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Life is not a sport for spectators


I have always been involved and committed in sport – as an athlete, coach, volunteer, researcher, communicator and spectator. My educational background is a master degree in Political Science and Physical Education and I have five chapters of my work life with different perspectives of sport. I have extensive theoretical knowledge and many practical experiences about the value of sport. My knowledge and experiences are obtained from youth education, higher education and research institutions, and the daily life of Danish and international elite sport.

For more than three decades I have worked with top athletes, coaches, high performance managers and researchers. In addition, I have worked with many municipalities, clubs, federations and organizations as well as some of Denmark’s largest private companies. Finally, I have many experiences as chairman and member of boards, voluntary organizations, federations, associations and public institutions. Today I have a number of collaborators whom I appreciate and which I solve different types of tasks for and along with. Because – Life is not a sport for spectators!

Blogs

UEFA Champions League: The rich get richer and the poor get …

October 13, 2020

Next week, the first round of the UEFA Champions League group stage of the 2020-2021 season will be played. And for the first time since the autumn of 2013 with a Danish club – FC Midtjylland – among the 32 clubs, which are divided into 8 groups. 47 clubs from 40 nations in Europe did not manage to qualify for the group stage and thus have to wait another year to get through the “needle eye” to the at least DKK 225 million, which goes to all 32 clubs from 14 nations in the CL group stage.

FCM is a debutant in the CL group stage

FCM’s ranking as No. 102 on UEFA’s rankings indicates that the club’s qualification for the CL group stage and not least the accompanying capital injection is definitely not “everyday life” for the ambitious club from Herning-Ikast, which so recently 7 years ago was stumbling close to financial bankruptcy. The English rich man Matthew Benham, who is also the owner of the English Championship club Brentford F.C., at that time bought the majority of the club’s shares and thereby secured it financially. Subsequently, FCM with three Danish championships, one silver and two bronze medals and a cup title of 6 seasons has taken over FCK’s dominance in Danish football. The coming months and years will show whether FCM can also perform on the biggest international football scene: the UEFA Champions League.

Economic capital concentration in the major leagues

The cash flow in the UEFA Champions League is gigantic, according to the latest annual report from the international accounting and analysis company Deloitte. The total turnover in European football is almost DKK 220 billion and constitutes more than 80% of the turnover for all sports in Europe. And almost 2/3 of the turnover in European football is within the five biggest leagues: Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain), Bundesliga (Germany), Serie A (Italy) and Ligue 1 (France). The economic concentration in the major leagues has only gone one way since the turn of the millennium: Upwards. The economic growth is primarily due to astronomical TV contracts, both in relation to the national leagues and the two European club tournaments: Champions League (CL) and Europa League (EL).

Sale of TV rights = the financial success of club football

UEFA sells the television rights to the Champions League on multi-year contracts to a number of different broadcasters, which broadcast the matches on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in one or more countries. The individual CL matches are included in different packages, where some matches are “free”, while others are “pay-per-view” matches. The broadcasters also trade the rights between each other across national borders. The sale of television rights to the Champions League makes up the vast majority of UEFA’s total revenue. And these have almost doubled over the past 5 years, namely from DKK 11 billion in 2014 to DKK 21 billion in 2019. On the other hand, the financial turnover on match days from spectators, both nationally and internationally, makes up only 10-15% of the total turnover. The all-important reason why last season’s Champions League and Europa League were settled over one match, without spectators and within a few days from the quarter-finals until the final was not sporting, but purely financial. The substantial contributions to UEFA and the individual European top clubs from TV contracts and exposure of multinational sponsors were simply too great for CL and EL not to be completed.

European top clubs are owned by non-European capital

UEFA supports the concentration of gigantic sums in the five biggest leagues by distributing 70% of the payouts from the two European club tournaments – the Champions League and the Europa League – to these five football nations. The five biggest leagues are also pre-allocated 19 places – or 60% – out of 32 places in CL’s group stage. A significant explanation for this distribution is a latent threat from the strongest money clubs – Real Madrid C.F., F.C. Barcelona, ​​Manchester United F.C., F.C. Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain F.C., Manchester City F.C. and Liverpool F.C. – to go their own way in the form of a “closed tournament” exclusively for these clubs. The top European clubs, most of which are owned by investors from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United States or other countries outside Europe, have had annual growth rates of 8-10% over the past decade and the individual clubs’ annual turnover is today at DKK 5-7 billion.

The richest clubs have a monopoly on sporting success

UEFA has gone to great lengths sportingly to accommodate the strongest clubs and today the Champions League is a “closed VIP party” for the richest, while smaller nations’ best clubs – in i.a. Denmark, Sweden and Norway – in the vast majority of cases must “just” qualify for the second best European club tournament: Europa League and from next season the third best European club tournament: Conference League. The enormous capital concentration of the top clubs in the five biggest leagues also has a number of sporting consequences. In the 2019-2020 season, no clubs from other than the top five leagues managed to advance among the top 16 clubs from the group stage. And on UEFA’s ranking, which is calculated according to the clubs’ results in the last 5 years of European club tournaments, there are only 3 clubs – F.C. Shaktar Donetsk of Ukraine (No. 12), F.C. Porto (No. 19) and S.L. Benfica (No. 20) from Portugal – among the 20 highest ranked clubs.

Inequality in European club football is growing

Developments in European football are unequivocal: the richest clubs in the biggest leagues are getting richer and richer. And the clubs in the smaller leagues – i.a. the Danish Superliga – gets (perhaps) a (marginally) larger financial turnover, but in relation to financial races among Europe’s strongest money clubs, the clubs from the smaller nations become poorer and poorer. The best players – also from Denmark – will naturally compete against the five strongest leagues and the concentration of top players is – and will in future be further – in relatively few clubs. It is thought-provoking that the second best series in England – The Championship – today has a significantly higher turnover than e.g. the best leagues in the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal. In a “global and unregulated market”, the (few) strongest will always do best. And with capital transfers across borders and continents, inequality will (just) get bigger and bigger – especially in football, which has the entire world’s population as consumers.

You can get more information here:

 

 

 

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A gentleman from Croydon

September 22, 2020

On Saturday afternoon, there is a top match in the world’s best football league: Crystal Palace F.C. vs. Everton F.C. from Liverpool at Selhurst Park in the south-east of London. There are very few who had predicted a top match between these two clubs after the first two rounds and there are certainly even fewer who believe that the home team – The Eagles – will end up in the league’s best half when the season’s 38 games are over. Yet every time Crystal Palace plays, a new record is set by 73-year-old manager Roy Hodgson – a gentleman from Croydon who proves every day that age is relative and quality can be lifelong.

Roy Hodgson’s Backyard: A run-down, sad and impoverished suburb

I visited shortly after Roy Hodgson’s appointment as manager of Crystal Palace F.C. 3 years ago the dilapidated and sad district of Croydon, where Roy Hodgson was born and raised. Roy’s mother worked in a bakery and his father was a bus driver in one of London’s poorest areas, where apartment blocks, terraced houses, greengrocers, hairdressers, fish-and-chips shops, betting companies and pubs form a cluttered and raw suburban area. In the same way as the many different ethnicities, it forms the pulsating and colorful street scene. It was by no means coincidental that almost 10 years ago, Croydon was the center of a series of riots in which houses and shops were set on fire and confrontations between police and troublemakers became front-page news in the media. As a boy, unlike his father who was a Newcastle United fan, Roy was a happy Crystal Palace supporter and he also tried to break through as a youth player in the favorite club. It never succeeds, however, but the dream of winning football matches, respect and recognition with Crystal Palace F.C. remained unchanged at Hodgson throughout his lifelong career as manager of 16 different clubs and national teams in 8 different countries.

Great sporting success in Sweden: Four Championships and two cup titles

Roy Hodgson was educated as a P.E. teacher, but already at the age of 23, Hodgson began his coaching career in English amateur clubs. However, it was not until he was appointed head coach of Halmstad BK in the mid-1970s that his impressive coaching career really took off. Halmstad BK was at that time bottom team and threatened with relegation in Sweden’s best football league – Allsvenskan – but in record time Hodgson introduced a new style of play with great success: Halmstad BK sensationally won the Swedish championship in Hodgson’s first season at the club, which was repeated three years later. Also in Malmö FF, which has always been one of Sweden’s top clubs, Hodgson achieved great sporting success with two Championships and two Cup titles in four seasons (1985-1989). Because of these achievements, Hodgson was highly regarded and he had a great influence on the development of Swedish football throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Hodgson, along with his good friend and coaching colleague Bob Houghton, introduced zone coverage with a high offside line of the four defenders as well as high pressure on the opponents’ ball carrier of the midfield and forwards.

The cornerstone of FCK’s dominance in Danish football

Roy Hodgson also laid the foundation for FCK’s sporting success in recent decades, even though he was only associated with the club for a single season: 2000-2001. Hodgson is, in my opinion, by far the greatest coaching capacity that has worked in the Super League. In record time, the experienced Englishman, who at the time had also been coach of the Milan club Inter in Serie A and national coach in Switzerland, succeeds with a classic British 4-4-2 game concept and a strong discipline on the team exemplified through the two leadership types : Jacob Laursen as central defender and Ståle Solbakken as back midfielder to achieve great sporting success: FCK lost only four matches in the season 2000-2001 and became supreme Danish champion. In many ways, Hodgson has put together his game concept according to simple principles – unlike many “modern” coaches and managers. Hodgson has e.g. always believed that the farther the ball is from one’s own goal, the fewer goals the opponents score. Hodgson also became known in FCK for his raw – but also familiar – tone with players, staff, chairman and board. FCK has of course developed and nuanced Hogdson’s 4-4-2 game concept, but in my opinion there is no doubt that it was primarily Hodgson who changed FCK from being a mediocre team to a champion team.

“England Manager”: The hottest seat in football

Of course, this is far from the only success that can be attributed to Roy Hodgson’s career as a manager for more than four decades. Among his more “dark” chapters is a very short period in the autumn of 2010 as manager of one of the big clubs in British football: Liverpool F.C. Despite a 3-year contract, the relationship between Hodgson and the players, staff, board and not least fans of the LFC never worked well – the chemistry simply fit. Nor did Roy Hodgson’s work as manager of the English national team in the period 2012-2016 become a real success. For any English manager, the dream job is “England Manager”, but the pressure from the media in particular on this position is relentless and at times very painful. It seems that several of the English media are still living “in the shadow of” the World Cup triumph at Wembley in 1966. During Hodgson’s 4-year appointment as manager, England achieved its best position so far as No. 2 in the FIFA World Ranking (autumn 2013). Hodgson also manages to qualify England for both the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the European Championship 2016 in France, but both Cups were sporting failures. Expectations for the English national team were towering ahead of the 2014 World Cup, but defeats to both Italy (1-2) and Uruguay (1-2) as well as a goalless match against Costa Rica sent the nation’s pride – “The Three Lions” – humiliated return after that initial group stage. The results put Hodgson under tremendous pressure in the British media and among the enthusiastic – or more precisely fanatical – English fans. And with the absolute low point – the traumatic defeat of 1-2 to the “mini-put nation” Iceland in the round of 16 at the European Championships 2016 – Hodgson’s time as manager of the English national team was over.

Home to the street of childhood and the playground of youth

Due to the lack of results with the English national team, there were also many who doubted Roy Hodgson’s quality as manager of the childhood club Crystal Palace F.C. when he was offered the job in September 2017. And the start as Crystal Palace manager was also anything but flashy: 7 lost matches and a goal score of 0-17. However, Hodgson had a strong belief, both in his game concept and in rock-hard work, which has always been a part of Hodgson’s everyday life. Slowly – but surely – the team and Hodgson found each other. And with 44 points in the remaining 31 matches, the club achieved a form 11th place in the Premier League. It has never happened before in the history of the Premier League that a team has avoided relegation after losing the first 7 matches of the season. Hodgson’s second season (2018-2019) was also a success with a 12th place and 49 points – the highest number of points the club has ever achieved. Also not in Hodgson’s third season (2019-2020) was Crystal Palace with a 14th place and 43 points near relegation, which meant that Hogdson’s contract with the childhood club was extended to the summer of 2021.

On Saturday afternoon, the post-war and working-class boy from Croydon will once again sit at the sidelines at Selhurst Park and follow every detail “on the pitch” – a gentleman is back in the street of childhood and on the playground of youth.

You can read more about here:

  • Richard Allen: Roy Hodgson: A football Life: The first biography of England’s manager (2014).
  • Mike Carson: The Manager – Inside the Minds of Football’s Leaders (Bloomsbury Publishing Plc., 2013).

 

 

 

 

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Putin, State-run doping and a new (inter)national Act

September 2, 2020

Will be published soon ….

 

 

 

 

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  • “Michael Andersen is one of Denmark’s most experienced and competent CEO’s with a lot of knowledges and experiencies from the international world of sports. In the period as CEO of Team Denmark, Michael renewed the organization, which gave our top-athletes, teams and federations the opportunity to achieve outstanding results in international topsport”
    Finn Lund AndersenCEO of AS3 – Public Sector (2013 -), Director of Human Ressources and Communication at Salling Group A/S (2007 – 2013) and Director of Human Ressources at TDC (1997 – 2007).
  • “Throughout recent years, Danish School Sports has undergone an exciting development as an organization. In this connection, we have made use of Michael Andersen’s extensive professional competencies and knowledge within school sports, strategy and organization. His work has given us new perspectives, both on our self-understanding and future potentials. We have greatly appreciated our collaboration and, not least, the way he has shown respect to us. I have always appreciated Michael’s honesty and his direct behavior”. 
    Finn Kristensen, Chairman of the Danish School Sports (2012 -) and Principal at at Hellebjerg Idrætsefterskole (2019 – ).
  • ”I know Michael Andersen from his time as CEO of Team Denmark. Michael was an incredibly skillfull manager who also had focus at the individual athlete. He took the time to going into the individual topics and challenges of the athlete and he was also very solution-oriented. Moreover, he is a down-to-earth person who is comfortable with being around ”.
    Maja Alm, orienteering – Denmark’s most winning orienteering runner with a total of 16 World Championship medals, including 4 WC gold medals in the sprint distance (2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018) and 3 World Championships in relay (2015 and 2016)
  • “Michael Andersen is an excellent manager. His human and professional skills enable him to quickly analyze the situation of human beings and teams, thus giving them the optimal coaching, which is the foundation of good performance. I have had the pleasure of the coaching both in the competitive situation and in a negotiating situation, and in both cases Michael’s analytical skills contributed to good results”.
    Kasper Hvidt, handball – European Championship (2008), 4 Danish Championships and 2 Spanish Championships. Today sports manager of “Astralis” – One of the world’s best Counter-Strike teams (E-sports).
  • “Michael Andersen has some unique skills in coaching and to advicing the individual athlete, teams and the federation. He is always very passioned and incredibly well informed. With considerered decisions and clear communication, Michael is able to manage even the most complex negotiations and difficult situations ”.
    Thomas Jacobsen, sailing – High Performance Manager at Dansk Sailing Federation (2009 -) and Olympic gold medalist (2000).
  • “Michael Andersen is one of the best managers I have experienced and been lucky to work with. He was a very active person in relation to optimizing relationships for me and my teammates, so that we were able to win medals at international championships such as the Olympics, the World Championships and the European Championships. In addition, he was a crucial factor when resolving conflicts – and exceptionally good at finding good solutions for both parts in conflicts. As CEO of Team Denmark, Michael has always been aware of our demands, wishes and needs as world-class athletes.
    Christinna Pedersen, badminton – Olympic bronze medal (2012) and Olympic silver (2016), World Championship silver medal (2015) and World Championship bronze medals (2013, 2014 and 2017).  
  • “Michael Andersen has a very high level of professional knowledge and a unique network of elite sports in the Nordic countries, both in relation to research institutions, elite sports organizations, federations and clubs. As editor of “Idrott & Kunskap”, Michael has been a great inspiration for developing the journal – from a Swedish journal to a Nordic journal and in the longer term an international journal with English as language. Michael is also a really talented writer with a great overview and insight into many different topics in international elite sports and research. It is also characteristic of Michael that he always prioritize the dissemination of knowledge from researchers to coaches to benefit of the athletes”.

    Christian Carlsson, editor – “Idrott & Kunskap” (2004 – )