AHEAD OF THE GAME: Huddersfield are set for a third new owner in as many years, Everton are frustrated with links to former sponsor Alisher Usmanov… and fans could meet a star as part of clubs’ push towards NFTs
- Huddersfield Town owner Dean Hoyle is to make the club available for sale again
- Some at Everton are frustrated by Russian Alisher Usmanov’s informal role there
- The FA are probing suspicious betting patterns in an FA Cup tie earlier this year
Huddersfield Town are set for a third change of ownership in as many years, with Dean Hoyle to make the club available for sale again after he has bought it back from Phil Hodgkinson.
Hoyle is understood to be owed around £20million following his original sale of 75 per cent of the club’s shares in 2019.
So he has opted to resume a majority shareholding after Hodgkinson stood down as a director this week, following the collapse of his legal businesses, nine of which have entered administration.
Huddersfield Town owner Dean Hoyle (pictured) is to make the Terriers available for sale again
Hoyle retained a 25 per cent shareholding throughout and ploughed in additional funding to Huddersfield to prevent the club entering administration when Hodgkinson’s financial problems emerged last year.
His long-term plan is to sell it again after rescuing it from the threat of insolvency for a second time, having first bailed them out of financial difficulties in 2009.
Hoyle’s sale plan comes at an opportune moment because the Terriers are in contention to return to the Premier League, with Carlos Corberan’s side moving up to second in the Championship table on Friday night with victory over Peterborough and in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Alisher Usmanov has entertained several Everton managers and staff on his superyacht Dilbar, which was seized by German authorities in Hamburg this week shortly before he was sanctioned by the UK Government.
Usmanov had no formal position at Everton, who have severed links with his companies this week, but in addition to providing more than £50million of sponsorship deals, he was also consulted by owner Farhad Moshiri on managerial appointments and player recruitment, an informal role which has been a source of frustration to some at the club.
Some at Everton are frustrated about the extent of Alisher Usmanov’s informal role at Everton
FA probe suspicious booking
The FA have launched an investigation into suspicious betting patterns in an FA Cup tie earlier this season.
Stratford Town’s Kynan Isaac was booked in the 84th minute of the non-League side’s 5-1 first-round home defeat by Shrewsbury in November.
Stratford play in the Southern League Premier, which would not ordinarily be open to such betting markets, but the match was broadcast live on ITV, so bookmakers offered odds on individual players being cautioned.
The amount of money gambled on a little-known player in the seventh tier being booked triggered an alert and the FA’s integrity partners launched an investigation.
The FA Cup has been a target for corrupt betting activity in the recent past, with Lincoln defender Bradley Wood banned for six years in 2018 after twice intentionally getting booked the previous season.
The FA said seven people placed bets after Wood told them he would try to get booked against Ipswich and Burnley.
Meet a star if you buy an NFT!
Arsenal and Manchester City are set to offer fans the chance to meet players as an incentive to purchase their soon-to-be launched range of NFTs.
Linking the sale of digital collectables to real-life experiences is part of a new strategy being pursued by numerous Premier League clubs, with Everton and West Ham ready to launch their own digital offerings shortly.
Premier League sides Arsenal (pictured above) and Manchester City are set to offer fans the chance to meet players as an incentive to purchase their soon-to-be launched range of NFTs
Under the plans developed to promote the sale of NFTs, supporters would be invited to collect limited edition digital images, which can also be used to secure memorable experiences at their clubs.
In addition to meeting players, the rewards being considered include a virtual meeting with the manager on Zoom, use of a VIP box, stadium tours and discounts in the club shop.
FIFA could lead the way on Russian reintegration
FIFA will be among the first sporting organisations to readmit Russia to international competition, judging by their reluctance to suspend them in the first place.
President Gianni Infantino was adamant that the Russian Football Union should not be suspended and should be permitted to enter teams under a neutral banner as recently as last weekend.
He was effectively overruled by the International Olympic Committee on Monday when they demanded an outright global ban.