Good sports tackle issues from footballing finance to cricketing schedules at JW3 fundraiser

Gabby Logan chaired an expert panel including top agent Jonathan Barnett at business breakfast


JW3 supporters gained an insight into top-level sporting finances at Money Makes the Ball go Round, a business breakfast addressed by key figures in broadcasting, player representation and administration.

TV presenter Gabby Logan chaired a panel comprising leading football agent Jonathan Barnett, England and Wales Cricket Board chair Richard Thompson, Amazon Prime Video’s European sport managing director Alex Green and former Williams Formula 1 team deputy principal Claire Williams.

Kicking off proceedings, Barnett maintained that the eye-watering volume of private equity in elite football was a good thing, provided new owners were properly vetted.

And as the man who engineered the then world record transfer of Gareth Bale from Spurs to Real Madrid in 2013, he refuted the suggestion that player power, fuelled by agents, was ruining sports.

He pointed out that when England’s footballers won the World Cup in 1966, none of the team had agents.

“Of the main 11 players, nine had to sell their memorabilia. Nobody looked after them.”

If England triumphed at the 2026 tournament, “I don’t think any of those players will need to sell anything.”

Staff at his company, CAA Stellar, looked after every aspect of clients’ lives so that when their playing days were over, they could work because they wanted to, not because they had to.

Green believed that even if the money for TV football rights was plateauing among UK outlets, there was still growth potential given the Premier League’s unmatched global appeal.

Noting the popularity of Amazon’s fly-on-the-wall All or Nothing series documenting a season at major sports clubs, he said that Jose Mourinho had been particularly keen to have the cameras in when he took over at Spurs. And the Arsenal programmes had transformed the public’s view of manager Mikel Arteta.

During audience questions, cricket chief Thompson faced a tricky delivery from an MCC member who dismissed the ECB’s shortest-form competition, The Hundred, as “Mickey Mouse cricket” — “a farce” which was impacting the fabric of the game.

“With respect, The Hundred wasn’t designed with the MCC member in mind,” Thompson responded. “It’s to try and find a younger audience.”

But it should not be to the detriment of the traditional formats, he acknowledged, and that having to cram so many competitions into what was essentially a four-month season was an issue. “The schedule needs to improve.” But Barnett said The Hundred was “one tournament too many” and cast doubt on its sustainability.

In his introductory remarks, JW3 CEO Raymond Simonson reported that the community centre’s wide-ranging programme attracted 2,500 visitors each week and the breakfast raised over £33,000 towards the £2.5 million-plus it needs from donations annually to break even.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive