Liverpool fans' compensation claims for final to exceed £20m

IN THE MONEY: Compensation claims following Champions League final chaos in Paris set to exceed £20MILLION… as the number of Liverpool fans intending to sue UEFA rises to more than 4,000

  • Amount of Liverpool fans intending to sue UEFA has risen to more than 4,000
  • Compensation claims over Champions League final are set to exceed £20million 
  • The LIV Golf project has already paid out over £1.64b in its first 12 months

The number of Liverpool fans intending to sue UEFA for the chaos at last year’s Champions League final in Paris has risen to more than 4,000 — with compensation claims set to exceed £20 million.

Last week UEFA announced full refunds of all 19,618 tickets allocated to Liverpool supporters at the match, costing the governing body between £3m and £3.5m.

Four legal firms are collectively acting for the Reds fans, claiming from £1,000 in damages for being crushed and tear-gassed outside the stadium to £30,000 for suffering ‘serious psychological damage’.

An independent review found UEFA had ‘primary responsibility’ for failings that ‘almost led to a disaster’ at the Stade de France.

Daniel Taylor, 23, from Hertfordshire, went to the final with his 60-year-old father, who was also at the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy.

The number of Liverpool fans intending to sue UEFA for the chaos at last year’s Champions League final in Paris has risen to more than 4,000

Compensation claims from Liverpool supporters are set to exceed £20million

‘My dad used his Hillsborough experience to help calm fans around us,’ he said. ‘He told us that whatever happened, don’t hit the floor.

‘But even while we were being penned in and pepper-sprayed, local youths were still trying to rob our phones and wallets.

‘I even saw old people and women being attacked.’

As Greg Norman faces being sidelined, the true scale of LIV golf spending revealed 

The LIV Golf tour faces challenging tests to its ambitious business model in the coming years, while its figurehead, Greg Norman, appears at risk of being sidelined.

Backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the LIV project has already paid out more than $2billion (£1.64bn) in nine months since its first event at the Centurion Club outside London last June.

LIV Golf figurehead Greg Norman appears at risk of being sidelined by the project

The LIV project has already paid out more than $2billion (£1.64bn) in nine months since its first event

That cash has been spent either on staging events last year ($784m, or £644m) or paying massive ‘signing-on’ fees to golfers to join LIV. Somewhere north of a billion dollars has already been committed to signing up Phil Mickelson ($200m), Dustin Johnson ($125m) and Cameron Smith ($100m), among others, before they hit a ball.

The mantra of LIV’s executives has been they want to ‘grow the game’, and shake up the commercial side and expand revenues. The reality so far is a few dozen golfers becoming massively enriched. Johnson’s LIV prize-money alone (aside from his sign-on fee) has been $36,675,767. He will add more today as the second LIV event of 2023 concludes in Tucson, Arizona.

To put that in context, from nine completed LIV events, Johnson has earned enough prize-money to lift him into the top 25 PGA Tour all-time winnings list. More context: Johnson has made $10m more in LIV prize cash than Ernie Els did in winnings on the European Tour . . . in 25 years.

LIV earned nothing from TV last year as the start-up had no broadcasting partners, made close to nothing from commercial partners, and was selling discounted tickets to fans. Court records disclosed in an ongoing legal battle in the USA between LIV and the PGA Tour quote LIV lawyers as saying LIV revenues were ‘virtually zero’.

Against this, 68-year-old legend Norman at least got LIV up and running, persuading big names to join, albeit igniting civil war in global golf in the process. But a source with knowledge of PIFs thinking has told the MoS that Norman’s sometimes ‘abrasive’ nature has been noted.

There is speculation that he may move ‘upstairs’ as LIV appoint a new CEO. One source said: ‘Some at PIF have not been impressed [by] how combative he can be. They’d prefer someone with a more conciliatory tone; a peacemaker.’

One of Norman’s gaffes was when he was asked about the murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 in a plot US intelligence agencies say was ordered by Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. ‘Look, we’ve all made mistakes,’ he said.

$200m was spent on convincing Phil Mickeslon to sign up to compete in the competition

Another blooper occurred when he was photographed apparently stalking a US journalist being kicked out of a LIV press conference. Norman told the writer he was unaware of the ejection, but the picture showed he wasn’t telling the truth.

Last month, after PGA Tour stalwart Rory McIlroy said Norman should step down as LIV’s CEO to ease tensions between the two sides, Norman responded with a slightly menacing ‘Watch what you say’.

McIlroy had said there needs to be ‘an adult in the room’ to ‘mend fences’ between LIV and the PGA Tour. The upper echelons of PIF want a rapprochement with the PGA, and Norman is taking a lower-profile role before a yet to be appointed ‘peacemaker’ steps in.

LIV are privately bullish about their business model, which will cost some $1bn a year to pay $405m a year in prizes for 14 events, and stage and film those events. They have various TV deals but are not earning hugely from them. Instead LIV still pay, and crucially control, all the TV output. This is important because directors can ensure the cameras capture sponsors’ names on hats, sleeves and chests.

The LIV hierarchy accept that massive investment over multiple years will be needed before what they forecast as substantial revenues in perhaps 10-15 years. Privately executives speak about having the resources and time to persist.

One key income stream in years to come will be the sale of the LIV’s 12 teams (or franchises) of four players to high net worth individuals or corporations. Each team by that point will, according to internal forecasts, be making tens of millions in prize-money each year, and even more from sponsors and endorsements. ‘Franchise fees’ will be split, with 75 per cent going to LIV and 25 per cent to each team’s leader.

If all this sounds extraordinary, then so does Johnson earning approaching $40m from LIV for 36 days’ work in the past nine months. And that happened.

Rising cost of live football isn’t deterring fans 

It seems the rising cost of watching live football isn’t deterring fans, which is why the clubs keep increasing their rates. Last season, the Premier League had average ticket sales (if not attendances) of 39,989, which was the highest in English top-flight history. This season, crowds are on course for an average of 40,276 tickets sold per match — going above 40,000 for the first time. And that’s in an era when there are more games on TV than ever.

Three best attended seasons in English top-flight history:

2022-23 40,276 fans per game*

2021-22 39,989 fans per game

1948-49 38,776 fans per game

l The top-flight, post-war low was 18,856 average in 1983-84.

The rising cost of watching live football doesn’t seem to be deterring supporters

Season ticket prices go up at six Premier League clubs 

Six Premier League clubs have already confirmed season ticket price hikes for 2023-24. Despite the ongoing cost of living crisis, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Leeds United, Everton and Brighton have all confirmed rises next season.

The largest percentage increases to date have been announced by Everton and Leeds, with both clubs confirming 10 per cent jumps.

Arsenal season tickets are among the most expensive in the league, ranging from £927 to £1,839

Arsenal are putting up prices by six per cent, Manchester United five per cent, Brighton four per cent and Liverpool two per cent.

Arsenal’s season tickets are among the most expensive in the Premier League — this season’s prices range from £927 to £1,839.

Brentford have announced a price freeze, with the lowest-priced adult ticket costing £449 next season. The Bees may even have the bonus of European football at the Gtech Community Stadium next season.

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