- Losing was not a disgrace, but there was still ignominy for Arsenal
- Arteta reaches the summit of Arsenal managers, and tonight’s team
According to the top man in Uefa, Aleksander Ceferin, Uefa ought to consider changing its rules which prohibit clubs with the same owners from playing each other. It is a policy view that seems to be dreamed up in order to allow various parties that already own other clubs, to bid for Manchester United.
And this makes sense since there is a Qatari-funded bid lurking in the background, and the Qataris have more than enough money to own several Premier League clubs. Indeed there is even a suggestion lurking around that this was one of a number of private agreements reached with Qatar as part of the package that took the world cup to that country. Otherwise what legacy does the country have other than a number of newish stadia that have no games to play within them and a lot of ex-workmen who they are seeking to deport?
Qatar – or rather one of its sovereign wealth funds – already owns Paris Saint Germain and it would obviously like to have PSG play other Qatari clubs in Qatar if only the pesky rule about multiple ownership could be overcome.
Indeed Ceferin has said that such a change to its rules “has to be quick.” (Which in Cerferin talk means “before others can get their act together to stop it”)
Such a rule change would of course help the City Group that owns Manchester City buy another Premier League club or two (they certainly have more than enough money) and Red Bull to add to its ownership of Leipzig and Salzburg.
Add to this the fact that PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi escaped without any sanctions after he confronted a referee last year and it seems that the big-money men and countries are getting ready for a major onslaught onto Premier League club ownership.
What is worrying here is that the people involved are generally not people who have worked to create wealth but people who have inherited it and who use it to manipulate whatever they come to interact with, in order to enhance their own profile. No one, but no one is allowed to stand in their way.
Thus Nasser al-Khelaifi is free to go on buying despite openly confronting a referee in his changing room and threatening him. And we may note that Al-Khelaifi is a close pal of Ceferin – and these are the men who put themselves forward as the saviours of “football as we know it” in the face of Super League.
Uefa has admitted that over 180 clubs across the world are already owned by organisations that own other clubs. Ten years ago the number was thought to be about 35.
Responding to this Cerferin said, “we shouldn’t just say no [to] the investments, and for multi-club ownership.” Which is reassuring until one realises that the committee that will change the rules on multi-club ownership include not just Ceferin and Al-Khelaifi but also the Uefa treasurer David Gill.
So it looks like we are heading toward a multi-club ownership model by owners totally distanced from the club – which is ok for them if they are pumping money into a club and getting results as Manchester City are doing, but not ok if they are not winning things.
And what will these people do who own multiple clubs and are used to getting exactly what they want? They will of course change the rules to be able to do exactly what they want – even more so.
Let’s compare this with where Arsenal came from. The club was set up by workers initially in the Dial Square factory and later in the Royal Arsenal. Those workers elected a committee each year to run the club – and that committee was made up primarily of working men from the Royal Arsenal factories.
In the early part of the 20th century the club got into financial difficulties and one man stepped in to pay off the debts, build the club a new stadium in a different part of the city, and get it into the top division, eventually bringing to the club the best manager the league had ever seen – Herbert Chapman – while at the same time, selling shares in the club to the working men and the fans who supported the club.
This owner was thrown out in a coup, by a middle and upper class clique who then eventually sold the club to the current owners. The pattern of sales is clear – a workers club eventually ends up in the hands of a billionaire. And now the multi-billionaires want to kick the mere single billionaires out so that their clubs can just play each other in matches organised along the lines of the Uefa and Euros finals where the wealthy take their seats and the fans suffer.
The current structure is already crumbling, and the old notions of rivalry and competition are being set aside. There has to be a way to stop this, rather than letting the clubs slide into a morass where the same teams play each other all the time.
- Arsenal has let in one more goal than at this stage last season, and that’s a disaster
- Arsenal continue to make more progress than the rest of the big seven
- Arsenal v Tottenham; the team and some rather jolly recent history
- We are running out of referees, and the reason is the PGMO.
- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t