Football Diary

by Patrick O'Connor

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THE English political scene is currently awash with rows over bankers' bonuses and tax-avoidance schemes for public servants.

Money certainly does make the world go around but there seems to be tiny chink of common sense appearing in professional football.

Top accountancy firm Deloitte reports that Premier League football clubs spent about 70 per cent less in the January transfer window than they did last year.

They reckon around £160m was splashed out, a sharp reduction on the 2011 figure and Deloitte believe this is linked to new Uefa rules on financial sustainability.

Alan Switzer, director of the sports business group at Deloitte, said: “The 2011-12 season does now count towards the Uefa rules and that will be part of the consideration which clubs will be giving to any transfer.”

Uefa's rules say that any club losing more than 45m euros ($59m; £37m) in the two years from July 2011 may be barred from European competitions such as the Champions League.

The Premier League has also taken the sensible decision to ensure that the FA Cup Final does not clash with a full programme of league matches as it did last year.

The league have agreed to delay its matches by 24 hours so that the Wembley showpiece will be the centre of attention on Saturday, May 5.

“We realise that it is not good for either competition to have our matches conflicting with the FA Cup,” said a Premier League spokesperson.

But..... according to the BBC the Premier League may be forced to move games back to May 5 should a top-flight team reach the Europa League final or if main television rights holder BSkyB demands it.

The decision to hold John Terry's trial for alleging racial abusing the QPR defender Anton Ferdinand until after this summer's Euro 2012 finals has not gone down too well in certain quarters.

A not guilty plea was entered on Mr Terry's behalf at Westminster Magistrates' Court last week.

He will now stand trial on July 9, nine days after Euro 2012.

The FA has already tripped Terry of the captaincy but Mark Perryman, of the England supporters' club told BBC 5 live it was difficult to understand why the case was taking 10 months to come to court.

“The court case should have been dealt with immediately,” he said. “As a result the FA have got themselves in an incredible tangle of him playing but not being captain.”

QPR manager Mark Hughes said he was disappointed the case will not be settled for almost six months and also claims it will disrupt his club's pre-season preparations.