Tag Archives: Peter Kenyon

The Sweeper: The End of the Peter Kenyon Era at Chelsea FC

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Chelsea FC have announced chief executive Peter Kenyon will be stepping down October 31st while staying on as a non-executive director and liaison to both UEFA and the European Clubs’ Association committees.  As it stands this morning, the most likely explanation for Kenyon’s resignation will be the Gael Kakuta affair—the Lens youngster whom Chelsea encouraged to break contract with the French club, leading to a two transfer window ban for CFC—although there were likely more important factors which led to today’s announcement.

Most significant was the power struggle between Kenyon and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovic over the appointment of Luiz Felipe Scolari as head coach in July 2008.  As the Times reported this morning, Ancelotti was Abramovic’s first choice, but Kenyon overruled him in selecting the ex-Brazil and Portugal manager, an appointment that ended in turmoil when Scolari was sacked in February 2009.

Still, one could hardly fault Kenyon for choosing a World Cup medalist and European Cup finalist as manager of a Premier League Top Four club.  And Chelsea’s other significant missteps, the Ashley Cole tapping up in 2004, the £30 million Andriy Shevchenko transfer from AC Milan in 2006, were hardly Kenyon’s alone.  What is indisputable is Kenyon’s role in building Chelsea FC into a European juggernaut, helped immeasurably by one of the most successful managerial appointments of the twenty naughts: Jose Morinho in 2004.

Love him or hate him, money-movers like Kenyon are now integral to modern club football.  Chelsea fans aren’t likely to pick up any future Peter Kenyon ghosted autobiography with much relish in the next few years, but the man charged with spending Abramovic’s oil money should surely share some of the praise for lifting Chelsea to their first League title in half a century.

And Kenyon’s remarks today—”I have at least one major challenge left in me”—signal he may be coming to another big club near you.

Worldwide News

  • Among Peter Kenyon’s more recent achievements was setting up a partnership between Chelsea FC and Hawaiian school Le Jardin Soccer Academy.  As Kenyon explains, “Our newest partnership with Le Jardin Soccer Academy extends that support to one of the elite clubs in Hawaii, providing training and support for young talent critical to the long-term development of the sport in America.”
  • UEFA general secretary David Taylor is leaving his post to become head of marketing, to be replaced by deputy Gianni Infantino, the Guardian reports. Infantino is one of the driving forces behind UEFA head Michel Platini’s desire to force European clubs to spend only what they earn in revenue, and his appointment signals UEFA is moving full-steam with the plan.
  • Twohundredpercent.net weighs in on ESPN‘s rejection of any deal to broadcast the Blue Square Premier League: “ESPN may or may not have been the ideal choice for the Football Conference, but now that any proposed deal with them would seem to be lies in tatters, it is critical that the next decision that they take over who broadcasts the Blue Square Premier – and where & how they broadcast it – is the right one.”
  • San Jose Earthquakes striker Darren Huckerby‘s career is likely over following hip surgery last week, reports EPD24.
  • Two fans accused of shouting homophobic insults at former Portsmouth defender Sol Campbell have had their convictions overturned.
  • Martin Samuel makes a compelling case that UEFA’s Champions League payout is ruining competitive parity in Europe’s smaller leagues: “In a domestic league currently ranked the 34th strongest in Europe, with the attendant financial paucity implied, one club, Debrecen VCS, are to receive a payment from UEFA in the region of £12million…Good luck trying to prise the Hungarian national championship off Debrecen then.”

Richard Whittall, proprietor of A More Splendid Life, is Sweeping up as Tom Dunmore is away this week.

G14 Disbands: A Victory for Football?

“Victory for football as a whole,” reads the title of UEFA’s triumphalist press release today announcing the elite clubs’ forum the G14 had been disbanded.

Meeting at the Home of FIFA in Zurich, the representatives of the organisations present (cf. list at the end of this media release) agreed on the intention to regulate their future relationship with a number of actions. These are to include the planned evolution of the European Club Forum into the European Club Association (ECA), the formal signature of a memorandum of understanding with UEFA and subsequently the dissolution of the G-14 with the withdrawal of its claims in court. As part of the planned moves, UEFA and FIFA will enter into a series of commitments including financial contributions for player participation in European Championships and World Cups, subject to the approval of their respective bodies.

A new independent club forum, consisting of over 100 clubs from all 53 Uefa member nations, will be formed in its stead. It won’t be controlled by Uefa, but will be recognised by it through a “memorandum of understanding”.

As usual, we mere football fans are not privy to all the details of this, and that’s the fundamental problem with the bizarre claim today’s meeting was somehow a victory for the game as a whole.

The BBC’s Dave Munro illuminated us a little more on the details.

Significantly, the clubs are going to get paid when their players take part in international tournaments. All the details have not yet been sorted out but I understand that it is going to be a daily rate irrespective of whether it is £100,000-a-week or £1,000-a-week.

FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, never one to miss out on the chance to get his name on a press release, chimed in with the absurd hyperbole that “Something very special has happened today. The clubs, which are the basic cells of our game and fundamental to its thriving, are at last to become a part of the pyramidal football organisation.”

I actually thought players and supporters were the basic cells, not the greedy and self-serving list of participants at the meeting, including Blatter himself, his mendacious deputy Jerome Valcke, Manchester United’s David Gill, and interestingly — given they’re not even in the G-14 — Chelsea’s Peter Kenyon.

Sepp Blatter and Michel PlatiniAt the Fanhouse, Dave Warner calls the dissolution of the G-14 a win for Michel Platini. He is, I think, correct in the sense that the result fits his gameplan perfectly: as I’ve written previously, some of his more unlikely suggestions in the negotiations over the Champions League places were clearly pawns he could give up in a future compromise with the G-14 to fulfill his promises to central and eastern European clubs.

Brian at the Run of Play also seems to concur, saying that “this looks like a colossal victory for Blatter and Platini against the power of the big European clubs. The threat of a breakaway superleague appears to have expired, gently, in its sleep, and the lawsuits that the G-14 had arrayed around FIFA will pack up their things and go home.”

While that’s true, I’ve long believed that the superleague threat was a bluff the G-14′s just been using to extract more out of Uefa over the past decade, most of which they’ve now got. There isn’t really much else they need, with the final contentious issue on international compensation settled. The superleague simply isn’t realistic: you don’t walk away from the huge television contracts and packed stadiums the national leagues and the Champions League are already providing unless there’s a deal sitting on the table guaranteeing — literally — trillions of dollars in future revenue to replace it. And there isn’t such a deal on the horizon, as everyone knows there isn’t much interest among football fans in watching the G-14 clubs play each other to death.

The new forum does reflect a reality that the G-14 would have had to expand further anyway (as it already has and had plans to do), though the new forum does reflect there has been a slight powershift, especially given the growing financial power of certain other European teams outside the original core. Yet we can be sure that whilst each of the 53 nations will be represented, it won’t be composed equally: expect the richest leagues, home to most of the G-14 as it stands, to have the most representatives, and thus the most power.

And all the real dealings will continue to go on behind closed doors, the curious fan left to guess at how the fate of football is actually decided. A “Victory for football as a whole” would only come if the fans’ interests or even those of the clubs lower down in the pyramid Blatter mentions were also considered in these deliberations.

Photo credit: Antoon’s Foobar on Flickr

The G-14, Michel Platini and the Bluff of the European Superleague

Superleagues, ego, politics, diplomacy, money, money, money. The chess battle between UEFA and Europe’s biggest clubs continues to go on, but today, there was a strong indication the endgame is here.

The G-14, the now misnamed grouping of eighteen elite self-selected European clubs, seems likely to extinguish itself soon with a new organisation apparently to be formed. G-14′s General Manager, Thomas Kurth explained to Reuters.

“Let’s be clear this is not an expansion of G14, it is an evolution,” Kurth said, adding that the new group would be called the International Club Organisation.

“If it is formed and it can find a solution to the current problems, then it would make no sense for both G14 and the new group to co-exist,” he said in an interview. “Ideally this will happen some day soon. G14 clubs are the facilitators and are leading the formation of this group but, yes, the clubs may decide there is no more necessity for G14 anymore.”

However, The Digger reports that the postponement of the expansion of the G-14 (announced a couple of months ago) suggests a tacit agreement has been reached with UEFA to resolve their dispute with the dissolution of the G-14 and the formation of a new, broader group approved of by Michel Platini.

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