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Store penge i Internet-rettigheder

Onsdag d. 16. februar 2000

The internet could provide $1 billion in new revenue for Europe's top soccer clubs within the next 10 years, an expert told European soccer's governing body, UEFA, on Wednesday.

Looking for new revenue sources to help finance the
Champions League and other competitions, UEFA spent the second day of a two-day clubs workshop at its lavish headquarters on the shore of Lake Geneva exploring new avenues of income.

Chief among them was the relatively untapped internet
market, which consultant Mark Oliver says could eventually be worth as much as $2 to $3 billion.

"In 10 years time there will be an extra $1 billion for
European football and most of that will go to the top clubs as
well," said Oliver, who has also done similar work for the
English premier league. "That money will come from some betting, merchandising and access to income streams.

"You add it all up, what sports fans might spend, and you
come to a market that could eventually be $2 to $3 billion.
"But about half of that comes from existing revenues, it's
just a matter of switching it from bricks and mortar to online
and new media.

"It's not all new money."

Like everyone else trying to earn money from the internet,
it will be some time before UEFA will be able to cash in.
European soccer's governing body said it had retained its
internet rights but has not yet looked into negotiating them on a separate basis.

NEGOTIATING INTERNET RIGHTS

"Who owns it once it becomes valuable will be one of the big
questions," added Oliver. "Negotiating internet rights can be
done separately at the moment but the more it starts to show up on television, the more difficult that will become."
UEFA general secretary Gerhard Aigner said he believed UEFA should approach the internet in much the same way it negotiates television rights, where the majority of the games are available on public television.

"The consumer must remain interested and not over-fed," said Aigner. "There must be an intelligent concept to be used to bring specific presentations to a specific public.
"We want to remain with the major part of the games on free television and then there is internet which is becoming very interesting.

"There is a whole package that has to be put in place and
wrapped up with intelligence and not simply to make more money.
"So if we are intelligent I think the game goes towards good
times.
"And we have to use the same intelligence when preparing a
calendar."
A co-ordinated universal calendar was the primary point of
discussion during the first day of meetings.
On Tuesday, Europe's top clubs brought their complaints to
UEFA about losing players to international duty, demanding UEFA push for a universal calendar that fits their needs.

COLLISION COURSE WITH FIFA

The clubs' demands have once again put UEFA on a collision
course with FIFA, the world governing body.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has repeatedly called for the
need for a co-ordinated calendar.

But his controversial plan would see the European season
shift from August to May to one beginning in February and ending in November -- a plan that is totally unacceptable to UEFA and Europe's top clubs.

"There are too many hidden projects being worked on,"
accused Aigner. "First of all we should agree on what season we play and then focus on where players can have a rest.
"There cannot be much variation on what we have today.
"What we have to be careful of is not creating competitions
at unwanted times.
"We (UEFA) have, for the first time in 40 years, added new
dates to our club calendar and we did that last season for known reasons.
"Others have taken steps and added and that was not a good idea."