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As the billionaires take over football clubs, Fifa urges “direct action”

By Tony Attwood

Every month more football clubs are taken over by multi-millionaires, and billionaires.  The reasons why they do it are varied – and later in this series of articles on the ownership of clubs I’ll examine that point. But first I want to examine the way national and international Football Associations are suddenly waking up to the challenge that these take overs pose to their own power-grip on the game.

I’ll do this through one in-depth example: Craig Whyte, Rangers, the Scottish FA and Fifa – a set of links that has not always been examined in the many pages of articles written about the Rangers affair.   But although this article is mostly about Rangers my prime focus is the new challenges that football face, and the ways in which the authorities are moving (albeit very slowly) to overcome them.

To start with the fundamental: there is a Fifa rule that says if ever a government interferes with the running of the national football association, then that association shall be expelled from football.  There’s another that says that if the association goes to court to resolve a matter against another association or Fifa, it is expelled.

The same rules apply for clubs, where obviously the relationship is  with the regional FA and the continental association such as Uefa.   To put it simply, Fifa and Uefa rules put football outside the law.  Disputes are kept in the family.

Fifa and Uefa have not always been successful in this vision – the Bosman ruling was one example where EU law won out, and the insistence of the EU that EU employment laws apply as much to footballers as to car wash attendants (to take an example at random) was another.   But by and large Fifa and Uefa have kept a lid on things, and football matters don’t normally end up in any court except for insolvency and tax matters.

But the Rangers case has thrown all this in the air – and the outcome will have huge impacts for all of football.

Rangers were given a 12-month transfer ban by the Scottish FA as part of their punishment for a range of offences.  Rangers took the matter to court and in the Court of Session in Scotland and a judge said that a Scottish FA panel had no right to impose the punishment it imposed, under the governing body’s rules.   The SFA considered an appeal but rejected it on the grounds that it would have difficulty with Fifa and Uefa rules if it went back to court to re-establish its authority.

So the Rangers case is being heard again by the appeals panel, and one might conjecture that this time around the SFA are going to come up with far more severe sanctions.  It is looking as if in winning a battle, it has sacrificed the war.

Fifa has now told the SFA to take “direct action” against Rangers not over the initial problem of going bust, etc etc etc (which it is doing already, as are the tax authorities) but for ignoring the regulations that prohibit clubs from taking associations to court.

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Meanwhile the SFA are still trying to get the previous Rangers owner to pay the £200,000 fine that the panel gave him – a matter that was not touched by the Court ruling, and this leads to another interesting point.  Part of Rangers’ case is that the present club, and the new owners, when they are found, should not be guilty for the sins of the previous owners.  It is an argument rejected by football associations – for if they accepted it the 10 point penalty for administration (for example) would never be applied.

Which brings us to Craig Whyte, the previous chair of Rangers.  He is reported to be chairman of a complex maze of interlinked firms from around the world which some reports have worth more than £1 billion.  He is resident in Monaco – which is not a member of the European Union, and is a tax haven.  Getting money out of a Monaco resident is, well, difficult – as the SFA are finding as they try to get the £200,000 fine that they have imposed on him, paid.

This makes matters murky not just in Scotland but in all football.  What is the punishment for a club that breaks football rules by taking its association to court?  What is to be done about a foreign based owner who is fined and won’t pay – either to the club or to the owner?  Are the laws and regs worth anything at all as billionaires use football clubs for all sorts of reasons and with all sorts of motives?

And what of the people wanting to buy Rangers?  They know that because of what was potentially the biggest own goal in the history of football (the appeal to the courts over the SFA ruling on not signing players), they could buy Rangers only to find them banished from the League.

The club owes £21million in tax, and there are other issues being considered in relation to the way they have run their affairs.   They could be expelled from the Scottish Cup – but that would be a small price to pay, and Rangers would probably welcome that.  Indeed some Rangers fan groups have said Rangers should boycott the Scottish Cup as a protest against the way the SFA has treated Rangers.

Besides Uefa and Fifa might wonder what the hell was going on if the SFA simply sits back and does little in the face of the court challenge.  As noted, Fifa wants direct action.

What has screwed Rangers is that the SFA accepted Lord Glennie’s proposal in the Court of Sessions (to which Rangers took the case) that the case be referred back to the SFA appeal stage, which in fact means that whatever the SFA comes up with next Rangers have no recourse for appeal.  No recourse apart from further application to the Courts, and Uefa and Fifa are going to get very uppity if that happens.  At the very least Rangers could expect a 10 year ban from the Champions League if they do go to court again.

So difficult is Rangers position that there are some around the club now saying that they should even accept the transfer ban recognising that they have screwed their case.

But if Rangers really are hit hard by the SFA, can the club be sold?   Those wanting to buy still talk about the unfairness of the club being hit for the misdeeds of  Craig Whyte and that suggests they are running out of stories to tell.  Their argument that. “The Judicial Review was not an appeal, rather it was the club exercising its right under Scots Law,” is also an argument that goes nowhere, and again to hear it being repeated, suggests they know they are in a corner.

But here’s another view from those trying to buy Rangers.
“We are fully aware that one of the sanctions available to the Appellate Tribunal should the matter be referred back there is the suspension or termination of Rangers Football Club’s membership of the SFA.   That in our view would be a disaster for Scottish football and a major setback to our plans to take Rangers forward after a particularly difficult period in its history.  Equally, the alternative sanction of expulsion from the Scottish Cup is itself a very serious punishment which would also have a severe impact on Scottish football as well as on our club.”

So the argument here is, “punishing us will harm you more than it will harm us,” an argument that history tells us seldom (if ever) works.

The SFA has its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, June 6, (which in a sense is why I write this article today) and in it, the SFA will remind clubs that “by very dint of their membership of the Scottish FA, they accept and abide by the Articles of Association.”

So, Lord Carloway and the appeals panel can now select one of the four available sanctions.

  • Suspension of Rangers from the SFA for a period of time
  • Expulsion of Rangers from Scottish football for an indefinite period
  • Exclusion from the Scottish Cup for an indefinite period
  • A fine.  (The transfer ban which was ruled out, came with a £100,000 fine because it was felt that that keeping Rangers out of the Scottish Cup was too slight a punishment for the misdeeds committed by Rangers under Craig Whyte.)

Meanwhile  we have yet to get to the use by Rangers of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) – another illegality if proven.  The SPL legal team will now review this and report back on  June 18.The use of EBTs from 2001 to 2010  was what the January tax tribunal was about, and it is this which can result in a £75 million bill, which Rangers could never pay.  If it is true that Rangers did not disclose the payments on the official contracts then they are snookered, and their defence that there was nothing wrong with the EBTs falls since SPL rules specifically outlaw payments not made within the contract supplied to the SPL.  Rangers have already accepted a £2.8million tax debt for another scheme operating from 1999 to 2003.

In this case there is a whole raft of sanctions available, including stripping the club of league titles.

And so, back to my opening point, and this series of articles.   Rangers have had an owner of late who has breached the SFA regulations.  But it is hard to touch him because he lives in Monaco.  Rangers have previous owners who have also (perhaps) broken football law in not revealing contract details, and tax law.  Football Associations will have nothing to do with the notion that clubs cannot be held guilty for the sins of earlier owners – they can, and that rule will not be reversed.

So, maybe it is time to start looking at owners and asking, could they also be leading other clubs into strange of difficult places?  Maybe it is time to say, how far with the leagues, Uefa and Fifa go, in allowing these men to play with clubs?

I’ll continue this theme in part two.

————————————-

46 comments to As the billionaires take over football clubs, Fifa urges “direct action”

  • Scott

    To put it bluntly,what a bloody mess.
    I’ll say it again…..I can’t believe people complain about how Arsenal is run.

  • Bob A

    All you Arsenal moaning supporters, just think yourself lucky you are not a Rangers/Portsmouth supporter, in which case you would have loads to moan about.So just have your say which you have every right to , but dont just whinge about not buying this or that player or AW management. At least you have a club with solid foundations and long may it last, unlike these poor supporters who dont know if they will have a club in the future. It should also be pointed out that Mancity/Chelsea are plaything for the rich but they will eventually get tired or throw their toys out of the pram , then where will their supporters stand then.

  • Mahdain

    totally offtopic but the shit stirres misinformation spreading AST are at it again..this time causing a huge fight among gooners on twitter just because apparently Arteta a vital player in our team has been an improved contract…smh

  • Ugandan Goon

    Thanks for keeping us abreast of the latest in what i hope will be an illustration of and possibly the start of a war against sharp practice in football club management.
    I have some sympathy for the fans because i am told that the fan base is dragooned along sectarian lines and things do get seriously nasty among the old firm, so the disappearance or at least a wimbledon fc style re jigging of the whole thing might just be what the doctor ordered, (i realise i might be spitting feathers if this happened at arsenal), but if this is the price of a few cups, ritual humiliation in the champions league opening stages and bragging rights, fine.
    The fact they have been swindled in turn by Sir David Murray and Monsieur Craig Whyte is indeed unfortunate but like you say, direct action is the key, the club cannot have gotten to this stage without the collusion of a lot of people in scotchland football, who how and when and whats to be done to them are questions any self respecting rangers fan should be looking for full and frank answers to.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @mahdain
    It seems as well as improving arteta’s deal, we might have sold one of the clubs brightest young prospects, all this according to the daily Mawl and le grove so until it is confirmed arsenal.com.

  • Ugandan Goon

    MEH

  • Bob A

    Although that was not the central topic of this piece, it is indeed where I am leading and subsequent articles will indeed look at just where the wrong sort of billionaire can take you.

  • Ugandan Goon

    A significant part of the debate about Rangers is the fact that the Scottish press refused to deal in the subject at all – as I and many others have noted in the past, the press in Scotland took Rangers’ press releases as all that was needed and listened to no one else.

    The English press ignored the issue totally.

    It is similar to the way that the English press now takes the edits of the FA and EPL that all is fine on the issue of referees and won’t examine that.

  • Wooby

    Tony, great first article on this subject to stir discussion.

    The most disturbing aspect is it appears no one, or no entity, can touch Craig Whyte. The SFA can fine him all it wants but if he doesn’t pay, and does not set foot inside Scotland, can they really touch him?

    In the meantime, as you pointed out, the only avenue the SFA has is to punish the Rangers. But the more they do this, the less likely the club will be sold. Further, this really screws with the SPL’s TV contracts because the SPL will now only have one big club (Celtics) and the product’s appeal goes down.

    Would the ultimate outcome be the demise of the Rangers, period? What would happen to the SPL then? And would the Celtics decide to leave the SFA and apply for membership with the FA? It is scary how fast things can change – 18 to 24 months ago, would any have thought that the SPL would ever be without the Rangers?

    @Bob A … amen brother. Thank goodness for AW and his resolve to stick to the sustainability model!

  • Shard

    Tony

    How much did Craig Whyte invest in buying Rangers? Does he continue to be the owner, or has the ownership been taken over by some bank or something?

    Basically, I was thinking, owners can buy football clubs, run them to the ground, and even if on the football side of things the club is punished by relegation/points penalty/dropped from Europe etc.. can’t these owners say, who cares? and just sell the club’s assests such as the real estate, and recover their investment? Or are there any safeguards against such a thing?

  • El Gringo

    @Tony,

    Great article!

    If I were to email you a post I’ve written, where would I send it?

  • Ugandan Goon

    @ Tony,
    You and private eye were the only ones that covered this for a while, until that bbc Scotland piece, which was just watchable (i wonder if that is aunties version of kid gloves, or tough investigative journalism), why so coy?
    I cannot see just who benefits from keeping schtum about this, surely the various media groups cannot all have shares in rangers or be intimidated by sectarian thugs north of the border, surely this benefits all rangers/football supporters?
    this could have been a lovely scoop for the guardian or just about anybody pretending to be socially responsible.
    Lord Leveson clearly has his work cut out sorting real sophisticated corruption in the press and just shit journalism.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Shard,
    as i understand it,the bulk of the takeover was paid by hawking the next three years’ (then) ticket sales income to company ticketus, who then fronted the cash for Monsieur Whyte to clear a debt owing to the HRMC, how much of his actual cash he put up i am still a little unclear on.
    I think he still’owns’ it although i have a feeling he cannot wait to offload and disappear into the ether

  • Notoverthehill

    Well done Tony, the Glasgow Rangers’s mismanagement gores back a long time. Sir David Murray was determined that Glasgow Rangers would outbid, outdo, and finally turn Glasgow Celtic into a Third Lanark case, which is neither here or there!

    Shard, in brief Sir David Murray’s firms were bankrolled by the Bank of Scotland, which was bought over by the Halifax and then saved from liquidation by Lloyds Bank. In all, Lloyds own Sir David Murray’s firms lock, stock and Ibrox Stadium.

    Lloyds wanted the debt owned by Rangers Football Club paid in full and sharpish. Craig Whyte used Ticketus to pay Lloyds about £18 millions. Sir David Murray handed over Rangers FC to Craig Whyte for a £1 coin, full stop!

    The Glasgow Rangers has Duff & Phelps as administrators who were appointed by Craig Whyte. Craig Whyte and Grant Withey as far as I can tell, have made £5 millions profit plus the sale of The Arsenal shares (?).

    This is just a small sample of the financial quagmire that unsuspecting loyal fans have been partly informed of.

    Yhe rangerstaxcase.com is a revelation on how the Scottish Media were given succulent lamb and red wine, by Sir David Murray, with the willing assistance of Walter Smith.

    It will take a generation for Scottish Football to recover from this simply reckless demand for success at any price.

  • robl

    @ Wooby, Mr Whyte can go to Scotland whenever he pleases – the SFA are not the law in Scotland, just effectively a club that won’t let him play with their toys if he does’t pay up. I think they’d even struggle with enforcing a statutory demand through the courts as its not an agreed debt.

    @ Shard, none of his own money – he used future season ticket revenue on a club he didn’t own at that point in time to buy them. The Glaziers are probably looking on in envy. He also separated Ibrox as an asset and I think still owns it for the moment.

  • Lee.

    What a great insight of how the murky dark arts are employed by the people we are supposed to trust run our football clubs but actually behave.
    This Craig Whyte seems to be a particularly nasty example but as you are saying Tony, Who actually knows what is going on @ any given club, remember the days when football was run by fat overbearing local businessmen, but seem @ least to have an interest in the FOOTBALL anyway!!!
    Not sure where your next instalment is going n can’t wait to find out but if I can add one thing to the pot, I don’t think we should be so easy to put all our trust in our current board.
    Seems to me since “The Ars” was sold onto our American owner we are treated more with contempt & news blackouts then from our previous owner “god bless him”…
    My worries are that Silent Stan is a very slick operator not unlike a certain “MR Craig Whyte” perhaps??? Who is only in this for the money @ the end of the day, as we have all seen the yanks in operation @ Liverpool first hand, the only difference between us n Liverpool in my book is we are financially a success. God help us if we don’t make Europe next season!!!

  • nicky

    We Gooners have to be careful when we adopt a NIOBY attitude over these “sugar daddy” owners and the shenanigans they spawn. It would only take one of our two billionaire shareholders to take over control and Arsenal might be well and truly “up the proverbial Swannee”.
    We can only hope for FIFA and UEFA to conjure up adequate safeguards and see them implemented. Yet another example to test the integrity of two of the sport’s main controllers.

  • colario

    I don’t know how this would stand in law but I think it might help the FA have some control over who buys English clubs if they insisted that owners of clubs must live in the UK and pay UK taxes. What do you think Tony?

  • rusty

    Does Rangers have any recourse if they’re kicked out of the SFA? For example, given that there are Welsh teams in the FA (and indeed one in the Premiership)… although I’m sure it wouldn’t go over well in the context of Scottish Football history, could Rangers apply to join the FA?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Really interesting article. Rangers – what a mess for a great club. Our own FA will punish clubs for the sins of previous owners, precedents including Spurs, and especially Luton
    Can only agree with your point Nicky, short term gain, long term pain if you get the wrong owner
    As for Stan, I remain to be convinced how good he will be for the club, especially once the older guard depart but at least he appears to have not track record at all in such shenanigans…but stand to be corrected obviously. He seems a straight up owner operating on a typical North American sports club business model. If so, this may not lead to spectacular trophy binges, but in the light of Rangers, maybe he could be worse.

  • Goona Gal

    Absolutely excellent article Tony, this is the ‘untold’ situation in football at the moment. There are so many issues that if left unchecked, will destroy communities and I am not exaggerating when I say lives will be ruined. A club like Rangers forms a significant part of their supporter’s personal identity. The lack of checks and balances to ensure that these important institutions are not destroyed is astounding. The footballing authorities are failing in their guardianship and it is wrong that just like in the wider economic crisis, it’s the majority that will be left paying for the failings of a few.

    If FIFA objects to national and legal intervention then the benefit of being aligned to and being governed by this institution needs reviewing. How many clubs which have stood for more than a 100yrs need to be destroyed before enough is enough. Strong regulation is needed and I am angry because football feels like it’s being destroyed and due to vested financial interests, no one at the moment with the power to do so will stop it as football goes down the toilet.

  • Goona Gal

    Or maybe it’s the rain and another washed out British bank holiday that’s really irritating me right now. Not sure.

  • Wooby

    @colario, I doubt the FA can implement a requirement that owners live and pay taxes in the UK – without being an expert or having the facts, I would suspect European laws would prevent this (i.e. ownership of a company or an entity in one country while living in another). What may be possible would be limiting the percentage of ownership in any one club.

    @rusty, I think the club that would consider registering with the FA would be Celtics, not the Rangers. If the Rangers are no more, one figure the SPL TV contract money would be dramatically reduced. At that point, from a pure dollars perspective, Celtics may have to look at whether they make more money by being SPL champs and entering the CL qualifying stage (assuming there is a spot for them) vs applying for membership in the FA, then perhaps playing in the Championship to try to gain promotion into BPL and then gaining a share in the BPL TV dollars.

  • Shard

    Ugandan Goon, Notoverthehill and robl

    Thank you for your responses. I think its fair to say, Craig Whyte was a scumbag owner.

    Mandy Dodd
    You are right that Kroenke has a track record of being a decent, long term owner of his sports teams. You are also right to be cautious. I just have this feeling that Kroenke was only brought on board to prevent someone like Usmanov, or other sugar daddy types out. The current board come under much fire, but they (along with the likes of Dein, Edelman, and Lady Nina) deserve credit for their stewardship of the club into a new era. If the likes of Fiszman, PHW, Lady Nina were willing to snub Usmanov’s higher offer and go with Kroenke, I think, for the moment, that is a ringing endorsement. We’ll see how things pan out of course.

  • Shard

    Sorry off topic.. But it seems other football teams named Arsenal are also facing some sort of a ‘grand plan’ against them.

    http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/soccer/artikel.php?ID=241028

  • Matt Clarke

    “Most of the mess that is called history comes about because kings and presidents cannot be satisfied with a nice chicken and a good loaf of bread.”
    ― Jennifer Donnelly, Revolution

  • Mandy Dodd

    agree there Shard, just fear Mr Kronke will soon be made an offer he may find difficult to refuse….and this may work if his critics are correct, ie he is a US moneyman with no interest in the club. Ideally, they would both be working together for the success of the team, but from what we read, but that is never going to happen. Think interesting times lie ahead in the short – medium term. Owners battles should have no affect on the team at least initially, but I think uncertainty has and will continue to breed more caution than would normally be present in the transfer market.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Goona Gal,
    I am not sure the rain helps, but generally the outlook is bleak, there ha to be an explanation as to why nothing has been done or rather if the criticism of what has been done is reported widely enough.

  • Ugandan Goon

    a free press and all that malarkey

  • Lee.

    Ok so Stan is a decent bloke then (oh don’t forget he has to recoup the share’s outlay soon guys) & Usmanov is the devil in disguise???
    I’m personally not convinced with that view because if you look close enough into any wealthy businessman’s passed you find a good few shady practises lurking around with all of them, let’s face it very few a nice people, in fact that’s probably why they got to their position in the first place, even Stan had to marry into money!!!
    For my point of view (& I have NO vested interests here, as I have not signed-up), but Fan ownership or @ least a decent chunk off, is the only solution to this current infestation of billionaire buyouts being the trend. Because they won’t want anything to do with a club they DONT have total say in……

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Matt Clarke,
    The trouble with a certain Monsieur Whyte is that he wasn’t satisfied with being legally relieved of directorships for a few years once, he did return by means foul to the hot seat, it is a pity indeed that the prosecution of financial wrongdoing is a little slack when it comes to certain types in these times of the almighty dollar, it would be hoped that the author of this dark chapter of Scottish football history might find himself at her majesty’s pleasure appreciating a good chicken and a loaf of bread!

  • Shard

    Lee

    Who said Usmanov’s the devil in disguise? Maybe if he wore a fake beard… I kid I kid…
    No Stan Roenke is no decent bloke and that doesn’t matter. We don’t know his plans, but his track record suggests he stays for the long haul. That is no guarantee of course, but as far as I know, he didn’t take over Arsenal through an LBO like the Glazers or Hicks and Gillet at Liverpool.. He was also given a seat at the board by people who’ve worked for Arsenal for a long time. Sure Usmanov had Dein on his side, but Usmanov’s ‘promises’ were to do away with the current stable set up at Arsenal. Kroenke’s made no promises. But seems to be going the established route..again..his track record with his other teams suggests that.

    Why do you say he has to recover the share outlay soon? Why soon? How soon is soon?

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Lee,
    these two have made their (public) positions clear, stan likes what’s going on and wants to keep the club going in it’s present mode while the fat one wants to pump money in to get the top players, devalue the share price to finance this and has some pretty shady pals.
    not being biased or anything!

  • Anne

    @Goona Gal:

    Very well said. I think Tony’s use of the word “family” here to describe FIFA is quite prescient. Keep the business in the family. Killing a football club is nothing personal, it’s “strictly business.”

  • Anne

    On the general subject of ownership issues, one thing we should not forget is that the named owner for a club is not always the real owner. Fronts can be used to shield the true owners from any ownership repercussions whatsoever. This could well be true of a shady character like Whyte at Rangers.

    But a possible example more close to home would be Alisher Usmanov himself. Because personally, I can find no record evidence that Usmanov owns any Arsenal stock at all. The Arsenal stock is owned by Red and White Securities, not Red and White Holdings.

    Red and White Holdings, we are told, is owned by Usmanov and Moshirri, but there’s no way to even verify that because they are incorporated in Jersey, which, as I understand it, is a jurisdiction that allows for secrecy of ownership. Why go to a jurisdiction like that if you don’t have a reason for wanting to keep ownership secret?

    And on top of that, all we know about Red and White Securities (the company that actually owns the Arsenal stock), is that we are told that it is a subsidiary of Red and White Holdings. No direct information has ever been provided about who is on board with that company at all, and of course, it’s all secret.

    Personally, I strongly suspect that Usmanov is merely the front, and not the owner. He would get the prestige and a cut of the money, but do we really know who’s calling the shots behind the scenes?

    One thing I will say about Kroenke is that he appears to have set up his companies in such a way as to clearly link himself to the ownership of his Arsenal stock. Not so with Usmanov.

  • Lee.

    Shard/Ugandan Goon, when I say soon I have no time associated to that statement but the fact is the way he conducts business i.e. using his other business to raise capital to finance new ventures, my “opinion” is that he will soon (now he has control of “The Ars”), have to start the process of recuperation of funds, because is he not on the verge of buying some other sports business in the US presently?
    P.S. I did not say I liked either of these two individuals, in fact as I just said the way forward is FAN Ownweship, as for funding the club’s transfer spending I’d rather see it go that way then funding a US multinational, as I said earlier “The Ars” are in a great financial position that suites where Stan is right now in the world, if he was in Usmanov’s position he would think differently…..

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    football and all Clubs are on the cusp of major changes for the following reasons:

    1) Football Clubs are businesses and some are even Incorporated, therefore they are subject to the same rules and regulations as other types of for-profit businesses…some owners forget this little fact!
    2)The European Union economy is in crisis and, if, as suspected, the Euro goes down the toilet, this will mean a major devaluation of every independent European currency,including the pound sterling. As trade begins to fall, so will many more European economies, including Britain’s. A bad economy means overseas investors (and oliygarchs, Arabs and Asian crime lords) won’t want to keep their money in Europe…a flight of capital from business and Football!
    3)The FFP, while a joke, does imply that EUFA and FIFA are demanding higher payoffs to protect ¨big¨Clubs from the real consequences that would reign them in. If the rules are actually strictly enforced then there is major pain ahead for the sugardaddies and oilygarchs and particularly for the fans.
    4)Wenger has been predicting these changes and more since 2008. Do any of the vociferous AAA and anti-Wenger cretins, morons,idiots,dopes,neanderthals and assorted vermin actually believe that now is the time to start spending BIG? do any of the aforementioned lowlifes believe that AW and the BoD were not aware of the crisis, and have not planned to cushion its impact on the Club? The answer to this rhetorical question is YES, they all are trapped in a Buy-Win at all cost bubble that is about to burst.

    We need to make a new section at the Emirates and call it the Cluck end….since it will be full of chicken-hearted AAA and anti-Wenger retards screaming that AFC are doomed, the sky is falling, all is gloom,doom,lost the plot madness and regardless of whether we go into recievership to finance our superstar purchases, it is worth it since they want a trophy!!!
    We can also add a separate booth, where the creme de la creme of LeGrove losers can buy season tickets, but it will be totally soundproofed and have a special closed circuit TV showing ONLY goals scored against AFC and bad plays from their favourite boo targets. It will have a banner in the background which says ¨Behind every silver lining there is always an AAA cloud¨.

  • Lee.

    Anne,
    Thanks for the heads-up on the Red and White Securities co, I’ll keep that in mind .
    Yes that seems a little strange on the face of it but the fact the co is in Jersey could just be for tax reasons, again a normal businessman’s aversion to parting with money.

  • Shard

    Lee

    As far as I know, Kroenke is not on the verge of buying any other sports team.. his bid for the LA Dodgers (baseball team) was unsuccesful.. In any case, any time he’s bid for a new sports team, he hasn’t divested any stock from his existing ones. I don’t see how you can predict he will sell up. He MIGHT..but his track record suggests otherwise. I think he intends to stay with Arsenal for a good few years. And you can bet he, along with people like John Henry, will be pushing UEFA for applying FFP (with limited success I should think) and pushing the EPL to allow clubs to sell their own broadband rights. The first shares Kroenke bought were in Arsenal’s online business. That is the future, and I think it provides the scope for a big enough boost to tempt Kroenke to stay.

  • Lee.

    Shard,
    Did I give the impression I thought he would sell-up, well no I don’t believe that @ the moment, (unless of course he gets an offer he can’t refuse).
    Cos as I said our club is & will be a very affective cash cow for many years to come. So this defiantly works well with HIS business model, the better his Co’s credit rating the more money he can borrow against it to expand his own empire, if you can find a bank that lends money today that is?

  • Goona Gal

    @ Ugandan Goon – the forcast does look bleak. Storms on the horizon can still be averted though. I had been hoping to hear more about the research that was rumoured to be going on into some sort of licensing system that would help act as a safe guard, but it all seems to of gone quiet.

    @ Anne, the funny thing is, I don’t have anything against the business of sport and football clubs being profitable. It’s the selfish and wreckless custodians which are transforming the game right now that are the problem.

    You make an interesting point about Usmanov’s Red and White holdings being registered to the tax haven Jersey. The more I learn about the two shareholders, the more I lean towards Kroenke.

    @ Domhuaille – great comment.

  • Jacobite Gunner

    @Ugandan Goon,

    I come in peace and with education 🙂

    -It is spelt Scotland not Scotchland

  • Jacobite Gunner

    @Ugandan Gooner/Shard.

    Rangers/D Murray were forced to sell Rangers to an acceptable offer by Lloyd’s Bank, not HMRC. Whyte bought rangers for £1 but had to pay £18 million to Lloyds bank to pay off loans, Whyte had got this 24 mill from Tiketus and had actually used 18 mill from the 24 mill he got to pay off Lloyds-everyone thought it was Whyte who paid off the Lloyds bank loan with his own money (LOL, the cartoon looking character/Grinch lookalike fouled us all) but in fact, all he did was guarantee the rangers debts (pre HMRC decision) to the bank.

    such a mess, in fact a disgrace. Rangers need to be punished as a club because if they pawn it off as “oh, it wasn’t us, it was Whyte” rubbish then it sets a precedent to other clubs not just in the SPL but in the EPL and Europe. This is coming from a Hearts supporter who would not be surprised if Romanov and hearts followed suit (we hve 25 mill in debts) if rangers get away with entering into a CVA coming away with nominal debts and limited sanctions.

  • Jacobite Gunner

    @Anne, 9.10,

    A poignant and potentially a foreboding point about Usmanov. Let’s hope there is never a reason to find out.

  • Johan

    I find it funny that Usmanov is evil when Kroenke’s wifes family sells cheap junk made by slave labour in Asia to poor people in the US and makes billions out of it.

  • Rhyle

    Johan…there’s a great book called The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs (foreword by Bono…) which defines sweatshops, exploitative as they are, as the first rung on the ladder out of extreme poverty.

    I’m by no means justifying the use of them – but they do have their place in the evolution of an economy. The UK, of course, had the workhouses…

    Comparing a business practice which leaves a bad taste in the mouth to some of AU’s more…interesting…alleged methods? Different league. Allegedly. I don’t his lawyers jumping all over me…lol..!