While we're all focused on the credit and stock crisis in America, soccer fans should be aware of how the equally severe crisis in Britain is creating an emergency for the Premier League. Most of the 20 teams in that expensive, prestigious league are in debt—much of it run up on dizzying player acquisitions in more optimistic times. Not only are teams in debt—including rich, powerful clubs like Liverpool and Manchester United—but their owners are often in deep trouble elsewhere. (Manchester's principal sponsor, which adorns their jersey, should be considered an indicator of trouble: AIG.)
In today's Guardian:
The Premier League's most indebted member clubs are gripped with fear. This year, one that has produced greater income for every Premier League club than ever before, will inevitably lead to greater problems than ever in their history for those that end up being relegated. Leeds United were able to survive the catastrophic financial impact of relegation — just. The next time it happens creditors (not least the taxman, who now needs every penny he can squeeze) will not be so forgiving.
The Guardian has been following this angle of the global credit crisis very closely. Their football page is worth bookmarking.