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The Premier League will end in 3 years time as we enter the new Super League

By Tony Attwood

In 2014 Blatter will still be in charge of world football.  The FA will still be in charge of English football.  Uefa will still be there introducing its financial fair play rules – maybe.

Now you might think that football supporters everywhere might welcome anything other than that – even if the revolution starts at the top and leaves smaller clubs to sort out their own future – as has always been the case.

Indeed I would have thought for many there is a view that anything is better than the global corruption that Blatter and Fifa have given us.  Obviously I support, as I have always supported, Arsenal, as did my father and my grandfather.  But on my travels I have picked up two other clubs: Torquay United (where my father and I watched our final games together after his retirement) and Corby Town (just a few miles up the road from where I live).  I don’t get to see these other two clubs often, but I do occasionally.

And if I wear either a Torquay or Corby hat, I would still say, anything is better than the system we have now, dominated by corruption as it is, from the top down.

But not the Football Supporters’ Federation.  Nope – it seems they would soon stay with the status quo.  “It is just going to be a closed [competition] that stays closed forever. How boring is that?,” said Malcolm Clarke of the FSF when looking (obviously very briefly) at the proposals we have been outlining here recently, for an alternative to Fifa et al.

So, Malcolm,  let me give some information.  No one has said the new proposed approach will contain a closed league.  No one has said closed forever.  But you know, apparently, and so that’s that.  You’ve just ended my support of the FSF in one go.  Not because I disagree with you on this point – of course not.  Good debate is part of football.  But because you, like the journalists and bloggers who run the Anti-Arsenal campaigns all day long, are taking something that isn’t true, stating it as a truth, and then drawing a conclusion.

Let me tell you Malcolm, that’s not how it works.  (Unless of course you want to say that you never said that, don’t believe it, and the Guardian from whence I got the quote, made it up.  In which case I withdraw totally.  I hope you have told them what you think of them.)

The new Super League being proposed as the starting point of the removal of Fifa is not perfect, but nothing ever is.  But it has one glorious virtue.  It is a Blatter free zone.

But if you want more, here is more.

I have often quoted José María Gay de Liébana with his financial perspectives especially those on Barca.  He says that without rationalisation in football, it will all fall down within a couple of years.

Professor Gay shows that the top five leagues in Europe had losses of over €1.5bn for last season.  Each year revenues rise a bit, but salaries and other costs rise quite a lot more.  Put like that it is not even simple arithmetic, just plain logic of the sort that always escaped the mortgage companies until a couple of years ago, when they turned round and blamed the likes of you and I for actually wanting to borrow money to buy a house.

So, year on year on year the operating losses of the combined clubs in the top leagues gets bigger and bigger and bigger and no one does anything about it.

Here’s the professor’s words…

“This economic haemorrhage will trigger a financial default: from the ‘crack’ of football to the crash of the football bubble.”   With income of €13.928bn and debts of €12.641bn there is no way out.

So what happens?   Blatter says he will proceed slowly with his investigation into corruption in football.  Well, that’s reassuring.  The corrupt investigating the corrupt. Slowly.

The Parliamentary Select Committee has just published its report into football and demanded “urgent reform” of the Football Association so that it can oversee a new club licensing system, and have a new and “rigorously applied” fit and proper persons test.

Quite what one can say to this other than “Ah, bless!” I don’t really know.

The FA is blown and dead.  It got all nice and cosy with Fifa, the most corrupt and thoroughly awful sporting body this side of Ursa Minor, and spent millions of pounds of UK tax payers’ money bidding for the world cup.  And then when only the Ozzies voted for us, the FA suddenly decided Fifa was bent.

At least they didn’t demand a recount.

The FA has stood by while Leeds United ran rings round them over the ownership issue.  The FA watched from the wings as Birmingham City’s owner never had the money he promised, and is now being done for money laundering while the club is going to do a drop into the fifth division and default on its debts.   The FA let Portsmouth get exploited and ripped apart – and the court cases on that have still not started.  They have allowed the football creditors rule to exist (as has the government by refusing to change the law) whereby multi-million pound earning players get paid while voluntary organisations like St Johns Ambulance and honest local traders (like the firm that prints the club programme) get nothing and go bust.  And the EU courts have ruled that the whole system of selling TV rights country by country are illegal under EU law.

While in England we worry about the FA.

The problem is that the FA is tied to Fifa, and very shortly the big players in English and indeed European football (including Arsenal of course) will be out of the FA and out of Uefa, and hence out of Fifa and playing in a new Super League.  Anything the government does about the FA will be on a par to reforming the Conference.  Interesting if you support a smaller club, but not relevant to the broader issues.

The ideas in the Parliamentary report are ok: like the new licensing system that would give the FA control of all the rules on club ownership and finances, with a view to an English administration of financial fair play rules.

The EPL and the FA will object, and while they play, the big bit of football is going to walk away into the Super League.

And of course they (the government and maybe the FA) will try and butter us up by saying that the Arsenal Supporters Trust scheme, is a jolly good idea. But I know that anyway.  I am a member.  It doesn’t affect my support for the Super League and the crumbling of Fifa.

When a little while ago I wrote my first article about the top clubs pulling out of their leagues, out of Uefa and out of football as we know it, to set up the Super League, I thought it might just happen but not for a very long time.

Now I am seriously starting to think the change is much closer than I felt.   The current memorandum of understanding between clubs and Uefa ends in July 2014, at which point there will be no agreement for the clubs to play in the Champions League nor to release players for internationals including the appalling friendlies that plague the game.

So if there is to be a change that’s when it will happen.

As for the driving force behind the change it is not so much the ECA (of which I wrote in the last article) but rather the clubs that will make up the new European league that will be formed: Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester U, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Internazionale, and Bayern Munich.  Other clubs will be invited to join the league, such as Paris St Germain, if they turn their money into success, Ajax and other clubs like Marseilles that have had past success, plus the likes of Manchester C, Juventus, Porto, Roma and so on.  Total number: 20.

The idea is that the league will play mid-week games, all televised, and all requiring the first team of the clubs to participate.

As for the EPL this will go on as before.  The EPL could try and remove the clubs that move into the Super League (and this is already being threatened) but it is unlikely that they would want to remove the clubs that are the biggest box office draw and turn themselves into a variation of the Championship (ie league division 2).  The EP League would still have the little clubs like Bolton, Blackburn, Tottenham and the like but without the big players the league would become a shadow.  Wigan v Bolton as the main attraction on Sky?  Maybe, but not worth that much cash.

It is much more likely that a compromise will be reached in which the top clubs play their second XI in the EPL and their first team in the Champions League.  Since the clubs will no longer have to release players for internationals the players are more likely to be fit, and won’t be away on duty for things like mid-summer tournaments, and mid-season events like the African Nations Cup and so forth.

So when we look, as we have done recently on this site, at the two Arsenal teams with some left over, what we have is the starting point of a Super League team, and an EPL team, one playing on Wednesday, one playing at the weekend.

If we think of the immediate effect this would have had on Arsenal last season we can see that Vermaelen would not have been injured as he wouldn’t have been playing an international, and this summer we would have been able to train with Coquelin and Sunu who may well be considered part of the second XI of the club.

To make up the numbers the left-over Premier League could look at becoming more international, and taking in the two big Scottish clubs, and maybe even one or two other European teams that didn’t make it into the Super League.

The whole point of all this is that the reason for the revolution happening now is two fold.  First, as noted above, the whole league system in Europe is bankrupt and about to blow up.

Second it is Fifa.  Every time Fifa introduces new competitions and expands the number of games it does so without consultation with the clubs who pay the bills.  It demands more dates, it injures more players, it steals more money, it becomes more corrupt.

There is also the point that the clubs are frustrated that Uefa reneged on its agreement to insure players playing for their countries.

And there’s the point that most of the big clubs are losing money while Uefa and Fifa are minting it.  So if the clubs ran the whole show they would make the money.  As it is they argue that they are forced to make a loss each year, and then Fifa steals their players and makes millions.

In this brave new world, Fifa would continue to run internationals, but the players who elected to play for the Super League clubs would not play in them (since Uefa/Fifa would not recognise the Super League) but could play in a club owned and run international tournament at the end of the season in which the players play for their elected countries rather than for where they were born.  This “elected country” idea would actually be no change since something like 35% of international players don’t play for countries where they were born as it is.

As for promotion and relegation it is likely that the new league would exist without relegation for say three years, and then set up a few regional leagues below it to accommodate other clubs.

Thus as the government’s committee, and the FA do their merry dance, with the EPL dogs putting their oars in, the big boys are going to play elsewhere.

I am rather looking forward to an FA, Uefa and Fifa-free world of football.

Do you have a scrapbook covering Arsenal in the 1970s?

Which football blogs are the top blogs?  And why???

64 comments to The Premier League will end in 3 years time as we enter the new Super League

  • Kim

    This is honestly the worst footballing blog ever created. The 15 year old gooner kid’s blog is better then this nonsense, are you high when your dribble out this garbage?

  • Tottenham part of the ‘left over league’,love it. Great read Tony.

  • Kim, may I congratulate you on a particularly well thought out and clearly reasoned point. I particularly liked the bit where you picked holes in the logical continuum of the piece, and refuted some of the evidence presented. I think we can all learn a lot from this.

    Oh one other problem. You put down a false email address. The system rejected your email because of this, but I noticed it and thought I would manually over ride, but once is enough.

  • ASNLthruNthru

    Can only hope your predictions come true.No doubt there will be plenty of underhand deals to try to prevent fifa from losing control.

  • AlanMac

    Great read, and well thought out. It’s a shame that such farcical and corrupt management of football has brought the top clubs to this. I was going to do a bit of a comment on the impact on the future World Cups, but following the last WC in which my enthusiasm was pretty minimal watching it, and the prospect of Qatar’s WC also becomming a soul-less event, I decided it was already pretty destroyed by that farcical corrupt management anyway.

  • Alun in Twickenham

    Great Blog can’t wait for it to happen soon enough I have been advocating dumping FIFA & EUFA for the last ten years. You also missed out one other important point If the FA & others do not recognise new super league there will be no transfer payments to these other clubs who do not join. all the player has to do is resign.

  • ricky

    Fantastic and a very well researched article. You should consider posting this into a blog where the corrupted FA and FIFA executives can read this

  • maverick

    I would loooooooooove a superleague I think a whole season of top teams against top teams would be mindblowing. However one factor that bothers me is the fact of travel, wouldnt country hopping every week just totally kill the players, it would knacker them totally wouldnt it?

  • Rog B

    Yet again Tony,great article. My only real concern with all of the above happening is what about the hard core Arsenal fans who have the Arsenal away season ticket,alot of these fans actually prefer going to the away games these days and my best mate is one of those? As you know football to some people is like going to church and I don’t imagine much thought has gone into the consequence of those ardent fans having the right to travel up and down the country week in week out,taken away from them. Football is a tradition and going to away games is also that. Just going to one or two away games a year is something more special in its own way than going to the Emirates for some. I suspect most of the away season ticket holders would’nt,(and probably could’nt afford it anyway) go away to Europe every week and would they want to?..Does it also mean the away supporters section will almost certainly be half empty for each game?

  • lapognivra

    Tony…
    YOU ARE A FREAKING LEGEND…
    THE GREATEST ARSENAL BLOGGER ON TH NET
    EVERY FUCKING ARSENAL FAN SHOULD READ THIS BLOG AND STRAIGHTEN THEIR FUCKING BRAINS!!!!

    KEEP IT UP!!!

  • Rog B

    @kim, are you an under fives spurs fan by any chance?

  • lapognivra…

    too kind, too kind.

  • Loler

    Tony I understand now why you are so supportive of Wenger, both of you are so patronizing, case of a mutual admiration me thinks.

  • loler. A guy comes on here, using a non-existent email address (just like you) and asks if I am on a high when dribbling out this garbage. I write back a sarcastic answer. So which of us is “patronizing”. Neither I think. The earlier writer was abusive, and I can’t really see the point of that – unless some people found it amusing. I was sarcastic, which is, in fact, sarcasm, and isn’t patronizing. I do indeed admire Mr Wenger, but I doubt that he knows I exist. Anyway, I have had enough of emails from non-existent email addresses, so won’t rescue any more out of the waste bin.

  • Rog B

    @loler you’re an idiot
    Tony,would actually prefer you responded to comments such as mine and the many others who have something constructive to talk about..sorry

  • Arvind

    I’d love a free world to be frank. And maybe I’m in a minority but I don’t particularly like the Financial Fair Play. I do believe that talent and merit stands above all. So I’d love anybody to be able to pay how much ever they want to get success if they so choose. But if they go bankrupt one day?..I dont want the FA or some body coming in to save them. If they live by the sword let them die by the sword.

    Yes Arsenal would sort of suffer by this I think..but I think FFP and rules like the 6+5 just hamstring the individual; more than anything else. Arsenal, ManU, Barca are all artificial entities in the corporate world..who provide opportunities to skillful people. These rules will kill those people, who would turn to other employment…and not come into football.. and the game will eventually..in 10,15,30 years suffer.

    Super League? Absolutely..coz the quality will be higher there. And clubs will have more autonomy. That cant be bad.

  • This is a REALLY good article…enjoyed reading. Quick comment: The MLS is using the “super league” idea. The league is not open to other clubs b/c the owners are trying to create it in a fiscally responsible manner. I’m not saying that MLS is good (Not yet), but it’s being built to make money while continually improving the quality of the clubs. i.e. there’s no dropping payroll when you’re relegated. So, while it sucks to be in the NASL, they weren’t the teams generating revenue anyway. Great read.

  • Rog B – yes I take your point, and normally I don’t respond to such people at all, but I am in a very hot and sticky office and am struggling with the copy I am writing this afternoon for a client, and so I guess being a bit grumpy.

    I actually leave it completely up to each author of articles on this site whether he or she comes in and replies to each comment, or not. I read them, but generally try and stay out of discussion, because I take up enough space in articles, and would much sooner see a discussion develop here. Where at all possible I try and take up ideas or thoughts and try and develop the subject in further articles later on.

    But to take up your point of the away season ticket holders, I do think that the EPL will continue with an Arsenal team in it, and the quality will be high. I would refer back to the point I made about the two teams that we debated as being possible for the Ems Cup games. 22 players with four or five left over, all of whom could be considered worthy of a place in an EPL side.

    So we have two sides already – and that has arisen from a position five years ago where we had a much smaller squad and a number of hopeful youngsters.

    Given three more years I think we will have two solid squads – one in the EPL and one in the Super League. Those who like their weekend games and want away matches can follow the EPL and watch the Euro games on TV. And vice versa.

    Indeed we might even move over to all weekend matches on a saturday afternoon at 3pm – since the Fifa regulation forbidding the televising of these would be irrelevant as we would not be in Fifa.

  • Rog B

    @Arvind
    Sadly i really think you have missed the whole point of FFP,take a look at the finicial state the world is in let alone football. Let’s just leave football for a miniute(sadly),’If they live by the sword let them die by the sword’,excuse me but is’nt that what the world banking system has been guilty of in the last ten or so years? If some sort of FFP had been there in the first place then we would’nt all be suffering for the biggest cock up ever. The same applies to football,without governance where will football be in five years? Just ask Leeds or Pompey fans what they think of your selfish response. Super League? Absoloutley, I think it’s inevitable anyway but I don’t see how the quality will be any higher than it already is,that last comment of yours does not make any sense to me

  • nicky

    I read your article slowly, becoming more and more appalled at the possible nightmare future of our national game. My biggest worry is this….I think the prospect you envisage may well be right.
    Already, the wages of our top stars are approaching ridicule. What more can we expect from the cash-registers of a Super League?
    At the bottom of the pit is the poor old loyal supporter of a top team. Does he watch his heroes in the Super League or the Reserve XI in the EPL; he cannot afford the time or the money for both.

    Tony, I cannot go on. The more I think about your prophecy, the headaches get worse. I’m going back to my book. It’s called “Little Women”.
    PS Great News!. I’ve just remembered I’m 87. I won’t live to see whether the nightmare comes about or not. YIPPPEEEE.

  • Perhaps using this, pressure could be mounted in terms of “advancements” on the game. E.g Goal line technology, replays if at the refs discretion and so forth. Perhaps a new breed of referees altogether, ready equipped for the new alterations of the game, with better salaries and a similar approach as to how referees are respected in Rugby.

    This super league has had a framework for years. It would also allow clubs to both compete at the highest level as well as bringing through more homegrown talent because of bigger squads and similar budgets. I used to think France had the framework for how the league should be run, but with the recent buyout of PSG I am beginning to think otherwise.

    Great article as usual.

  • Rog B

    @Tony, I thought something was up,it did seem out of character to respond to such childish behaviour. Watching the reserves play on Saturday and the big game on Tue/wed night….mmm I can’t see that happening,if/when the big clubs break away the media putting all the tv money in, will demand it’s on at the weekend,surely the weekend fixtures when most are not working is what we have always lived for,the midweek fixtures being a bonus. I can only see the English and other european leagues having to swallow anything the European Super league demands. Karl Heinze Rumminiger did actually say a revolution is needed and that revolution would probably be what it is, a complete change to football as we know it. This is though all very exciting and interesting.

  • Shard

    @Arvind

    Football, and other sports, may be a big business, but they are not like any other business. In a normal business environment, if you have 20 companies fighting amongst each other, it’s real competition (excluding the forming of monopolies and oligarchies which isn’t allowed) and it suits the interests of one company if another fails. In football, it doesn’t suit say the top 4, if 10 clubs in the league go bankrupt. You have no league to compete in in that scenario.

    Sports leagues need a cooperative model to succeed and grow in a proper manner. The best example comes from the US. The most industrialised and capitalist economy in the world chooses to have leagues based on salary caps, with no option to ‘buy’ any player, only trade the player’s contracts, who enter free agency at the end of those contracts. While that may never happen in European football, there is much the administrators of the game can learn from there.

  • @Kim and Loler, you guys must be retards(which is synonymous with Spuds). A blog which accommodates the writings of great men like Tony Attwood, Walter Broexxs, delightful Anne, Dogface Sammy the Snake etc, you wanna diss those people? You’re not welcome on this blog in that case. You wanna diss all those well researched articles? You both are definately retard and will never understand intelligent writings anywhere, you are also very rude, deceitful and abusive. There are characters Gooners never exhibit so you both stay off our blog.

    Great write up Tony. One thing though, if everyone is so happy about PSG’s big money take over, why were we all so cold about Man City’s back then…….and even now i might add?

  • Shard

    Tony

    I think you’re being premature with this. I hope something like this does happen, but it would take unbelievable levels of stupidity from FIFA and UEFA (which they are admittedly capable of) to let this come to pass. As I see it, most big clubs are comfortable with things the way they are anyway. After all, they are the big clubs. The threat of a breakaway is most likely just a bargaining tool, and while corruption was mentioned by Rumminege, the only real concern I see clubs having is that the number of international dates keep going up, and the compensation payments they should receive for players being away. If FIFA addresses these concerns, I don’t see the clubs breaking away. Why would they? Would they get more money? Would they be able to ensure more fairness or would they give in to mutual distrust? Formula 1 teams threatened a breakaway and for a while it seemed a real possibility, but in the end, the teams had no unity, and the FIA conceded some piece of the pie and all was well again. So to speak.

  • Arvind

    @RogB: Yes the world is in a mess and the economy is in a mess but that is because people (bankers, politicians, whoever – I’m not an expert on the exact nuts and bolts) chose to be stupid and buy out of their means. Will FFP do that? Yes..it’ll prevent stupidity. But with that you also go ahead and kill the good industrialist or the good businessmen who have got to the top fairly and can genuinely pay that much money without going bust. So for e.g AFC in say the next 5 years will have enough money to buy a David Villa but cannot because of FFP. Would you like that? I wouldn’t. That’s just me. There is a chance that people (good people) will not want to ever want to go beyond a certain point..progress wise, because of too many rules. Yes I know that I am leaving a lot of it to the good sense of many people..which isn’t common..but hey one can dream. I’m an idealist 🙂

    @Shard: Yes there certainly is a point in what you say. But its the same old problem – Why should the rich pay for the poor? No I do not mean that in an arrogant …’I am bigger than you sense’…don’t get me wrong. If the big clubs got there by respecting the law, excellent business ethics and models and treated their employees well, they are more successful. They had greater visionaries at the time when the club was still small..a 100 years ago and the clubs current custodians are reaping that fruit. So in the end, you have another business. Football too is a business…and we are its consumers. And like any other business.. if quality drops…consumers go away….etc…etc. For e.g.. Why should Arsenal be worried about say Scunthorpe United? They have a right to run their business well, ethically and within their means and have every right to the fruits of their labour. If AFC earned 1000$ and were say forced to contribute something to everyone and spend only 200$ on players, despite doing nothing wrong…I think that too is unfair.

    OTT:
    Those are just my very own opinions really…I think there are enough boundaries in the form of religion, caste(I know it is in India) and countries that limit possibilities of what man can achieve. So any further rules…well..lets just say I’m a skeptic. The only rule I want in an ideal world..is that were ‘individual rights’ are respected. But hey.. I digress 😉

  • rusty

    Tony, I’m not too familiar with the history of the creation of the EPL out of the Football League, but I would greatly appreciate some historical comparisons!

  • Adam

    I don’t know whether any of these predictions will come to pass or if Tony is right or wrong. But I do think that when the history of this period of English football is written it will show that Chelsea and then Man City destroyed it as a competitive game. I would also add Man Utd under the Glazers to that but that seems more like a question of financing direction rather than pure financial doping. I have a long history with Arsenal who are ingrained within me and my family but I would have to seriously consider the crazy amount of money it costs me each year if the best I could ever hope for was to see Arsenal competing for 4th, 5th or 6th place. As for FFP? I don’t see it working. Too much money floating about and too much corruption.

  • Domhuaille

    You definitely have part of the future right Tony but here is what I see happening as well (alternate universe sort of stuff):

    a)A salary cap will happen sooner than later,just like every other professional league.
    b)FIFA and EUFA will go along with a SuperLeague but will desperately try and control it as well….how? By threatening not to provide officials!
    c)A revised EPL could work with the remaining 15 teams joined by the 2 SPL teams and 5 ¨B¨ teams from Arsenal, United, Liverpool,City,and Chelsea for a total of 22 teams. 4 would go down and 4 would come up each season.
    d)The Fairplay rules will wither and die outside the FA but will be applied in the EPL and the FA will try and model the Bundesliga’s requirements for balanced and positive budgetary results each season or automatic relegation.
    e)The CL will continue but the Europa League will die a whimpering death,thank God!

  • Anne

    @Shard:

    Off topic, but I’m looking for you again if you see this.

  • maverick

    @Tony, interesting article in skysports saying that a breakaway league is not in plans although they are upset with Blatter(ECA), might be worth a read. I really hope that it will happen though would be quite exciting.

    skysports.com/skysportsnews/story/0,28679,19494_7080785,00.html

  • Rog B

    @Arvind:Idealist? Sounds more like supporting a club such as Man C,Real M,or Chelsea would would be ideal for you. Take a look back to Italy in the 90’s when the ‘BIG’ teams went nuts with their spending and now take a look at football in Italy today,virtually bankrupt. Idealist…I’d say get real.

  • BobbyP

    Nicely written article, Tony – seems a bit depressing though to imagine a future where the reserves play in the North London derby on Saturday to save the first team for a midweek trip to PSG… Good to see that Rummenigge is being increasingly vocal in his criticism of Blatter

  • bob

    Tony,
    Any league would need fair refereeing and video replay to ensure it. I expect that’s a given, though not directly addressed. Another idea is what US Major League Baseball does. If any team exceeds an annual player salary budget of $200 Million, then it must pay a luxury tax of X% (not quite sure) which, in turn, gets redistributed to the rest of the teams (on some formula), so that the other teams benefit if another team breaks the salary cap. In a wealthy-owners league like the Super League (or the EPL as it’s come to be), having this modified salary cap arrangement could both allow the wealthiest clubs to spend (as they do anyway), but condition it on helping the rest of the clubs to close the gap by sharing in the luxury tax. I think it’s a capital idea, in a capital-driven set-up.

  • Byo

    Leave out FIFA corruption, and their utter smugness. And the fact that the standard of play in the last WC was far below CL level!

    What really upset me the most is the fact that players get injured on international duty(invariably meaningless friendlies) only to return to their clubs for them to pick up the pieces. Gosh, this drives me crazy!

  • BobbyP

    @bob

    Out of interest, are the big teams in US sport (Yankees, Cowboys, Giants etc) happy with the semi-socialist nature of the leagues? Do they never lobby for more financial freedom to spend their revenues, without luxury tax/salary cap restrictions?

  • bob

    Arvind,
    You bloviate (though politely) in a fantasy: that unregulated free market virtue will triumph over all regulation (which you define as some sort of evil). Hello? What world do you live in? Can you even spell monopoly? Do you read the newspapers? ever? Are you prepared sir not-really-that-bad for the mass starvation that follows your way? have a look, for one of many examples, at say ireland 1845-1851 for euro-history, and i’m sure other histories are filled with similar horrors, and then come back with your examples of the virtue of an unregulated marketplace. in your dreams.

  • Mike

    Tony very interesting article. The current situation doesn’t make sense for the big clubs. They have huge turnover but make losses. I’m not sure I agree about the premier league carrying on in the same way though. The huge TV money is based on the matches of the big clubs – they’re the ones that get the big audience figures. Would Sky be willing to pay as much for a Premier League in which the big teams played their B teams?
    Also it would be interesting to see what happened to teams like Man City. Clubs like these have a detrimental effect on the profits of the other big clubs because they push up transfer fees, and their huge wages have a knock on effect on other clubs – just look at Rooney’s pay rise last season. The big clubs were the ones in favour of FFP. It would funny (or hilarious) if they set up a super league and didn’t let City join.

  • bob

    Ah BobbyP,
    Well, amigo, they don’t object in public; and the NY Yankees use their payment of the luxury tax as a PR defense of their highest budget in baseball – and a lot of the teams do benefit from the Yankees largesse. So it does seem to work for baseball’s capitalists. As a matter of fact, in US pro football, a selling point of the entire league is that there’s been increasing parity on the field, and it’s long-term motto is “on any given Sunday,” meaning that any team could upset the other. It also is the most popular US sport. (Not my cup of tea, but exciting nonetheless). Now, if that kind of result can make it through the seeming litmus test of your ideological strainer, then a lot of teams can do VERY well both on and off the pitch. Sometimes a rising tide, you see, can float all boats. That is, semi-socialism is a well-tried capitalist tool.

  • BobbyP

    Thanks bob – prefer baseball to NFL myself as well. Can’t help thinking that an NFL type system would suit Wenger perfectly – although not sure the ‘European elite’ (Madrid/Milan/United etc) would adjust too well…

  • critic

    I didn’t read the whole comment section but here are some points, that i think, need explanation :

    1)Somewhere in the past Arsene suggested “due to debt” big guns will form a breakaway league. There will be no one to check on clubs debts(however there still is no one). This means Arsene’s all hardwork, to keep debt in check, going waste. I am making this point because most of the big guns are in huge debt – manu, manc, real, barca, milan etc. etc. The new body formed by these big guns will obviously keep these club’s interest in their mind.
    Which, i personally won’t like.

    2) Mid week games will lose it’s viewership in eastern countries as people usually have to go to office/college/school on thursday/friday. And timings can’t be of noon or early evening as local ppl won’t be able to attend matches.

    3)regular travelling over the continent will shoot up clubs expenses.

    4)It won’t be possible for local fans to attend (say madrid v/s arsenal) european away matches due to travelling expenses and fatigue related to it.

    These are some of the problems that i can think of.

    Pardon my grammar if i am wrong somewhere. :-p

  • bob

    @9jagunnderdoc,
    I do feel well-attuned to your suggested concerns about the billionaire-takeover model at work at PSG, etc., and how there might be a double-standard to applaud it there but be horrified when we see it at ManShitty. I think the sustainability model that we say we celebrate at Arsenal – and which has been Arsene’s expressed view, even stated by him in Ruppie’s Londong Times [A for courage, Arsene!] would only work in the Super League if (a) the Super League itself will generate enough TV revenue (so a lot of its future is still in the TV moguls’ hands); and, most important, (b) if there’s a salary cap for each team such that any team that spends above it must then pay a luxury tax which is then distributed to the teams that don’t breach the salary cap. Otherwise, my fear is that we will have gotten rid of Septic Bladder and the Detritus for a Billionaire Block that is hostile to the self-sustaining model.

    @Tony, as I raise it just above, I would like you to address the fate of the self-sustaining model in the Super League, perhaps a modified Super League, as you see it going forward.

  • bob

    Rog B,
    Ditto on the implications of Arvind’s vision for football: it’s the welcome mat for the billionaire takeover model’s permanent victory over anything resembling FFP/self-sustaining model.

  • critic

    The obvious solution for my 3rd point is playing super league at weekends and pushing local leagues in midweek. But then local league’s viewership/attendance will go down, i guess?

  • bob

    In a bad economy, I fear that travel costs will make the Super League local, and the local leagues – because people can afford to travel and subsidize them – well, super. What will make or break either or both is the TV broadcast deals, and they, it seems, are the wild card “kingmaker” in the sustainability of any League arrangement.

  • Murad

    Tony

    I suggest you read up on the Indian Cricket league (ICL) scandal, where there was a breakaway league not recognized by the ICC (cricket equivalent of FIFA and about as corrupt some would say). This apparently under pressure by BCCI (Indian cricket equivalent of the FA) backed Indian Premier League (IPL).

    Any cricketer playing in the ICL was banned from playing international cricket, the ICL eventually did fade away…

    I’m sure you could draw parallels to the super league theory!

  • Jas777

    What I think would happen is that the competition initially would be popular but it would wane overtime as midweek night games all over Europe will become unpopular and ticket revenue will fall.

    Most of the clubs in the 20 team league will have to remember that the fans in their local area are the most important not someone in Asia who only really watches 4 of the teams.

    The local fans will won’t to watch their team play the other teams as it is tradition and can do during daylight hours and have banter with their mates who support a rival club not some team in another country

  • Great article, Tony. In 2014, In 2014, we have the World Cup in Brazil. We will also have an increase in poverty, failing schools and hospitals. And the legacy of the World Cup and the Olympics? We are already experiencing it. Thirty million reais (more then eleven million pounds) spent by the State Government and the City of Rio de Janeiro to make the draw for the World Cup qualifiers. Meanwhile, in Rio, teachers are on strike for higher wages, people are displaced from their homes. This is the legacy of the World Cup and Olympic Games. Meanwhile, a growing movement in Brazil: “Out Ricardo Teixeira.” We want a World Cup that meets the interests of the people, transparency and ethics in football. Miss the days when my father went to the stadium just to see Garrincha and Pelé playing.

  • Arvind

    @RogB,Bob: I didn’t expect anyone to agree to be frank. I expected this kind of a response which sort of told me that I was hallucinating. I’ve been here before with many people and the response is always the same because very few have been able to step out of what exists now and look at what could be possible if every human behaved rationally. No it wont happen and it isn’t real – but its a dream I have. Every human ..every individual rewarded based on his abilities, that’s all.

    @RogB: I’m not sure you need to drag in the ‘Go support a rich club’ line. It isn’t relevant here honestly. I’ll leave it to you though.

    @Murad: Yes, the ICL got banned here, good point. Although one could argue that the concept of club football is more mature than the concept of club cricket. Still yes, good point.

    I’m all for self sustainability.. I just don’t like it forced down my throat regardless of whether I want it or not. AFC for e.g does not need FFP, coz we’re good anyway. I rest my case.

  • Rog B

    @tony,just one final point Tony,you thought that in three years time we had have two teams one for the EPL and one for the Super L,in the last paragraph you say we would not be in FIFA,so how are Arsenal going to play in the EPL if they are not in FIFA,does’nt the EPL come under FIFA rules somewhere along the line?

  • bob

    Arvind,
    you think empathy and cooperation are not rational? you’re view of rationality means that having a heart is irrational. as for not wanting FFP shoved down your throat, don’t worry. you’ve already got that wish. and, btw, would video replay be too much intrusion on your dog-eat-dog world? like you, i think the caste system is terribly restrictive (to put it mildly). but, as the expression goes, be careful what you wish for – you may just get it.

  • Shard

    @Arvind

    “Every human ..every individual rewarded based on his abilities, that’s all”

    And you think a pure laissez faire capitalism is the way to achieve that dream? Well who am I to say you can’t dream, but in the real world, no ‘ism’ can deliver that I’m afraid. In any case, no matter what their ability, no footballer deserves 100k pounds every week, so the whole reward on the basis of ability isn’t happening now, and I wonder how you think it can happen in the future.

    You said why should the rich pay for the poor (only in terms of football clubs I think). I already told you, because the rich need the poor clubs to more than survive if they are to prosper themselves. To have a strong competition on the field, they need to be a strong cooperative off it.

  • Arvind

    @Bob: I think video replays would be great..coz it would improve the quality of football. Anything that improves the quality or has potential should always be welcomed. That’s not a “regulation”.

    Are empathy and co-operation rational? They can be at times..it depends on what the situation is. Many times they aren’t. But do read on.. Would I like those qualities to be present in every human being? Doubtlessly yes. So if AFC gives to charity “voluntarily” I think thats cool…helping others in need is cool…as long as and thats the key really…as long as you WANT to do it. Coercion of any kind at any economic strata is wrong. Thats all I meant by the FFP. It isn’t dog eat dog.. I could explain why it isn’t but hey ..I don’t want to be banned by the only Arsenal forum I post on ;).. but if you will listen maybe I could explain it to you over some other channel. As of now..IMHO lets just move on and agree to disagree.

    @Shard: You’re dead right. There isn’t a world right now or an ‘ism’ that can deliver it. I’m just a big admirer of Ayn Rand’s work and would love for a world that is that way. Please note I do not see it ever happening. Its just not practical to expect every human being to be wholly rational..emotions come in at times. Its just a world that I dream of..and wish happened. Just like I wish for the AAA to go away ;).. lets move on

  • Arvind

    @Shard: On your last point about clubs co-operating off field… if everyone agree..voluntarily and are aware of the pros and cons.. that’s just fine. If Arsenal are fine doing that..and don’t think its a waste of time – perfect. Voluntary – key word. Too many rules are just dumped…without context .. and hence my skepticism.

  • Shard

    @Arvind

    Just one more thing

    “Its just not practical to expect every human being to be wholly rational.”

    Nor is it desirable in my view.

  • Eagleye

    Cannot understand people writing abuse about an article an author thought others would find interesting. If it bores you go elsewhere, why waste your time writing abuse that will appear at the foot of the page where people who were interested in the article and read right through will disagree with what you’ve said anyway?

    For the record Tony, i always think you write a first class article. Even if you are a patronzing sarcastic sod. 😛

  • Rog B

    This is of course just guesswork on my part, but I think what will happen is that the clubs will pull out, and the EPL will be left with a much smaller TV deal – the old deal will collapse because it is based on all the top clubs being there.

    So the remainder of the EPL will have to decide – exist on far less money, or compromise. I think they will compromise and allow second teams in.

    Fifa will then throw them out – but in effect it will leave Fifa with just a rump of countries to play with and rip off.

    The clubs and leagues now linked to the Super League will then form their own international body, and it will rival Fifa, and gradually take over.

  • Murad – and there was the Kerry Packer cricket league before that. In the end compromises are reached – but the Packer story shows how willing players are to take a leap into the unknown when big money is on offer.

  • Arvind

    Cheers Shard..to each his own 🙂

  • bob

    Arvind,
    Now that you say it out loud, your goddess ayn rand and her libertarianism/objectivism – isms, my friend, so take heed – would have no problem, nor do you, of one-man billionaire takeovers like those at chelski and manShitty and these are not compatible with self-sustaining models of football like Arsene’s at Arsenal. Now it might be fine with you to dump it, but I think you should say so. And as for your embrace of video replay, would you deny Bladder and Platini their right to use their power to block it as they have publicly done? Your idea of rational and voluntary paves the way for anyone to claim they are on top because they are superior and therefore have the right to do what they want because it is rational. And that’s exactly what happened and continues to happen when people like you serve as megaphones for such views. It’s your right, but you need to know, in the context of this website, that it’s hugely more friendly to and excuses the one-man ways of chelski and manShitty than it is to arsenal and self-sustainability. Now if you had to choose between Ayn Rand and Arsene Wenger, what would be your choice? Because they are not compatible. Then again, we all have our contradictions; only some of us admit them.

  • Arvind

    @Bob: I’d love to discuss this further in greater depth but it’d be OT. I am of course open to discussing this over Email or any other medium you might suggest?

    I will answer the Blatter point though. If you ask me…in my ideal world Fifa wouldn’t exist nor would anyone who decides to tell anyone ‘how to behave’ exist at all in the first place. Its the clubs who get affected, its the clubs who lose trophies and revenue if wronged..they should be allowed to decide if they want it or not. Not FIFA or any third body. The logic is that the parties involved must deal directly.. not through middle men of various hues and colors. I don’t think FIFA should exist at all.

    Ayn Rand or Arsene? I’d say both.
    Ayn Rand speaks with a clarity of thought I have seen no other writer possesses..(I may be wrong) and shows how good man can be. She fights against the world to do things the way she feels is right.

    I see a distinct parallel in the way AW does things as well. He does not force his opinions down the throat of anyone, consistently does things the right way and is a wonderful speaker about many things. If you took AW and put him in a world designed by Ayn Rand, he’d be just fine IMHO – because he would still do the things he wanted to..like talk eloquently, be compassionate towards the not so fortunate, try and help where he could and do it all because he WANTED to.

    Contradictions? Ayn Rand does not say ‘I am against helping people’. If the individual thinks that someone deserves to be helped..hey why not? I’m stopping here on this topic though and will say that I remain open to discussion and possible admission that there is a contradiction somewhere..but lets stop this here. That’s a request from my side. Is your Email available somewhere..so I can contact you offline..if you want to take this further?

  • bob

    I can only object to a face-to-face discussion about the future of football at which so-called “self made” billionaires like those who rule at chelski and manshitty participate, and then all the other lesser creatures blithely pretend it is a level playing field based on reason, not power. you have no idea of actual power in the actual world; and are currently thinking inside a fact-free bubble of ayn randism. look to the fact that she once supported a man named barry goldwater for US president and you’ll see what I mean. Anyway, this is my last on this with you here, with thanks and apologies to Tony for letting it play out this far.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Well, I guess its pretty important for Arsenal to qualify for the Champions League for the next 3 years then, because if they don’t, they won’t be a big club any more.

    They never won the Champions League and they won’t in the next three years either.

    The way you write this Arsenal will get in on merit.

    They’ll be near the bottom of the list, that’s for sure. Because there are the following who are both top teams in their own nations and have won the European Cup/ECL:

    Real Madrid, AC Milan, Liverpool, Ajax, Bayern Munich, Man Utd, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Porto, Benfica, PSV Eindhoven, Borussia Dortmund.

    So that’s 12 places gone.

    8 left for Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Hamburg, Schalke, PSG, Marseilles, Lyons, Juventus, Roma, Sevilla, Hertha Berlin, Red Star Belgrade, Panathinaikos, Galatasaray, Besiktas, FC Zenit, Spartak Moscow, Rubin Kazan etc etc to argue over.

    Depends on what gets you in, doesn’t it?

    But Arsenal think they’ll get in, as they’re the only club in London with a 60,000 stadium, assuming neither Spurs or Chelsea decide to relocate to Wembley.

    And if the FA’s dead in the water, they might sell Wembley to avoid insolvency, wouldn’t they?

    Perhaps that’s what the Spurs Olympic Stadium thing is all about eh? Taking Arsenal’s place in a new Super League.

    I do hope for your sake that Arsenal don’t finish 6th this year with Spurs in the top 4. Selling van Persie and Wilshere next summer after selling Nasri and Fabregas this.

    You’d look mighty, mighty stupid…………..because ueber-partisan distortions don’t make for sympathy, they make for schadenfreude.

    Your site’s the one making those distortions, mate.

    We’ll see how it all plays out in 2012, won’t we?

    But pre-season says pretty clearly: Arsenal haven’t attempted to sort out the defensive rubbish.

    Perhaps it doesn’t matter??

    Because if you’re in the new franchise system, what’s competence got to do with it in the lead up, eh?

  • Laundyender

    Nice article Tony

    Enjoyable reading on my return from Andalucian holiday

    I read last week in the times or telegraph that Franz Beckenbauer was saying that European clubs were becoming disillusioned with FIFA and particularly the amount of International games being played. Cannot remember wher i read it as I was abroad, but he was quoted directly.

    Do I think it will happen?? DUNNO but

    I would hate to see the English game move too far away from what made it great. The list of massive clubs with great histories i could name is a very long one, to never again see Man Utd, Liverpool or Arsenal running out at Hillsborough, or Fratton Park, PNE or Burnley i feel would be a distillation of our game too far.

    I would prefer to see a return to the Champions league being just that, the Cup Winners Cup too, and the good old UEFA/Fairs cup being one of credibility and excitement.

    Money cannot always be the driving force, and the national game really is the lifeblood that drives the passion.