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October 2016
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Hello hello. A tiny sighting of the return of Financial Fair Play. Let’s hope…

By Tony Attwood

One of the more unexpected things that comes with publishing this site is the regular stream of emails from people who claim that they have been reading for a long old time, but because we have published x or have mentioned y too often, they are stopping now.

Unexpected because in my life I have meandered from one magazine to another, and in more recent years one website to another, many a time, but I’ve never thought of writing to say farewell.  It is rather nice of people to say goodbye.

I’m not sure if anyone is going to leave us because I am now returning to Uefa, or Financial Fair Play (one of my beloved topics) but I hope not, because it seems to me it is important, and I’d like a chance to convince you it is indeed so.

Uefa has a president, and it is not the one we expected.  It is Aleksander Ceferin, a guy you may not have heard of (I hadn’t until the notice came out that he was standing).  He is a Slovenian lawyer, and he is believed to represent the interest of some of the smaller nations in Uefa.

He also has two issues that he noted in his manifesto that he would consider, and the first is one that gives me a little hope for better times ahead.  FFP.

Now I know we are talking about Uefa here so hope doesn’t really spring eternal, but still to have FFP put back on the agenda would be truly wonderful.   As we know FFP in Uefa caught out PSG, Man City and others at first, but then it was so watered down it became useless.   The Premier League also introduced FFP but its FFP is so weak that no one is caught up in it.  But here is a man who wants to balance things up a bit, and for a club like Arsenal that lives by its own income, not by the donations of an oil or gas rich nation that uses slave labour and rejects all women’s rights, or a multi-billionaire who thinks playing with a club is fun, would be rather nice.

We have no more information than the fact that the new man raised the subject when seeking votes, but just raising it as one of two key points as he bid for his job, makes me just a teenzy weenzy bit hopeful.

His second issue is the one where Uefa recently gave Italy, England, Spain and Germany four guaranteed places each in the Champions League and reworked the way the revenue was split to favour those clubs that had previously been most successful.

That deal has not yet been ratified, and it is said among the corridors of Uefa that it was this deal that made the smaller countries rise up and find their own candidate.

Ceferin has been head of the Slovenian Football Association since 2011.  He got 42 of the 55 Uefa voting members to support him.  Of the deal giving England etc guaranteed places and more money he said, “We were not informed properly,” which sounds about right for Uefa.

The idea of that deal was the stop a breakaway by Spanish and Italian clubs into a new league, and yet it seems that Italy voted for Ceferin.  An interesting juxtaposition.   Maybe they backed him if he brought in FFP but left the guaranteed four positions alone.

Summing up his position the new man at the helm said, “We should show we are the ones who are the governing body.  At the same time we have to have dialogue with the clubs and I’m sure this situation can be solved.”

It is of course possible that some horse trading will go on.  The new four guaranteed slots for the top nations could go through untouched, in return for the beefing up of FFP.  But we should also remember that China is buying up football clubs all over the place.  From WBA, Villa and Wolverhampton to Inter Milan.  The Chinese also have part ownerships of Man City and Atlético Madrid.  I am not sure they expected this change of direction.

But the new man at Uefa seems serious.   “FFP should be enforced more strongly because the gap between the rich ones and the poor ones is wider and wider,” he said. “We have a lot to do.”

Of course you can guess who the FA voted for – and it wasn’t the winner.

The events of the meeting were rather overshadowed by the fact that Fifa’s ethics committee gave the disgraced and banned M. Platini dispensation to make a farewell speech on “humanitarian” grounds.

You can imagine what the erstwhile FA favourite said.   “I have a clear conscience.  I am certain not to have made any mistake and I will continue to fight this in the courts. I’d like to thank all of you who have had the courage to support me in the last few months.

“I’d like to thank you for these nine years. I think we did a great job. I hope you enjoyed it and are proud of what we achieved. I’m proud. That’s why I wanted to say goodbye and thank you. Friends of football, farewell.”

Farewell indeed.  And maybe hello to a very tiny light shining at the end of a very long and very dark tunnel.

From the Arsenal History Site

32 comments to Hello hello. A tiny sighting of the return of Financial Fair Play. Let’s hope…

  • Leon

    I was reading about Mr Ceferin earlier and just had to share this terrific Guardian article by the wonderfully acerbic Marina Hyde today.

  • Mandy Dodd

    I wish him luck if he really is going to try all this, he will need it.
    Read that he also mentioned the issue of match fixing…..and hope he is one for giving refs the help they need via technology unlike his Luddite…and corrupt predecessor

  • pigs flying and ceferin doing a great job are two things one can expect in life.

  • Godge

    “the regular stream of emails from people who claim that they have been reading for a long old time, but because we have published x or have mentioned y too often, they are stopping now.”

    Keep writing all you want to write. I read everything – Arseblog, Le Grove, ANR, Arsenal Truth, Goonerholic, Jeorge Bird etc. – the variety is brilliant. What you write is your own valid view of things. My own views are a mish-mash of everything I read because you all have valid points at different times. Don’t let anyone stop you writing.

    The point is, I agree with an awful lot of what you write, but even if I didn’t I wouldn’t stop reading, the same way I don’t stop reading sites I disagree with. If you don’t consider all sides, you can’t reach a rounded view.

    Getting back on subject, this new President will be very interesting to watch.

  • Jambug


    “If you don’t consider all sides, you can’t reach a rounded view.”

    Not strictly true that is it.

    If someone kept arguing the Earth was flat, or the Sun was the centre of the Universe, would you keep reading them ?

    Well you might, but you’d be a fool.

    So no, you don’t have to consider all sides to reach a rounded view because some sides just have absolutely no credibility.

  • Leon


    I read “five a day” and get something from all, but don’t believe everything from any of them.
    It’s only subjective comment & opinion anyway, not genuine news.
    So where is the centre of the Universe Jambug?

  • Tom

    Jambug only reads Untold ( his own admission ) and he only disagrees with Tony on 1% of topics( his own admission as well).
    Imagine how boring it must be to be Jambug 🙂

    And if he had his way, Untold would be a forum for only” like- minded people”, with no negative thoughts or comments re Arsenal, where every poor performance would be classified only as a “bad day at the office”, and the only criticism allowed would be one of referees and the media.

  • Tom

    “So where is the center of the Universe Jambug?

    My guess , Arsene Wenger’s office 🙂

  • para

    I do not expect much change with the new man Ceferin, he will soon have to lose his lofty ideals when he comes up against the “money” people. He will either resign or follow their agenda.

    Take it (from Tom) with a little humour. 🙂

    Has anyone thought that someone new to the site may find it negative? They may see the repeated “apparently negative” articles about Refs, FFP, State Aid stadium, Spuds, AAA etc and think that “moaning” is all Untold is about. Just an observation!

    I hope there is also a center of the universe in your head too, as well as Jambug’s, and mine, and… you get the picture. 🙂

  • Florian

    I’m not sure how many Arsenal blogs one reads, but I prefer Jambug’s boredom to the aaa’s negativity.

  • Florian

    Where of course boredom was supposed to be “boredom” 😉

  • Bloggs

    Can someone enlightened person please settle an argument. I have a bet that because Arsenal and Hamburg had the same sponsors in 2006 ( Fly Emirates ) regulations stated both teams couldn’t have this on their shirts so Arsenal had Dubai on their’s when we played in Germany . Can you also tell when this was stopped as we had the same scenario against PSG

  • Jambug


    I find it odd you choose to deride me for my support and positivity towards Untold Arsenal, Arsenal FC and Wenger on a site whose strap line is:

    Untold Arsenal: Arsenal News; Supporting the club, the players and the manager.

    I think my views fit perfectly well with the views, aims and emotions of this site and a vast majority of the people that visit it, and I’m very comfortable with that.

    If you feel the need to ridicule me for that that’s up to you.

  • Tom

    Like I said many times on here I find myself agreeing with you more than not on a whole host of issues, but also as I said so many times before, you keep taking things to extreme and lose me and my support( not that you care ) on the same issues I tend to agree with you.

    Comparing even the most negative things said about Arsene Wenger , things like ” he’s past it and should’ve retired years ago, isn’t exactly like saying ” the Earth is flat and the Sun is the center of the Universe”

    You know it’s posible Arsene Wenger isn’t the manager he once was.
    This happens to all managers and that’s why they retire even though physically and mentally they are capable of going well into their seventies.

  • David M

    If you only believe everything positive about the club then your eventually going to see the earth as flat anyway because you are blinded by your own faith.

    My point on this is wholeheartedly in regards to Snr. Kroenke. Its great that Arsenal is run in the black rather than the red I am 100% all for that. But I harbour grave concerns about Kroenke’s ambitions for the club. It is a MASSIVE cash cow for him right now and from living in Nth America and seeing his sports holdings here he has zero concern for fans.

    I am a scientist by trade and you should always consider both sides. If you don’t then you are not being true to impartial research and you become blinded by your own beliefs. So many scientists end up doing that. This is where science begins to revert back to a religion at times. Even Einstein tried to quash research that was finding flaws in his theories of relativity

  • David M please could you give some evidence as to how Arsenal is a cash cow for Kronke, citing how much he invested, how much he takes out and thus the return on investment.

  • Menace

    Tom & Godge – keep walking on the side. When you find the corner turn. Footballs are round for a reason. They only have two sides.

  • Jambug


    “You know it’s possible Arsene Wenger isn’t the manager he once was”

    Yes it is possible, but I don’t happen to believe so, so please don’t profess to tell me what I know and what I don’t know.

    It is also possible that you know better than Wenger, but I don’t happen to believe that either, although you obviously do.

  • Jambug


    I find you very odd.

    You say you agree with lots of things I say yet I find it difficult to recall one post from you actually voicing that view.

    And yet over the past few days you have seen fit to criticise me for the slightest thing.

    I did a post just surmising what Referee Madley’s train of thought MIGHT of been on Saturday, so as to explain his actions. Not that he was necessarily right or wrong, but just why. The only real conclusion I drew was that on the day ‘We probably got away with one’

    It was the most innocuous of posts, yet for some reason you choose to find fault.

    Today, again for what seems to me to be no reason at all you see fit to start mocking me for my support of Arsenal and Wenger, and for my accord with most of what Tony and UA has to say.

    At the end of the day that’s part of the very reason I am here. I love what UA stands for and what it has to say.

    Given your often as not have diametrically opposed views to Tony and UA in general I find it more difficult to see why you are.

    If I didn’t know better I’d think you where just spoiling for a fight.

    As I say I don’t get it. A long time ago I concluded that you and I could not debate without going round and round in circles.

    On that basis, despite disagreeing with most of what you say, I just decided it wasn’t worth commenting as we got nowhere. Just like today will end up I suspect.

    So if you want to continue with your back biting that’s fine, but don’t you think it would be much better to let each other just wallow in our own respective beliefs and leave it at that ?

  • Notoverthehill

    For a fee of $25,000 per annum, and NO expenses, a cash cow? The main shareholder, will have the use of the penthouse flat, of course.

    Now, if a rich Chinese should buy the Arsenal for £2 billions, then Yes!

    Francis Jeffers, was a mistake. Shawcross, managed to break Jeffers’ leg too. A number of other transfers, were less than helpful.

    Having qualified, or not as the case might be, Mr Wenger has selected teams that were not successful.

    I have no problems with facts, used in the correct context.

  • Notoverthehill

    A wrong key, sorry! £25,000 per annum! Or, perhaps, Brexit has devalued the £ = $?

  • Tom

    Point taken. Next time you make a valid point I agree with , I’ll let you know 🙂

  • Tom

    I’ve never said I knew better than Wenger – I don’t know where you are getting this from.
    Never said who should start, who should be brought on,or in, or who should be sold.

    Sometimes I simply comment on what seems obvious while watching Arsenal play, that’s all.

  • David M

    Stan Kroenke:
    “If you want to win championships then you would never get involved.”
    What more needs to be said really. I’m very pleased investment was made this summer in the squad. Took some time, but it was absolutely needed. I have very little doubt that if we could have got away without investing we would have. This is nothing but a money making venture for Kroenke. A very sound a very profitable business. But you have realize Arsenal are just another cog in the dirty capitalist game of football. I game of entertainment that has been soiled by $$$. Good for us for running a profitable business, but it still sickens me the capitalist greed in this game when there are so many inequalities in the world, and environmental exploitation caused by captalist greed of men like Stan Kroenke. I love football and love Arsenal, but its also important to keep a healthy perspective of stuff

  • David M, this issue of phraseology such as “This is nothing but a money making venture for Kroenke” needs to have evidence if it is to be believed, and it needs to have some sort of contrast and context.

    Sir Henry Norris (quite wrongly in my view, having reviewed all the evidence) has a terrible reputation in football, but would you say that Arsenal was a simple money making venture for him also? If not, would you sooner have Sir Henry as owner, or Kroenke. These and many other questions of that nature are what we need to have answered if accusations such as “This is nothing but a money making venture” are to be bandied about.

    Also we need to consider what sort of return on investment he is getting, and whether he could get more in other areas. I most certainly think he could do better financially – which is why the question again must be asked.

  • David M

    Another point is why is there so much criticism of people questioning tactics on this site?

    Is Arsene some sort of Demi-god that must be revered and condemnation and swift and harsh judgement brought upon those who question him?

    I am a fanatic of the tactical side of football and if Wenger does something that I don’t feel is working I bring it up and usually offer an alternative that I feel might be a better option (see my post after the PSG game…a game we were very poor and lucky to get a result thanks to Cavani’s Hilarious game) we made tactical errors. I discussed them. And there are so often people here just saying “oh you think you know better than Arsene, so sick of these people”. He is one man. He makes mistakes, sadly I think he is making more than he used to and not adjusting as quick as he used to. If I’m a heretic for these statements then so be it!!

  • David M

    @Tony. Where do you get these numbers. Generally businesses are pretty good at keeping this under wraps. If you have them please share. Otherwise we can only make conclusions from statements made by the board. And as Ivan stated a few years back that we are now in the position to challenge financially any team in the world. This season he says we cannot? We know there is a BUNCH of extra money from new TV deals. So how can it be that we are now less able to compete when we should be in a much greater position…Seems to me to suggest a reduction in ambition of the board and a focus on profits

  • David M
    Another point is why is there so much criticism of people questioning tactics on this site?

    The answer is that this is site is dedicated to football analysis with evidence.

  • David M

    “The answer is that this is site is dedicated to football analysis with evidence.”

    Wow truely stunning comment. So I voice an opinion over tactics delivering evidence of tactical weaknesses in our midfield against PSG (the first goal is purely down to midfield positioning, which 30seconds in you would expect to be at its strongest. There is space between mids and defence, Koz has to come way up the pitch leaving us totally exposed at the back -good cross goal – add to that the number of QUALITY chances PSG had and Cavani spurned [we got VERY lucky against PSG even you must admit that as we were outplayed completely – especially in terms of tactics in the first 60mins]…there is your evidence). And I am once again told my comments lack evidence. the only other meanings I could possibly take from your comment is that football analysis does not involve tactical analysis. Or that analysis does not involve critiquing Arsenal in anyway.

    I really thought this was a good site for posting dicussion not just a site for agreement and praise of writers, Arsene, and the board.

  • David, it is all to do with the level of evidence, and the conclusions drawn from it, and comparisons with other situations.

    You cite “tactical weaknesses in our midfield against PSG (the first goal is purely down to midfield positioning, which 30seconds in you would expect to be at its strongest. There is space between mids and defence, Koz has to come way up the pitch leaving us totally exposed at the back -good cross goal”

    OK, let’s accept that – but so what? That is the point. Does evidence of one match give a true insight into what Arsenal will be like all season? Do clubs that get off to a flying start early in the season go on to win everything each time? Clearly not, so the issues are more complex. “Evidence” means gathering a wide range of data, and drawing logical conclusions. I look out the window this morning and see it pouring down with rain. Does that mean it always rains on 17 September? But anyway, as you say at the end you have mistaken what this site is about, so best to leave it there.

  • David M

    “But anyway, as you say at the end you have mistaken what this site is about, so best to leave it there.”

    Wow I sure have. Yes I was discussing a weakness in a game that I thought was an issue and instead of a debate or discussion on it i get the spanish inquisition because I have said something against his holiness.

    Your staunchness in defending all things Arsene, Arsenal and the board really is beginning to seem like this website is becoming more and more like other people have suggested. A mouthpiece for the board.

    I’ll continue to read the referee’s reviews because I have always and continue to love that section, but quashing debate/discussion by bleeting at nausea about lack of evidence even when evidence is provided is simply embarrassing on your behalf.

    Well done you have silenced another commentor that doesn’t agree with your point of view 100%. You seem pretty good at that and controlling what people say to follow your point of view (clearly the reason you removed the like/dislike section). This surprised me so much more after our recent email conversation where even you yourself criticised Kroenke. Guess you’re not allowed to publically on your site eh?

  • David M _ I will try one more time. This site is based on the notion that there are tens of thousands of football sites that celebrate and give space to opinions – opinions made without any evidence. Untold has always been different – deliberately so – it is in our name, after all. The view is that the processes of scientific analysis are worth bringing to football, and that things can be learned from such an approach. We have used it with analysing what happens when clubs bring in big value players, whether having the top scorer in your team leads to winning the league, whether refereeing in the PL actually is different from elsewhere…

    And we try and approach this scientifically – not just taking one event and saying “that proves my point” but looking for a multiplicity of examples in order to draw conclusions. Yes, when we have commentators who cite pure opinion, or just give one or even two examples to back up a claim, we tend not to publish them. If you want to call that silencing another commentator, of course you can, but my view as publisher is that what we are doing is offering an alternative vision from that of most sites.

    Untold is not set up for, nor has any interest in, representing all opinions – there are thousands of sites that do that already. We are here to offer the alternative to the people who do appreciate scientific analysis and logical deduction a place to explore that.

    Clearly what we do upsets lots of people, but that really isn’t my concern. My concern is to provide a place for discussion based on proper evidence properly used and to publish commentary that is not found elsewhere.

    What I will do if I have time is put this in an article to which everyone who agrees with you, and of course there are many can read what this site is about, and understand it, if they have a wish to.

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