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July 2021

Uefa squares up to Man C, Chelsea, PSG and the Russians. Now we wait…


The club that changed football

By Tony Attwood

You wouldn’t know it from the behaviour of the last couple of days, but there is a new rule in football.  A new rule that says that clubs must not lose more than €45m between 2011 to 2013 (which is about £46m at current exchange rates).   So when Chelsea toddle off and spend around £80m in one transfer window on Hazard, Oscar, Marin, Azpilicueta and Moses you know that someone is not taking the matter seriously.

Man C were much the same buying Rodwell, Richard Wright (remember him?), Maicon, Sinclair.  Did they buy Javi García as well?  I lost track in the end.
Interestingly both clubs are saying that they are supporting the new financial arrangements, but clearly they are not, any more than is PSG (having bought Ibrahimovic, Silva, Moura and Lavezziis) are looking set to obey the rules.
And rather interestingly the big expenditure this season by Man U on Van Persie, Kagawa and Buttner now makes it look like they might be making enough loss (given the way the Glazers rape the club of money each year) not to fit in with the FFP plans.   Man U may of course have pulled off a coup by issuing worthless shares in New York and getting people to pay for them, but it is highly unlikely that such a trick will work a second time.

So where does Uefa stand in the face of this total rejection of the financial regulations?  None of us really knows, although Platini said just yesterday of his FFP plans , “We wanted to revolutionise European football when we first introduced this idea.  We are never going back on this.”

One interesting point is that Man City actually claim that they are not spending too much, since they are “sponsored” by their owners.  Chelsea claim that they are ok because their owner actually lobbied Uefa to set up the new regs.  Neither argument is holding any water at all; both clubs will fail to meet the FFP regs next year, unless they have a wholesale fire sale, and as Man C found in trying to do some Pest Control and get rid of Adebayor, it is not that easy to move pesky players on.

In all the debates on TV yesterday, as the transfer window ended, no one incidentally was talking much of Málaga, Rangers and Portsmouth, except Platini.   But what he said was worth hearing, for in talking of such clubs Platini said financial disaster can follow massive spending in any club.

” I’ve spoken to Manchester City’s owners in Abu Dhabi, and everybody has given their commitment to this plan. Some aren’t necessarily showing it, but we have been very clear with them. We have put the structure in place to implement these rules. If clubs do not respect the rules, they will get into difficulty, whether they are from France, from Italy, from England, from Georgia …”

So will Uefa really deal with the big boys?  One new rule (the overdue payment rule) is already in place and AEK Athens and Besiktas are already banned.  Portsmouth were banned after winning the FA Cup, and Rangers are banned too.  27 other clubs are under investigation and also look like being banned.   Real Madrid and Barcelona have both fallen foul of this in the past, although before there were banning orders associated with failing to pay football debts on time.

Platini’s speech and the record so far of dealing with clubs does indeed suggest that he is not willing to be seen as a man who will back off when faced by the might of the Billionaire Clubs, in Russia, along with Man City, Chelsea, PSG, and now perhaps Man U.

What seems to have happened is that it does look as if the Billionaire clubs really were banking on the fact that either they could set up a youth system to rival Arsenal very quickly (turns out they can’t) or by being able to make one big splash to bring in a top team, and then settle down to profit (again in the Arsenal style).
But just as the instant youth system failed, most notably at Chelsea, so did the settling down.   Chelsea and Man City got their trophies last season, but they neither felt secure that they could repeat job – hence the mega spending this summer.
So they may have been relying on a third strategy of having half a dozen Billionaire Clubs all breaking the rules, believing that this would force Uefa to blink first.  Platini is saying, no, we won’t blink.
Thus there will warnings and reprimands followed by points deductions, all before the ejections, and slowly the screw will tighten.  During that process it seems that they will be looking at each other to see who does pull out first.
The one thing Platini can’t allow to happen is for Man City, Chelsea, PSG and the Russians to form their own group playing in their own Euro league.  For a while it was thought that maybe those clubs could go it alone, because they would be joined by Barca, Real Mad, AC Milan, Inter and Juve now it seems less likely.  Real Mad is regularly in profit, Barca is desperately trying to get its debt down, the Milan clubs are in real financial difficulties and Juventus are once again tied up in scandal (although to be fair not of their own making, despite the fact that their manager is now banned).
I genuinely believe no one quite knows where this is going.  What I do know is that such complex debate is not popular and that the media are much happier with the simplistic sound bites that AST give regularly about Arsenal falling behind, not spending enough etc etc.
The model developed by Chelsea and copied by other clubs is not sustainable, because if the owner is arrested or shot, or if he loses his money, or just loses interest (as with Malaga) or indeed if the money runs out, or if some wrong doing is found (as in the Rangers and approach) then the whole club crashes to the ground.
But the billionaire model could win through if Uefa doesn’t act strongly.  Then we would see clubs rising and falling, week by week, month by month.  What, for example, would happen if there were a coup in a country that owned a club (as is the case with PSG?)
Interesting times.


66 comments to Uefa squares up to Man C, Chelsea, PSG and the Russians. Now we wait…

  • Silenstan

    €45m is about £36m i think

  • zimsafari

    well written. Lets hope UEFA do something and dont wet their pants in the process

  • geoff1

    your only pissed off because Arsenal didn’t buy anyone.

  • Sir Cecil

    Chelsea WON over 50M for their Champions League victory last season. That pays for almost two-thirds of their entire spending in this window. They also make money for winning FA Cups, and Premiership titles, unlike Arsenal, who have won nothing for years. And when they did, they decided to spend it all on a stadium rather than players. They chose to do that, so they can’t whine afterwards. Arsenal supporters should be happy to have a bigger stadium rather than trophies and better players – but they should close their mouths when other clubs spend their money the way THEY choose. That would be “Fair Play”, but writers of rubbish like the article above know nothing of such things. It’s no different to Crystal Palace crying over Arsenal having more money and better players – but that doesn’t matter to Arsenal fans… the “Fair Play” they call for is simply for their own benefit, not those who are far less affluent than them. Hypocritical vermin.

  • paul

    I think FFP will be declared illegal by the European courts!

  • Nakew

    Good Morning,

    Can we discuss on arsenal instead of UEFA, FIFA, Reach Teams …(Why externalize the problem?)

    I was optimistic at the start of the summer. Now i am disappointed. Is the boss a liar (serial liar as it appears to me). Please correct me if i am wrong. False hope, pretending, etc.

    But, I still stand behind the team. I will do what i can (Pray) that a miracle happens for this team to win at least two trophies this season.

    Good Luck For All Gunners!!!

  • Sybil is Underrated

    Iam not miffed that Arsenal failed to match these billionaire clubs – I do not want us to spend money we haven’t earned. I am miffed because we haven’t spent the money we have earned.

  • Kevin

    Typical response from Geoff1 – if Platini gets his way and FFA is implemented as designed, the last laugh won’t be with you, you mug!

  • geoff1

    Nakew. you’ll need a big mat mate

  • what biased nonsense-first of all the people that run the clubs know what they are doing and secondly if UEFA go ahead and do ban teams they will be breaking Euro laws and could thmeselves be held liable for any losses suffered by the clubs if they are banned. The clubs know the legal implcations thats why a growing number of clubs are still and also just started spending big time

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    One thing is for certain with FFP, if there is one rule for City or PSG and another for Barca, Platini will have a war on his hands.
    I’m predicting that loss making clubs will get fined by UEFA, or have their appearance/prize money cut. That might hurt Barca but it keeps the sponsors on board, whereas kicking them out of the competition or docking them points in the group stage could cause UEFA real financial problems.

  • Matthew

    Whenever there’s large amounts of money, there’s always rule bending and under-the-table ways of dealing with certain situations.

    For example, Roman Abramovich just won his court case (which involved dealings around the three BILLION mark). I think he, Man City, PSG and other wealthy owners could find a few ways around a few million pounds worth of transfer fees.

    Also, rather than just ‘take in’ what the media in this country writes about Chelsea and Man City, big teams all over europe are in some sort of financial trouble so it would be difficult (but not impossible) to impose a ban or exclusion on maybe ten ‘big’ clubs.

  • Exo

    So Arsenal are banking on Uefa standing their ground. Platini will fold faster than superman on washing day. We’re a joke owned by a man created by Jim Henson. I know your a big Arsene fan but to be honest anything less than 4th or spurs finishing above us and he’s gone


  • wambam

    I’m looking forward to 3 years time. Nakew – things go in cycles, think yourself lucky you aren’t a Crystal Palace fan. We have a very good team, we are in a league with 4 teams who cheat with financial doping. They will rise and fall. We will remain balanced.

  • Philbet

    Morning Geoff1 I was wondering how many of the 800,000 views last month were inspired by the fact that trolls like you populated the reply section, You contribute so much.

  • Randy

    Would you like to get a job at company which is run like Chelsea and Man City? It would scare the hell out me. Depending on the owner of the company to pay my salary as the company is losing millions every year. What happens when the owner goes bankrupt, dies suddenly or decides he is tired of throwing money away? I would lose my job and my family would be in trouble. Is this what you want to subject your team to? FFP is trying to stop this from happening. There are a few teams who want to win at all cost. They throw away massive amounts of money just to win. They inflate players salaries to attract the top players and soon other clubs start paying top salaries too because they don’t want to be left behind. Suddenly these clubs realize that they can’t afford to lose money every year because they don’t have infinate source of capital. It becomes difficult to get off this merry go round as the clubs have long term players salaries to pay. This could easily cripple clubs(Portsmith, Rangers, Leeds United,) and the only way out is to sell players at discounts which will send the club into a tailspin.

  • geoff1

    the true test of FFP will it hold up in a court of law, of course it wont. But mow PSG are splashing their money about Platini will soon back off.

  • alfie

    No offense, but it doesn’t inspire confidence when you put a major error in the second line. £45m is about €57m

  • alfie

    and €45m is about £35m

  • logsee

    I have to say, it is disgusting what Arsenal are doing! They are conning us season after season! They are not keeping up with the premiership leaders and it will mean that we are firmly cemented in the position of trying to challenge for fourth only place!!!

    Forget about the “new rules” that means nothing at all, and the reason why it is meaningless is because no rule will be introduced to put the big spending influential clubs out of business. That just will not happen!!!!!!!!!!!
    When there are changes that creates a level playing field in terms of what can be spent on new players, by that time we will be firmly in our place! Which is trying to hang on to the coat tales of those who invested wisely in new players while there was still time to do so.
    Disgusting Board!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We have to send out a cry for Usmanov to come and rescue the club from these greedy incompetents who are running it at the moment!!

  • alfie

    Otherwise, a top top post!

  • FFP is a complete waste of time and effort. There is no way that any big club will be banned from the CL, or recieve any other punishment. The most we will get are words of warning – empty words.

    Anyone who thinks that UEFA are immune to the influence of the money train is deluded.

  • geoff1

    look as an outsider looking in I just don’t understand Arsenals philosophy ,they got everything going for them ,large fan base ,great stadium ,rich owners. It must be totally frustrating and I just don.t get it.

  • Zinc

    Unless I’m mising something 45 million Euros does not equate to £46 million at all. It’s much closer to £35 million.

    Also, I’m fairly confident that Manchester City will manage to comple with FFP – just wait and see.

  • Doublegooner

    Philbet & Randy

    You should go into partnership !

  • Doublegooner


    Spot on, but it’ll fall on mostly deaf ears.

  • I am always interested in the way correspondents write in and tell me that I am writing something to make some hidden point, or for some hidden reason (such as I am only write this because…)

    And yet if I ever venture into anything that suggests two or more people have got together and planned something I am accused of being a conspiracy theorist.

    Which I suppose makes me a secretly plotting delusional writer.

    OK, that could be right – who am I to say, as maybe I am not reading my own thoughts correctly and our correspondents have a direct line into my head and so know me far better than I know myself. Could be.

    But what puzzles me still is why people continue to write my work when I am so delusional.

    From my perspective I thought the behaviour of PSG, Chelsea, Man U, Man C and the Russian Billionaire Clubs was interesting in the light of Platini’s speech in Monaco. Could it possibly be that those who seek to judge my motives and brain processes are themselves just a fraction off key?

    But of course I do make mistakes – I sit at my desk, occasionally watching the trees blow in the wind – and mistype, as with the conversion from Euros to Pounds. Sadly, the proof reader and editor who oversee my work that gets into book form don’t look at my blogs, so slip ups happen. Sorry, but it happens.

  • Mick

    Your use of multiple exclamation marks certainly goes a long way to strengthen your argument and convert us to your way of thinking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    A suggestion for your next comment.

  • May I make one other point…

    I have not presented huge amounts of evidence in my post I know, but there are a few bits and pieces in there to back up the analysis I was trying to make, such as Platini’s speech in Monaco, the number of clubs banned and being investigated, and so on.

    But it seems to me that generally those who respond arguing that Uefa will not make the FFP stick, are just making that point, not really giving evidence.

    Is there any evidence that Uefa will do nothing much?

  • Doublegooner


    You taking the Mick ? ‘!!!!!!!!!!!!!’

  • Fines will not suffice, as these clubs can afford anything up to 25Million without sweating. It is sanctions on transfers, points deductions or even expulsion that will do the job but, will UEFA have a Champions League without Barcelona or Real Madrid? Never in the history of football will that happen therefore, FFP is a great idea with no substance, just like Arsenal Football Club at current.

  • Norwegian Gooner


    To your information FFP can not be overruled by any european court.
    A team dont qualify for Champions League. It qualifies to get invited.

  • where have all the stars gone?

    Tony, I understand your frustration, but to write an article on a subject when you have a very limited knowledge of how it works is not something that is advisable. You fail to realise teams can choose to spread signing fees over the contract term or write off as much as they want in a single year. So to keep it simple a player signed on a five year contract who costs 30 million can cost 6 mill a year plus salary. You as a club will be fine because you sell your best players every year. The Fair Play model has more floors in it than Platini and Batter combined, but thats what you get when you have a crook and an egotistical French imbecile in charge.

  • zdzis

    @Sir Cecil
    Chelsea reportedly spent about £85m. How does the £40m from CL cover 2/3 of that sum? Are you their accountant?

    FFP looks mightily like wishful thinking today. Last year, EPL clubs spent below £350m on transfers, this year it’s almost £550m. The only explanation for this policy is that the big clubs DO believe the rules can be abolishe, or at least circumvented. But not by winning enough prizes. As far as I know, prize money is also divided between the clubs that win and those that come close to winning, so it’s not like we don’t earn by being 3rd or dropping out at 1/8 final. They clearly ARE spending above their means, and the panic shopping that happened this summer might be a kind of a last-gasp policy.

    What did Arsenal do about that? Well, Arsenal spent about £40m and earned about £50m. We spent within our means, and even with a profit. A conservative policy, to be sure, but one clearly rooted in reality. We sold our best striker and replaced him with two top European strikers. We sold a DM we really didn’t need anymore (Arteta works much better in this role) and bought a playmaker that was lacking last season.

    So, when I see people whinging that we didn’t buy ANYONE, that Wenger LIED, that the board are DELUDED – I reach for the gun. These are assessment clearly made by impassioned people, but people who know next to NOTHING about how Arsenal squad looks like now, what options Wenger has, how strong the team is, etc. They just whinge because they can.

    We have, for the first time in a longer while, a solid and reliable defence – and we have a strong, creative midfield – and we have a number of forwards who, believe me, will score. Those who claim that we can’t compete with the likes of Chelsea should perhaps be reminded that this Chelsea some of you seem to look up to has just taken a solid beating at the hands of a middleweight Spanish team. Their supposedly reliable defence has let in 4 goals, and their creative, unstopabble attack scored just once, or actually didn’t score at all (Cahill isn’t a striker).

    So, let’s keep in mind that this isn’t a competition of “who’ll spend more” but of “who’ll get the prize.” Perhaps we won’t win this one, either, but the fact is we ARE stronger than before, and our rivals have hardly advanced since last season.

  • Matthew


    If UEFA are to impose a warning or a fine, that will not stop any club from spending large sums of money. Expulsion from a competition is surely the only way of letting the ‘sugar daddy’ owners know who is boss, right?

    Let us forget England for a minute and take a look at the top Spanish clubs. These figures can be found at a few reputable places – Barcelona (£364,000,000 DEBT), Real Madrid (£170,000,000 DEBT), Atletico Madrid (£128,000,000 DEBT). That is without even mentioning the combined debt of £138,000,000 from the likes of Valencia, Real Betis and Malaga.

    Question – Can you see UEFA throwing these clubs out of the big european competitions? Along with Chelsea, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain etc. I do not see that happening any time soon.

  • I think its a very interesting article you’ve written and very appropriate in a time when money is short for everyone save a very small percentage of the population. Talks of Arsenal board taking money from the club don’t seem to add up, surely the accounts published would make this completely apparent? Much as the Manure owners acts of taking loans from the club sparked an uproar.

    I was also under the impression that clubs signed up to Platini’s ruling, so I can’t see anyone being able to fight it. Especially as it all makes perfect sense. It’s all in an effort to get clubs of all levels to operate at a sustainable level. Bad credit management by clubs, banks and the billionaires boys club has led to a problem where players are paid far too much. The issue now is reversing that process and I don’t think there’s a quick answer that everyone will sign up to, but that the graduated process that Platini is trying to impliment is correct. Only those flying high and ignoring the published accounts will attempt to ignore it and call it madness.

  • colario

    Tony you have nothing to apologise for. Your post is well written and your argument well thought out and expressed and I thank you for it.
    Will Uefa make FFP stick? Will the billionaire clubs observe it? Will they ignore it and if challenged go to court? Will the FFP hold up in court? I would hope the Uefa lawyers are confident that FFP will hold if challenged at law.

    Will we get a better standard of refereeing this season in the EPL?

    Will the day come when fans everywhere will be grateful for ‘Untold Arsenal’s’ campaign for a better standard of refereeing not just in the Premier league but in every league? I hope so. Thanks for the hard work and time you give to this. You are true Arsenal supporters and football fans.

  • ARSENAL 13

    every time we raise a topic on FFP, there are people pointing finger at ARSENAL for doing the business the right way and come up with those 4th place finish ambitions and other shits.

    I dont understand, why is it wrong to aim for a top 4 finish in the league of 20 teams????…….

  • ARSENAL 13

    and if the billionaire clubs break away and form their own league, will they get the approval of FIFA???…

  • AnoyherFan

    I don’t think RM would be in the same category as the oilyarch clubs as their spending is generated from their own income. There is no sugar daddy there.

  • Redrich


    Stop the hysteria where the TW is concerned. Arsenal Sold two first teamers this season, VP and Song. They have bought two strikers to replace VP and a midfielder to take songs spot. Do you really think Arsenal didn’t realise these players were going before the media got wind of it. No. We have Wilshere to come back, and Diaby looks fitter than he has for a few years.
    We’re in very good shape guys. I see us challenging this year if we can gel quickly.

  • ChrisN

    The thing I find more puzzling is how the inland revenue still allows football clubs to be persistent loss-making enterprises. FFP is all well and good, but UEFA has nowhere near as much clout in this respects as the IR. A persistent loss making company is basically a tax evasion scheme.

  • Gooner S

    @ Geoff 1

    You don’t get it! Ok ……………

    Clubs should only spend what they can afford to (as a business). If they don’t they run the risk of going bust. Rangers are an example of this. Get it now?

    Arsenal are seemingly setting themselves budgets and sticking to them. It’s quite a simple premis. I bet you do it too! Could they borrow more money? Perhaps! Could a sugar dady come in and throw millions at the club? Perhaps! Could Arsenal have bent over and let Real Madrid shaft them with the Sahin deal? Of course they could but they didn’t.

    That isn’t the point of the article. The point is what happens when these things go wrong.

    Uefa has a duty of care as does the FA. Otehrwise what is the point in those organisations? Setting up rules around financial conduct is no different to other business sectors doing this. It’s called self-regulation. This can be done within European law. It doesn’t always work but again isn’t that the point of an article such as this to stimulate that debate? It also doesn’t make it wrong!

  • Elvis Senthil

    I iz wantz MOAR TROPHIEZ !!!!!

    I supportz The Arsenal for last 445 years , I pay for ticket hence I know watz best ….
    Arsenal is poor mangement , bad players and Manager haz no clasz .

    I won’t buy the season ticket this time ! Now what will you do !Ha – In your Face :P!!!

  • ClockEndRider

    Sir Cecil,
    You state that:
    “Chelsea WON over 50M for their Champions League victory last season. That pays for almost two-thirds of their entire spending in this window. ”
    But this disregards to annual loss they make of around 70 m a year. So winning the CL does create more revenue. But doesn’t offset the fact that they run a t an annual loss. Oh, and it doesn’t take into account that many players contracts may well have financial incentives linked to pot winning. One such example is Barcelona where they only make significant money when they don’t win cups. Feel free to do the research on this.
    A couple of small points. But ones which totally undermine your argument. Thanks for coming though.

  • ClockEndRider

    Sorry, but no parlons Chav. Please come back when you have learnt to read and write in English.

  • Sav from Australia

    Another thought provoking article Tony, I thank you. I caught a bit of the Champions League draw on ESPN and they mentioned FFP – I got a bit of a chill – maybe the tone was in my imagination, but surely there is politics going on behind the scenes. I agree with you (and hope) that Platini does not seem the type to back down.

    FFP benefits the established clubs (Man Utd, Real Madrid, AC Milan – what do they call themselves, the G20?). I cannot see why their owners would want to join forces in a new competition with owners from the Gulf and Russian petrocriminals – who seemingly have an endless supply of cash with which to flood the market. And even if the richest clubs wanted a so-called ‘Superleague’ – is it legal?

    Incidentally, I was just reading ACLF’s daily column and the trolls are on there as well. I am wondering if these trolls – who let’s be honest are probably only two or three people in reality – are organised to deliver their attacks in a specific manner.

  • mark

    sir cecil
    point is that there should be some kind of financial fairplay in sport, and especially in football. how is it good for sport that a billionare can buy a club and all the best players in the world. do you consider that fair?
    i coudlnt care less how a club spends their money, the problem is the scale of that money, relative to other clubs and the competition. winning trophies in sport is no longer a thing of pride and sacrifice when clubs can just buy trophies, as manchester city has done in a matter of seasons. its comparable to cyclists doping. these billionare-owned clubs are effectively doping cheats.

  • Sammy The Snake

    The blog that changed Arsenal… Thanks, Tony.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Billionair owners are parts of the world were rules are broken for them. They are smart people, they must be smart if they amassed all that fortune. They WILL find ways to go around FFP.

    ManC will get Etihad to sponsor the picture frames for 50mil a year… PSG will get Qatar Oil Co to sponsor the bottom of their players’ boots… They’ll do whatever necessary to show enough (fake) income to comply with FFP.

    On another note, I really don’t get fans. Last year they were unhappy at rush signings on the last day of the transfer window. This year AW did his business early, now they complain there was no deal on the last day!

  • Stuart

    There is two types of football fan. There are those who take an educated /informed opinion and there’s :-

    Geoff1 September 1, 2012 at 10:19 am your only pissed off because Arsenal didn’t buy anyone.

  • Dino Abby

    I can understand Untold’s frustration with those responses that oppose his points because all these responses didn’t provide facts & evidences to justify their arguments or to make this debate more intelligent. To me, the objective of the FFP is simply to create a certain form of guidelines or regulations to ensure the long term sustainability of the sport (football) itself.

    Frankly, any industry that is allowed to exist without being regulated is doomed to succumb to manipulation and ended with the systemic collapse of the industry per se. Thus, some kind of FFP is definitely needed, whatever the empirical parameters that may ultimately be used.

    Coming to Arsenal, sometimes the words used in various comments whether in support or against the present practice, are so strong that they exaggerate the points or the arguments. If we had remain moderate in our utilisation of the words in our arguments, we could perhaps be nearer to the point of agreeing to disagree. My concerns on Arsenal are based on a few points. We have heard Arsene saying many times before that he always search for quality buys and he claimed that that practice do not necessarily means that the players must be expensive in order to be excellent. However, my fear on the present practice by the Club is that ‘ they are searching for cheap (affordable) players while hoping that those cheap players are actually quality buys.’ Because of this practice, we are seeing certain good buys as well as some flops. No names need to be mentioned here. And he’ll spend just enough to make me screaming out ‘pleasssse buy additional one or two more for assurance and depth (in certain positions)..’ But that’s Wenger for you..or that’s the Board for you..whichever way you chose to look at it, that’s life for you!! Anyway, now that the transfer window is officially closed, let’s close rank and let’s give our full support to our beloved club. Go Gunners!!!

  • Limpar's Wand

    I’ve heard alot of people brazenly claim that the FFP system will not survive legal challenge, be that in domestic law or European Law. It would be great if someone explained that – I don’t think it’s quite as simple as it’s made out to be!

    What is certain is that many lawyers will assure clubs who are failing to meet the requirements that a legal challenge can be sustained, simply because it is in their interests to do so. Whether they are right or not remains to be seen. Things like these are such soap operas that it will probably take the legal system decades to resolve it, at enormous expense.

    This aside (and I’m hardly surprised that football journalists/writers run screaming from the idea of discussing the legal side of this), I do not necessarily buy the curiously righteous arguments about FFP. There is nothing ethically wrong with investing money in a football club. It promotes competition, certainly. It allows fans to dream – without it you wouldn’t have a club like fulham, or a club like chelsea which, despite its meagre heritage, just won the European Cup. This is romance. This is why the PL is so marketable and profitable compared to Spain.

    It is hardly surprising that Arsenal employees want FFP to succeed, but only because it stands to benefit Arsenal at other clubs’ expense. We will be the bullies, not the bullied (all the transfer shenanigans we so loudly cry about are the same ones we are guilty of when dealing with smaller clubs.)

    I don’t buy Arsenal’s line on this; it smacks of the most sickening hypocrisy. You hear a manager bemoaning the financial effects of these wealthy football clubs, using words like ‘doping’ or ‘cheating’, acting like the principled socialist. Yet he is worth what 70-80m as a direct result of all this. ANd the club profits hugely from the PL machine.

    I am an Arsenal fan, but I’m not a hypocrite.

  • Stuart

    Matthew, re 12.19

    FFP only takes into account if the club are operating a certain way now and very recently,it has nothing to do with huge historic debt. It also depends what the debt is for.

    Zdis, spot on.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Limpars wand,
    Great comment but I think you’ve overlooked the loopholes built into FFP. Stadium debt, training ground development and a youth programme are all EXCLUDED without limits. If some billionaire wants to come along and pump a ton of money into a club, he can but in a sustainable and long term way. There’s a club in Germany where exactly this has happened, they play in a huge empty stadium because the owner poured cash into growing his own big club. Marcus Liebherr at Southampton was engaged in basically the same thing before his untimely death.

  • MK

    Off topic.. but how on earth was that not called a penalty for Norwich..

    It was the most blatant shirt tug in the box you could ever see, yet somehow the ref didn’t see it?? boggles the mind.

    Should be instant demotion for all officials missing something that obvious.

  • Cameron Wolfe

    @ Tony,
    Well I thought it was an interesting article.
    I like when you write about topics outside of Arsenal. Shows that we’re not obsessed with just our team. We are in a league of twenty but competeing in Europe means we have to know what’s happening there too. It’s important.
    For anyone who thinks some teams are too big. Just ask a Rangers fan if on hindsight they would have preferred the SPL to have stepped sooner and stopped what happened to their beloved club.
    How many fans would follow Chelsea,Man.U or City if they were punted into the Conference?
    Arsenal seems to get vilified for trying to make sure the club has a long term stable financial future. I’ve followed Asrenal for Twenty three years now. I’d like them to still be in the top flight for the next twenty three.
    This summer we’ve brought in what I think are good players that will get even better playing for Arsenal.
    Much prefer that than the let’s buy the most expensive players because we can.
    Berbatov just got sold for 4m. He cost Man.U 30m plus wages that’s 110,000 per week. Total 58m.
    At least when we sell Asrenal try and recoup some of the money they’ve spent. Not lose 54m. On one player.
    No wonder the others keep on loosing money. Adebayor, Anelka etc etc etc.
    I know who I’d rather have running my club.

    @ logsee
    “Mr Usamov come save my club?”

    NO THANKS. He’d just burden it with debt
    The Guardian wrote in an article this summer ” the billion dollar trophy” that’s exactly what it cost Man. city to win a trophy.
    Gooner for life.

  • Norwegian Gooner

    From Wikipedia:

    European Union support for FFP

    On 20 March 2012 it was announced that UEFA and the European Commission had signed a joint agreement intended to prevent clubs using the EU legal system to challenge the validity of FFP, for example by claiming that it conflicted with anti-competition legislation.[147] This was an important step because for clubs in countries which are part of the EU, the European Court is the highest authority (above even a nation’s own supreme court) and the ultimate channel by which FFP might be challenged legally.

    The European Union – who acknowledged the unique “specificity of sport” in the Treaty of Lisbon – policy on sport stated “good governance in sport is a condition for the autonomy and self-regulation of sport organisations”.[148] The vice-president of the EC and the Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia confirmed that the existing FFP rules were both valid and in accordance with European legislation, saying; “I fully support the objectives of UEFA’s FFP rules as I believe it is essential for football clubs to have a solid financial foundation.”

    UEFA president Michel Platini said: “Our statement confirms that UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations are fully consistent with EU State aid policy. The rules will protect the interests of individual clubs and players as well as football in Europe as a whole”

    UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said: “Let us be clear, this is not a new law … if anyone was thinking of filing some sort of complaint saying FFP somehow restricts European competition law they would have to file it to the Commission. This is a big milestone in the enforcement of the break-even principle”[149]

  • Andrew Chua


    Worthless shares?

    You may want to send George Soros an email on his 2% stake

  • Norwegian Gooner, I am much obliged. I went to a game this afternoon so didn’t get round to posting anything further on this topic, but that was certainly the bit that needed posting.

  • Fishpie

    Tony and Norwegian Gooner,

    Am I right in thinking that Arsenal have (up to) £50m that they could spend on players (on fee and salaries) without putting themselves in debt and without breaking the FFP rules? Furthermore am I right in thinking that Arsenal don’t spend this money however because if they fail to qualify for the CL, that money (or a good chunk of it) will be needed to compensate for the drop in income during the following season? Which of course therefore will prevent them from going into debt at the wrong time.

  • Norwegian Gooner

    Fishpie. I have no idea of how much monney Arsenal have avaliable for players, but based on comments from the club, we will have no financial worries If we dont qualify for CL for one season. But it would of course be hard to get back in, specially If we dont have the monney or dont spend them carefully, just take a look at Liverpool.

    When I see a typical fan screaming for Wengers head or the board to go, what I see is just a frustrated fan shooting from the hip. I have been there, but mostly because of his extreeme patience with some players I saw absolutly nothing in. Senderos and Almunia. I think Wenger has and still is changing a lot for the better and that we should be very happy to have a professor in economy as our manager while FFP is implemented.

  • Limpar's Wand

    @ Norwegian Gooner 5.44

    Great, thanks, I hadn’t been following the politics. Whilst it is reassuring, it is certainly not conclusive. It will be challengeable, and the ultimate decision will, as you say, rest with the ECJ. Thankfully the noble intentions of the policy makers you quoted are subjuect to judicial scrutiny! If ever punitive measures are taken by UEFA under these regulations, you can bet there will be a long and arduous legal battle, and one of the arguments submitted will address the legality of these provisions.

    @ Woolwich Peripatetic

    I’ve heard these questions of interpretation being addressed by UEFA and I seem to remember them claiming they have a large amount of discretion and flexibility when it comes to dubious attempts to circumvent the regulations. Things like examining the deals to see how they compare to the market. Again, I’m not sure how much of a problem it will be for UEFA to deal with such ‘loopholes’, but they seemed pretty confident from what I remember.

  • Persian gunner

    Dear Tony
    This is one of the best articles I’ve ever read and it was just on time!
    (as these spending club fans are testing our nerves by their reticules manner of talking)
    I am confident on that Mr Platini will do something, because if they do not act to change things now, the whole system is going to crash

  • Gunner4evr

    I want to see how Platini will act against any of the these: MU/MC/Chelsea/Barcelona/RM for fallig foull of the ffp. If it is nato,then we will be back to square or round one.
    I don’t think UEFA will dare ban any of the big teams out of fear they will from their own cartel.
    Then Wenger’s hopes of ffp will go up in smoke. You never know.

  • andy bishop

    FFP does not have a cat in hells chance of succeeding to the degree everyone might wish. The big spenders will continue spending..find a way around it and if and when FIFA try to enforce them fortunes will be spent on lawyers to argue the case. It all boils down to how much money each party has….Mr Chelski et al have far more than FIFA.

  • zdzis

    @Dino Abby, but, in effect, at no one in particular:
    I think it’s reasonable to think that the money Wenger doesn’t spend now is saved for later. If our budget for transfers amounts to £50m, and we spend £40m while recovering some £50m via player sales, it means that we have saved £10m and generated £50m in revenue. What happens next is anybody’s guess, but I think about a half of the money generated can be put into new acquisitions.
    But the questions is: what acquisitions in particular?
    Defensively, we don’t seem to need new players at all. We have 4 regular CBs, with at least two more coming through the ranks (Miquel and Eastmond or Hajrovic); we have two fullbacks apiece, with one on either side coming through within the next 2 years (Bellerin, Angha).
    In the midfield, we’re quite stacked. Defensively, we can work with Arteta, Coquelin, Frimpong, but also Yennaris and possibly Henderson and/or Ebecilio. If Diaby’s out, we can use Wilshere, and maybe Henderson or Eastmond (if Chamberlain is not above doing defensive duties). If Cazorla’s out, there’s Rosicky, Chamberlain, ramsey, and the Eisfeld.
    On the wings, we can use Gervinho, Podolski, Walcott, Chamberlain, Arshavin, and then also Gnabry or Watt.
    The only position where we’re not stacked is CF. If Giroud’s off, we can use Podolski and then Walcott, but the farther we go, the less suited to the position the players become. Can we use Akpom if need be? Or recall Afobe? OR maybe use Arshavin? That’s our main weakness right now.
    Why is it important to realize this: because most of the fans whinging about Wenger’s apparent inactivity toward the end of the transfer window usually demanded other positions to be filled. They called for new defenders; fullbacks; midfielders; playmakers; wingers; but only a handful realized the only position we would do good to strengthen was CF.
    But the problem is – it’s not us who make the selection, but Wenger; and he could have a very different idea. Like he had when so many people were clamoring for us to buy M’Vila. But it’s fairly clear now that we don’t need him at all! So perhaps Wenger’s right again and we don’t NEED anyone at all – perhaps any new buy now would be surplus to our needs, an unnecessary cross to bear? I believe it should be fairly clear whether Wenger’s strategy was smart before the end of September.