Soccerex Roundup - Benefactor Model for EPL Clubs Outdated? Venables on New England Boss

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PKF's Trevor Birch speaking on the Soccerex panel (WFI)
(WFI) English Premier League clubs should look to move away from the benefactor model, according to a senior partner of Portsmouth FC's administrators.

Trevor Birch of accountancy firm PKF was speaking at the Soccerex European Forum in Manchester on a panel entitled ‘The Financial Management of Clubs’.

Birch, who in his time as Chelsea chief executive aided Roman Abramovich's takeover, said that clubs should try to live simply off their own revenue streams and support UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.

“You have to move away from a benefactor model - we’ve seen the repercussions; when it fails, it fails horribly,” he said.

Speaking about UEFA’s new FFP rules which start to come into effect this year, he said: “You have to be a supporter of FFP. The principles are right, whether it will achieve what it’s looking for I’m not sure because there will be certain loopholes.

“It remains to be seen what punishments will be put out on clubs. But in terms of trying to level the playing field that has to be the right way forward for football in the future.”

Portsmouth had a 10-point deduction this season for going into administration, and face being relegated from the English Championship. And they still have a huge wage bill weighing down their finances.

Birch added: “Portsmouth ran a benefactor model which is broken. It’s not rocket science - the benefactor basically promised to pay the deficit that the club was going to run with those types of contracts - the fact that he is no longer there is the problem.

“There are players that are paid too much for a Championship club and trying to move them is a problem.”

Former England Boss Venables on Capello's Replacement

Terry Venables has urged the English Football Association to decide on the next England manager quickly to give the team the best possible chance at Euro 2012.

England have been without a manager since Fabio Capello resigned from the post in February, but the FA chiefs said they would take their time in appointing their chosen man – a wrong move according to Venables.

“They have got to get someone in straight away to come and do it because he’s got to know those players,” he told the Soccerex audience.

“The more time you can get in there the better. There’s
nothing for you just coming in and doing the job cold; it does nothing.”

There is widespread speculation that the next England manager will be current Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp, but Venables believes that the longer the saga drags on the less likely this option would be.

“I think Harry is the candidate. He’s done such a capable job [at Tottenham]. Whether he wants it though is the question - it seems to have gone on too long.

"No-one seems to really know what’s going on.”

Another former England manager, Glenn Hoddle, appears to be back in the frame. Hoddle said this week that he would be available to manage the national team at Euro 2012 in Poland and the Ukraine if asked. Hoddle last managed England at the World Cup in France in 1998.

Soccerex panelist Gary Neville, the former England and Manchester United defender, now a respected Sky Sports TV pundit, told INSIDER he thought Hoddle was an outsider to manage England.

"He now has the experience, he's available and was always a good coach. However not sure the FA would go back. HR [Harry Redknapp must be 1/2."

Neville added: "Choice with [Roy] Hodgson next. If those two don't happen and they don't want to go with SP [Stuart Pearce] he would be an option."

Soccerex Global Convention Moves to Manchester

Manchester will host the Soccerex Global Convention for four years after 2014, organisers announced.

The five-day event was held in Rio de Janeiro last year, with plans to stage the event in Brazil through 2014, World Cup year.

Although Soccerex organisers claimed the convention would bring a £23 million economic boost and slot in alongside the European Forum already hosted in Manchester, it does appear counter-productive to Soccerex's expansion plans not to stage the convention in Russia, host of the next World Cup in 2018.

One reason not to take the global convention to Moscow or St Petersburg, venue for a World Cup semi-final, may have been the costs of staging the event there as well as visa issues for visitors and exhibitors.

Soccerex CEO Duncan Revie said: “When considering the future for our main event, the global convention, there are several factors we evaluate - business potential, transport links, quality of service and perhaps most importantly, the relevance to football globally.

"Manchester ticked all these boxes and in addition has the added attraction of being, in most people’s eyes, the capital of club football.”

“There was interest from many other cities but the potential here in Manchester was too big to ignore," Revie added.

"We have extremely exciting plans to ensure that we will bring the world of football together in Manchester from 2014 -2017.”

Plans are already being drawn up to include a major football festival to fit in with the convention, which was received well at the Rio edition last year.

By INSIDER's Christian Radnedge in Manchester

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