the value of the expiring deal, and French football is saved.
David Beckham, meanwhile, may be the icing on the cake of a resurgent PSG, if he signs. With Parisiens heading the table in France, Becks could become the first Englishman to win League winner's medals in four different countries!

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