by Tony Attwood
Today is the day when the Premier League try and sort out their own new set of regulations to control wage inflation and endless investment by Qatar. Chelsea, who despite their richess know they ultimately cannot match the state backed Manchester City have agreed to go along with a cap on wages and a financial fair play deal.
Roman Abramovich has always claimed to be an instigator of FFP with Uefa, but then seemed to shy away from the approach as Chelsea failed to get a stranglehold on the Premier League and Champions League. But according to the inside word they are now back onside.
Only 14 votes are needed to bring in new regulations, and with Chelsea voting in favour of proposals put forward by Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Man U, it looks like change will happen.
The Famous Four have had to compromise of course, now allowing losses of £35m a season averaged over three years to go through. The belief at the Emirates Stadium is that this deal is better than no deal. Manchester City, Fulham, West Brom and Aston Villa are all still against the move. The first two because they are utterly dependent on investment and the last two because they are looking for buyers, who will be put off by the fact that they can’t do what Man City has done in recent years.
The wages increase regulations will also be changed so that it does not apply to any club that has a wages bill of under £50 million or so. The prime benefit here is that newly promoted sides will have a chance to build a squad that can stand a chance of maintaining Premier League status.
The agreement doesn’t go as far as Uefa’s agreement, but it is going to make it harder for Uefa to back out of their deal by giving paltry fines to clubs who fail to abide by the regulations. If the Premier League make their rules stick, and Uefa will be very embarrassed if they fail to make change happen.
Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool have also put forward one new rallying call. They claim that if wholesale change does not happen soon then England will end up like Scotland was (until this season) and Spain still is – a two team league (although Real Madrid’s collapse this year might mean we have to re-write that bit).
If you are a regular reader you’ll know Untold has been arguing in favour of FFP for over two years. There have been many correspondents who have said that it simply will not happen, but this sudden move to bring it into the Premier League, is a major step forward.
Of course if it doesn’t happen on Thursday I’ll look even more stupid than usual – but at least I can blame the Press Association for some of this.
But let’s hope it does.
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- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
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- The Arsenal History Blog from the AISA Arsenal History Society