DOHA, Jan 9 (Reuters) - While global investors clamour for a
piece of Asia's economic growth, Asian investors themselves
prefer to pour their money into European, and especially
English, football clubs, a business conference heard on Sunday.
If Asian sport was to grow, it had to do more to attract
investment at home, Prince Turki bin Khalid Al Saud, former
director general of the Saudi national team, said at a sports
business investment conference as the Asian Cup football tournament continued.
"In Europe, investors are scrambling for Asia, but Asian
investors are going to Europe for football.
"Global investors are now focused on the Asian market. And
Asian companies are spreading their wings around the world,
competing for market share.
"What is happening for Sony, Samsung - why don't we see
that happening with Asian football?" Saud said.
Numerous blue-chip Asian companies have purchased and signed
sponsorship deals with European clubs in recent years.
In November, Indian poultry giant Venky's bought Blackburn
Rovers, making it the first Indian company to own a Premier
League club, in a deal worth 54 million pounds.
Manchester City became wholly owned by Arab billionaire
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, after he had bought the
remaining 10 percent of the shares of the Premier League club in
2009, and are now regarded as the richest football club in the
Dubai government-owned airline Emirates, the Arab world's
largest airline, signed the biggest club sponsorship in English
football with Arsenal in 2004.
Asian companies invested in European football clubs
primarily to burnish their image, Saud said.
"These investments are more for public relations purposes
that purely commercially motivated. They do it to be among an
"They want to link their names with successful European
teams. It's more image-polishing than an investment game."
Asian teams could not currently compete on an international
level to attract global investors, Saud said.
"We need a little bit of time to compete with (Europe), and
that requires a clear vision and that we make football more
professional. They have to improve their image to attract
investors. This will require time, effort and good people to
"The population is growing in Asia, and purchasing power is
stronger there. Asia ranks number one in terms of number of
viewers and merchandise sales.
"The largest market is Asia. To attract investors, Asia has
to attract the best talent - best players, coaches, referees,
He cited Qatar's victory in winning the right to host the
2022 World Cup as an example for other Asian nations to follow.
"For investment, there would seem to be many weaknesses in
Qatar, such as its small size and population. But they had a
"Now, investment in Qatar and spending in Qatar will be
huge. Other Asian countries can also overcome these obstacles as
Spurs miss out on Champions League again despite highest Premier League points tally
Champions closer to matching Real Madrid's La Liga record of 100 points with 2-1 win
AC Milan score twice in last six minutes to beat relegated Siena 2-1 to finish third
Carlo Ancelotti informs PSG officials that he wants to leave at the end of the season
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010