The recent initial public offering (IPO) of Manchester United in New York has once again thrown football finances into the spotlight. One of the main issues faced by the game is the influx of wealthy benefactors, capable of spending immense sums attempting to transform the fortunes of the teams in which they invest.
In an attempt to curb the growing inequality between clubs rich and poor, UEFA*, the governing body of European football is introducing a series of regulations known as financial fair play. In short football clubs’ spending will eventually be limited to a percentage of their total turnover. As a result teams from across Europe are looking at new ways to increase revenues, aside from the usual sources of ticket sales, sponsorship, television rights and replica shirts.
One novel idea has come from the Turkish club Trabzonspor, which has recently secured permission to build a hydroelectric power plant outside its home city of Trabzon. They have also submitted plans for a second, smaller plant. It could prove to be a shrewd move - Turkey imports much of its energy from neighbouring countries, and demand for power is growing at over 8% a year. If the project turns out to be a success, it may encourage other European clubs to look at similarly unorthodox methods of boosting their turnover.
*Union of European Football Associations