x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Manchester City chairman likes US style sport funding

European football has "a lot of work to do" to become economically sustainable, said Khaldoon al Mubarak, the chairman of Manchester City Football Club.

European football has "a lot of work to do" to become economically sustainable, said Khaldoon al Mubarak, the chairman of Manchester City Football Club. He pointed to Formula One and the National Football League (NFL) in the US as better models for premium sports because they had superior ways of distributing revenues without sacrificing the ability to attract the best drivers and players.

"I'm personally a big fan of the American model," he said. "I think in Europe, it's very difficult for that model to be sustained without new commercial parameters that allow competition, that allow revenue distribution and continue to allow talent to prosper. "I'm still only a year and a half as the chairman of a football club in the [English] Premier League, and it's a difficult business, a very difficult business," he said.

Mr al Mubarak, who attended Tufts University in the US, takes particular interest in the NFL's franchise model. "The NFL is another great example of the franchise model," he said. "Great distribution of revenues. Sustainable. Works for the teams. Works for the league. Works for television. Great content. I think in football, there's a lot of work to do there." Live sports remained a great content proposition and football's popularity in the region was unlikely to flag any time soon, he said.

"Football is the number one sport in the region, the number one sport in the UAE, and I think that, like everything, you need to be able to come to a model that is commercially sustainable." @Email:khagey@thenational.ae