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August 2021

Financial Fair Play: 23 more punishments handed out

By Tony Attwood

Atlético Madrid recently beat Chelsea 4-1 in the European Super Cup.  Unfortunately Atlético Madrid made a tiny error.   They forgot to pay their bit of the tax bill owed by Spanish clubs to the Spanish government.

It seems that in Spain not paying tax if you are a football club is, well, just what you do.  A Spanish Practice, as we used to say in the old days.   Now that cute little habit means that Spanish football clubs owe the Spanish government €1,350,000,000 (that is 1.35 billion) in tax.  And government want it back.  With interest.

The European Super Cup holders haven’t coughed up, so now they are paying (according to El País), 4.5%  interest, which in their case means €15 million a year.

Now most of the time we focus on the issue of the losses that Man City and Chelsea make when it comes to Financial Fair Play, but not paying your debts is also a crime.  In fact I think Portsmouth got rumbled for this in April 2010 when they would have qualified to play in Europe after reaching the FA Cup Final.   A joint statement from the FA and Premier League said at the time: “The FA and Premier League have confirmed to the administrators of Portsmouth Football Club that they shall not consider any late application for granting of a UEFA Club Licence for the 2010-11 season.”

In the Madrid case the statement read: “The [Uefa] Club Financial Control Body’s investigatory chamber has identified that important overdue payables towards other clubs, and/or towards employees or social/tax authorities existed in 23 cases.  23 clubs involved in 2012/13 Uefa club competitions have seen the payment of their prize money temporarily withheld pending further investigation. This measure will remain in force until all identified balances have been settled in full or until a final decision by the CFCB adjudicatory chamber is taken.”

But that might not be all for Atlético for elsewhere the Spanish press have said that they have failed to pay the instalments due on the transfer of Falcao from Porto.  There is talk of Atlético selling the player on to raise the money to clear the debts.

Málaga, who I have written about so many times of late, also has debts, as they did not sell off enough players in the summer to clear the problems created by the sudden lack of interest in the club by  Qatar.    Although quite surprisinly they have had a good start to the new season and are fourth in the Spanish league.  So they too are having their Uefa money withheld.

Many of the clubs on the list are not particularly well known, but tucked among the various Bosnian, Croatian, Romanian and Serbian clubs we also find Sporting Lisbon and Rubin Kazan.

So the next step is that the clubs have until the end of this month to give Uefa an update.

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Withholding money from Uefa is of course the smallest of penalties – nothing like refusing to allow a club into the Europa or Champions Leagues.   But given that these clubs are seriously in debt it will hit them much harder than it would ever hit a club like Chelsea and it is more than likely that some of them simply won’t be able to pay the debts as they have been living in debt for such a long time.  This is especially true in Spain where the banks have seized up, and the local authorities are themselves trying to solve their debt problems.

But there is a significance here, for the fact is that the main problem for these clubs are the debts owed to government – and if you think of the central problem that tends to bring down English clubs it is the failure to pay VAT and PAYE.   Ludicrously, in my view, the FA and Premier League cling to the rule that says if  “football debts” are paid out everything is fine.   Uefa is saying, no it isn’t.

Of course Uefa isn’t going to hurt the average lower league club that has been into administration several times.  And remember Southampton of the Premier League were in administration as recently as April 2009.  With the banks less and less willing to fund local teams because of the bad image such a removal of funding brings, some clubs really are struggling to find places to borrow money.

This is not the tidal wave that will sweep away all financial foul play but it is a very positive step in the right direction.


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Making the Arsenal


76 comments to Financial Fair Play: 23 more punishments handed out

  • Maverick

    I love the way that this is only for debts that are against government standing. What about debts that are to otther clubs that actually inhibit the other clubs running. Like us for Example……….we are apparently (don’t know if it is true) still owed money for Henry, Hleb and Cesc and maybe others just from Barca. How is this fair either? How can other clubs get away with supposedly buying a player that a club may or may not have wanted to sell, then they don’t pay what is owed so the selling club is short on funds to purchase new players etc.

    I feel this area should be addressed also because it is not a fair playing field when these so called big clubs still owe money everywhere but yet are still allowed to get their money even though they are seemingly evading paying for players they bought YEARS ago.

  • Mike T

    I think you will find that these sanctions arent just made where clubs have overdue payments to their respective governments thay also realte to overdue monies in respect of wages and more of importance to Mavericks comments, payments to other clubs. I guess that means that if Barca do indeed owe money to Arsenal then the paymenst are being made in accordance with arrangements made between the two clubs.

  • colario

    Does this mean that Real and Barca have not been paid for the Champions league money due to them from last season?

  • I don’t think there is any suggestion that Real or Barcelona have not paid their taxes – Barce have huge loans from their banks, and that is not being tackled here.

    I believe clubs don’t pay all the money on a transfer at once – typically the sum is paid over a period of time of up to four years I think.

    In May 2010 Swiss Ramble said

    Barcelona owe nearly €50 million to other football clubs on transfer purchases, ironically including €16 million to Arsenal (€12 million for Thierry Henry and €4 million for Alex Hleb).

    And by and large he tends to get historic facts right. Whether that money is still outstanding I don’t know.

  • Maverick

    @colario…..i bet they have been paid, after all they are uefa’s favourites they couldn’t have them not being paid can they?

    This is what strikes me as unfair because those clubs owe a lot of ‘smaller’ clubs money. They poach talent from clubs they feel are beneath (such as us) then don’t fully pay us or are probably paying on stupid terms like 500k a year and it angers me because rumours are going around that they still owe us for Henry etc. We could have used Henry staying with us for a couple more seasons but we ended up selling a world class player to them for peanuts ala Cesc and then to add insult to injury they dont even pay us what measily amounts they are meant to pay us……then go and paoch more and more players from other clubs probably using the same crappy tactics. Lowball them tap them up and swoon all over them until they beg to go give a derisory offer which you are then forced to accept because they now only want to go to them then pay off that derisory offer over 10-20 years. Spain is going bankrupt and i hope those 2 scummy teams go with their economy!!

  • Mike T

    From what I read Malaga and Athletico Madrid have had monies withheld but neither Real or Barca have. I know both owed the Spanish Government money and i doubt these debts have been cleared so I think again its safe to assume that ay monies they owe is subject to an agreed payment schedule.


    As much as you keep refering to FFP, I’m afraid it will NEVER happen. The likes of Man City and Chelsea to illustrate by example,(there are obviously other clubs in Europe as well). Uefa and FIFA do not have the guts to go after these clubs and the sugadaddy clubs will find a way to get around FFP . The only rule they could realistically bring in, is to ban any player from any of these clubs from playing for thier respective countries in both official and friendly matches.
    I would dearly love to see these clubs that “BUY TROPHIES” outlawed and dealt with in a Draconian way, alas I know it will never happen.
    I have no number OR NAME on the back of my Arsenal shirt….Just these words are printed

    Yes a ‘dig’ at Chelsea and Man City fans. They hate it and get upset by it but many others (including. would you believe a Spurs fan) love it and have taken oictures of it.
    Only time will tell if FFP will really happen

  • Mike T

    Apologies Real dont show any tax debt but Barca had some 6 months ag0 some 48 million Euros of tax debt.
    It seems that 14 of the 20 top Spaanish clubs owed tax to the tune of 700 + million Euros

  • Andrei

    Hmm… Can somebody explain it to me why UEFA are in the business of regulating/resolving taxation disputes?

  • Mike T


    Clubs that buy trophies. What does that mean? Do you mean clubs that have had a benefator? What like Liverpool and the Moores family? How about Real Madrid and Franco?

  • Sir Cecil

    Liverpool’s money from their football pools owners bought many trophies, for years and years.
    They were nothing before that. They are a PRIME example of buying “history” as well as trophies.

  • Melon Man

    Oh dear,

    let’s hope some eagle-eyed City fans don’t spot this old class and history buying taunt, they might bring up those wealthy benefactors who’ve bankrolled the Arse several times over the last hundred years, enabling them to be where they are now.

    In fact, I’d be surprised if you can find any football club in the Leagues who haven’t at some point in their history had a cash injection to get them ahead of the game, or at least catchup – there’s a challenge for you o Classy One 🙂

  • Andrei

    Buying history is much easier than buying trophies. Winning trophies is a business in which it is hard to get a garanteed result no matter how much money you throw at the problem. Just look at Mr. Abramovich and his pursuit of CL glory. In contrast, to re-write history all takes is to hire enough storytellers, control enough media channels and brainwash people long enough. It works like a charm and it is not that expensive.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    City and Chelsea don’t make UEFA that much money, not compared to Barca, Madrid or Munich. TV rights deals are negotiated based on predicted audiences (since audiences = advertising revenue) and the audience for the 2009 and 2011 finals were huge because they involved teams with massive global fan bases. I like to think we’ve earned a place at the tier below the top because of our commitment to attacking football and relative success over the years. The new money clubs have neither.

  • cass



    The losses incurred by Chelsea and City are obcene. At least the like of Liverpool who, yes did have the financial backing of the MOORES FAMILY BUT STILL WORKED WITHIN THE PERIMITERS OF SENSIBLE FINANCING,
    I have no problem with the likes of Liverpool, Man Utd who because of the way they played, have earned themselves respect and a huge fan base, What is happening with thier current owners is a different matter. The EPL has now two clubs who can pour UNLIMITED MONEY into thier clubs and cannot be compared with how football clubs have been run in the passed. You will never, ever see the likes of smaller clubs rise through the divisions through thier hard work and endeavor. Nobody will or can justify whatever these ‘Sugardaddies’ are doing to the game. ( Unless you are a Chelsea or City supporter

  • Melon Man

    What if you are a Wigan, or a Fulham supporter Terry?

    How on God’s green earth did they ever get into the Premiership, without the obscene funding of Dave Whelan and Mohammed Al Fayed?

    Wigan are a rugger playing pie eating town, with zilch football heritage, yet here they are.

    Fulham, lovely little cottagers with a quaint old history and no conceivable chance of top flight football with their pitiful fanbase, yet here they are.

    Sugardaddies are at work all over the divisions, putting in far more money than their rivals in order to propel their chosen clubs up the leagues – QPR, Forest, who next? Are they all operating within the perimiters of sensible financing? Of course not, and it’s always been the case someone, somewhere is investing in their clubs more than seems prudent, just like has happened with the Arse, several times.

    Mind you, if it makes you feel better in your barren years, keep on deluding yourself, history doesn’t lie.


    Investing yes. Many clubs have rich investors. You mention Fulham and QPR but they don’t spend the obscene amounts of Chelsea and City.They are not spending £20 – £50 million on single players, paying £200,00+ a week to thier players. Your argument does’nt hold water and you know it. Many fans hold the same opinion as me. I wonder who you support?

  • Andrei

    @Melon Man

    Exactly my sentitement. I fail to see how implementing FFP would enable Wigan or Stoke to become Arsenal. FFP is nothing more than an attempt to protect incumbent clubs thinly veiled using Keynesian rethoric.

  • Melon Man


    I’m a 46 year old City fan.

    Yes, that’s correct, I spent most of my teenage years, and all of my adult life up till two season’s ago supporting my team, who in that time won the sum total of bugger all.
    In that time, I watched City throwing money at success, in the time-honoured tradition of every single major (and several minor) club in this country, and to be fair, we nearly made it under Howard Kendall.
    The real game changer, came about with the inception of the Premier League, which gave the TV money as an incentive to finish higher more than ever before. Added to that the Champions League gravy train meant that those teams lucky enough as a quirk of fate (or clever manoeuvring as many suspect – step forward Manchester United) started to make significantly more money than those outside the top four. The impact of this new inequality was almost instantaneous, as proven by the Sky four, Grands slam Sundays, United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea, every week, every year, awful for every one else, fans of those clubs happy as larry.
    All four of those clubs re-invested their at least extra £20 million, usually more, on strengthening their positions, and weakening their rivals.
    How on earth can you defend this situation as fair?
    The only way to break this monopoly, was if one of these clubs made a monumental error in management, or spend more than they did, whilst weakening their squads by buying their best players – role reversal if you will.
    Now, if you defend the original position of the Sky four, how can you complain when, under the existing laws of the game, another club or clubs has a go at competing?
    To complain that City and Chelsea are spending far more than anyone else is hypocritical at best, and to complain it’s immoral somehow is illogical, whilst defending your own clubs financial bullying of clubs like Southampton – the Ox and Theo Walcott weren’t bought with magic beans were they?
    To compete in a financially uneven playing field, you need to counter with your own resources, there is no other way in the current setup.
    I challenge you to explain to me how any other team outside of the top four can win the Premiership, when as soon as they develop a couple of decent players, the big boys take them off you before you get anywhere near.
    Before the Sheikh rescued City, we would never be able to win the Prem, despite historically having the record attendance for a game outside Wembley, meaning that City are potentially the best supported (fans who actually attend games) club in England.
    I wish it was like it was in the seventies, before all this money-grabbing unfairness, when incidentally City were magnificent, but it’s not.

  • Mike T

    Sorry Terry I am with Melon man 100%.
    Both clubs might be loosing vast amounts of money but both the owners are happy to put their money in so in truth who elses concern is it? Its their money and if they want to spend it why should you or anyone else tell them they cant.
    You seem to suggest is ok to have investors. I have always thought that means putting your money in with a view to taking a profit. We all know how both Liverpool and Man U supporters feel about Americans taking vast sums out of their clubs. Strange that you think its ok to take money out but not put money in.
    Yes many fans feel the same as you but be honest if RA had turned up at Arsenal and put in millions would you have sat on your hands or celebrated the honours that would without doubt followed.


    Oh, am I not surprised. You are a City supporter.I rest my case. Only a Chelsea or City fan will try to justify your team(s) position.As I said originally, God help you, or should I say, Allah help you, if FFP becomes a reality,,,,but I think you are safe and it will not happen and you arabs will squander another billion so or later

  • Melon Man

    Thanks Terry,

    I take ages to make several valid, reasoned arguments, with real life, historical examples, and you dismiss it all just because of who I support.


    If you’re up to it, do you think you could tell me whether you are for, or against the Champions League gravy train which benefits your club so much, with regard to all the other clubs who used to have a shot at the title?

    In the Prem years, United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Blackburn (once thru “obscene investment”) are the only teams to win the damn thing. Oh, and City now. Do you think this is an indication of a healthy, competitive league?

    If you choose not to enter this debate by answering my questions, I will understand as you’re an Arsenal fan, and that would be like a Turkey voting for Christmas I suppose.

  • Adam

    Some of you may not follow this comment, However, The Oiler (borrowed that) clubs tactics of buying up most of the very good to outstanding players is similar to the diamond industry which is controlled by a few through the means of buying power and controlling output. If we substitute the word diamond for food then there would be a world out cry with riots and rebellion. The tactic is the same the morality of it seems to be missed by a lot of people. People who indulge in this tactic are oppressive by nature. It is up to you who you would give your support too.

  • Mihir

    The advent of the Sky brought in vast sums and ensured equitable distribution of the money brought in. So what did your club do with the 20 million? I am sure that could have been used to systematically weaken your rivals? I believe the City of Manchester stadium was practically given away for free. A 50,000 seater stadium brings its own financial muscle with it. I guess Terry’s point is that the non-equitable nature of the league has been skewed beyond limits. The repercussions have been global and I am sure clubs have not been going bankrupt at such a scale before in trying to compete.
    As for the Champions league gravy train, What about Arsenal’s performance over the last 7 years with a constrained budget? I am sure if you see any net transfer figures, 50% of the clubs in the premier league would have a net spend greater than Arsenal’s and yet we have managed to hang in there.

  • Super Singh

    Fair point Melon man, but the so called top four especially Arsenal have bought wisely and pushed through the youth talent in the eighties and ninties. So in that we have become sucesseful through hard work, and the reward for that is people want to watch our football hence we are in the position to receive the TV windfall.
    As for you calling my team the Ars, for where I’m standing doesn’t make you all that clever as you seem to be?


    Mihir and
    Super Singh
    make valid points. The likes of your team and Chelsea will not triuph in the long term. We have earned our status through good management and using our money wisely. This you cannot argue against. one further point Arsenal have become the benchmark for how a club should be run, whilst playing the type of football others have tried to emulate. With that I respct your passion for your club hope you understand my passion to. At least you are not a “johnny Come Lately” fan and like you I have been a Arsenal fan since 1958 approaching my 70th year, so I have witnessed barren years as well.This debate could run forever and I have enjoyed the arguments we both have put forward
    Thankyou Melon Man. Enjoy the rest of the season

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    Melon Man, I always admired City’s brave determination to eclipse their Mancunian neighbours and there decent playing style…then the Sheik came and out went some class players and in came some less than savoury characters BUT City did win the EPL on goal difference and more power to them for doing that in Manure’s face. It probably felt like how Gooners celebrated when they, once again, had St.Totteringham’s Day and watched the Spuds lose out on a CL spot once again!
    There is little similar in the current EPL or for that matter in Europe, outside of PSG, to City and Chelsea’s oilygarchs and their millions but certainly City fans deserve something to celebrate after being bridesmaids for so long. Is this business model good for City and Football in the long term…that is debatable and such risky financing can lead to disaster if the revenues run out but personally I don’t care who does what with whose money as long as we see great Football and eternal rivalries lighting up the stadiums once in awhile. The game will go on but what I find tedious is this constant re-examination of who did what to whom and the boasting about ¨history¨. Frankly who cares?

  • Mike

    A quick reply to “TERRY September 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm” regarding his moralistic stand quaoting “YOU CANT BUY HISTORY JUST TROPHIES” Well I think that you had better be careful and do more research into how Arsenal suddenly changed from a small club in Woolwich who finished 5th in the 2nd division 1914, to a newly promoted side in the First division 1919 at Highbury when there were other teams ahead of them who should have been promoted first. A certain millionaire with the right connections (Sir Henry Norris) just so happened to buy the club in 1914, and it was through his connection that Arsenal were promoted, it was also through him that big name players suddenly started to arrive at the club for big fees along with the best manager of the time, Tom Whittaker, Norris was eventually found guilty for making illegal payments and banned from football. So basically Arsenal were doing exactly what Man City,Chelsea are doing now, but they also had someone making wage payments “under teh counter”…. so be careful when you quote things as it doesn’t matter how long ago this happened it still meant that Arsenal basically bought trophies that created the basis of their History!!! In 100 years time people will only look at Man City and Chelsea and see thier record of trophies won, not how the club financed it!!!! Arsenal in 100 years will be noted as suddenly going downhill from the team of invincibles in 2004 to being just one of the clubs in the top division who made up the numbers, no one will understand why, but if they do read about how Arsenal sacrificed trophy winning for making profit I wonder what the people of the future wil think??

  • MK

    There are some valid points to both sides of the argument.

    It is unfair to stop people investing in teams to allow them to move up the league table, which is at the moment arguably too difficult for them to achieve without outside assistance.

    However Billionaires injecting vast sums of money into some teams which is almost entirely spent on new players(ala City, Chelsea and others) is causing major problems for other teams without their own investors (Rising wages etc), not to mention what happens if those investors then pull out leaving clubs in all sorts of trouble (Malaga), so some action (such as the FFP) needs to be taken to avoid this occurring in the future.

    I’d disagree with the point that it is hypocritical to suggest that clubs should be relying on money they have earned rather than handouts from rich benefactors and if Roman or the Sheik had invested in improving the club from the ground up first (new stadiums, better youth setups, scouting networks, commercial teams and better quality coaching teams) rather than going for the instant gratification of splashing 1/2 billion or so on new players, then I doubt you would find any of the resentment for that approach amongst opposing fans that is now common place.

  • Sav from Australia

    Abrahmovic/Gazprom/Russian mafia has put alot of money into Chelsea in transfer fees and player salaries and youth investment, etc. Some people talk about it being money laundering. I always wonder, if not that, then what else?

    Now the Gulf Arab sheikhs who owe their wealth to the British Empire as far as I remember my history – they are doing the same thing, investing massive amounts of money. People say it is for publicity, brand name on their flagship airline or their country. But do we always believe a simple answer? What are the alternatives? Are they money launderers, as some accuse the Russian owner in west London of being?

    If not, then what else can it be. Because frankly folks, this level of spending in football is ridiculous. Is there really such a thing as a rich man’s plaything or is it all an elaborate ruse to cover up some sort of money game?

    We do have similarities with other countries and other leagues. Bayern Munich and industrial giants; Juventus and Inter and Milan. But their patrons are their own countrymen – maybe it’s national pride?

  • Zinedine Cygan

    @Melon man.

    Basically the difference between the past dominance of certain teams and the present was that with those teams mistakes had consequences and a number of clubs have moved up and down the league as appropriate.

    Man c and Chelsea can quite literally be managed by a child because terrible decisions have absolutely no bearing on their medium term future.

    FFP is NOT about breaking even, the concept of acceptable losses ensures that any team looking to INVEST money in football can do so but those who wish to cheat at football manager 2013- can no longer.

  • Walter

    Mike… I think you will get a very adequate reply to the throwing it all in the hat and pull it out as you like about Arsenal 100 years ago from Tony.

    From the books he wrote on that period I know that Norris didn’t buy Arsenal in 1914 as you claim.
    I leave the rest up to Tony but I am rather sure that he can correct you and inform you on what you think that happened

  • elkieno

    Mike: Yes Walter is right you have your facts wrong, contradicting your own argument about getting facts right. Can’t wait fir Tony answer…

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    FFP is designed to prevent a City/PSG final from killing the value of the TV rights.
    It isn’t about keeping down the sleeping giants who need a cold hard shot of cash to wake them up, merely protecting UEFA’s income.
    The question arises though, what happens when one or two of their cash cows flout the rules?

  • elkieno

    Comon Tony mate get Mike, get him, tsk tsk, get him good lol. Tell him about the real Arsenal History.
    In fact Mike, there are articles on this site somewhere that explains everything about this evil rumor that we paid off someone and got promoted above Spurs and Chelsea or some stupid story like that.
    You have fallen for the good old rumour that Spurs faithful like to spread.
    Not having a go at you Mike, just trying to lighten up the house a wee bit.
    The only problem I have with City doing what they are doing, is the fact that they bought some of our players. If they hadn’t bought that little french fuker NaSri, I would have cheered you on to beat Manure.
    If we cant win it this year, then I hope Spurs and UTD don’t and Chelsea neither. Sell Nasri or bench him for the entire season and I don’t mind if you win it again.
    All this as long as we cant, obviously…
    I used to always back City when playing UTD and the occasional games where you would beat them, teh atmosphere was great. I remember a few years ago City beat UTD twice in EPL, they was great games.
    right am off now to vomit.

  • Melon Man

    Thanks for the reasoned responses so far, not that I agree with many of you!

    I believe all you are criticising City and Chelsea in particular for is the degree of investment upfront to make those teams successful. I won’t bother commenting on Chelsea’s investments, other than to say I believe Sheikh Mansour to have a better business plan long term).

    Please tell me otherwise if I have this wrong, but did not Arsenal borrow circa £300 million pounds to build a new stadium, named after an Arabian airline (sound familiar?) – from the banks via loans?

    Lets repeat that again, in capitals – THREE HUNDRED MILLION POUNDS IN BANK LOANS.

    Now, this must have been a carefully researched business decision, which, given the nature of the sport, must have been even so, a massive gamble, which could easily given a quirk of fate (European football ban like the one which scuppered Everton in their pomp) have led to bankruptcy. Platini would not approve I would hope.

    By the reasoning of several Arsenal fans, the stadium should be paid for by gate revenues and marketing of shirts and Arsenal merchandise, not other people’s money borrowed, saved up in a giant piggy bank until the glorious day comes when Mr Kroenke can go to the new stadium shop and buy a purpose built sixty thousand seater in his anti-gravity hover car :). City of course go to the bank of Sheikh Mansour, for a grant. I expect if one of your board members had the money upfront, then they’d buy the stadium upfront, and keep on winning trophies.

    Of course, if you hadn’t built a new, larger capacity stadium, you couldn’t compete with United, so it had to be done, or you could kiss goodbye to all those shiny new players who would just go straight to Trafford, or Real, or Barca – or stay in France and Southampton.

    Pray tell, what is the difference between borrowing 300 million pounds to invest in your business, and the what, four hundred milion pounds the Sheikh has put into squad players? (apart from less risk on the Sheikh’s part). Both investments are designed to grow the clubs in all areas, Arsenal needed a new stadium, City did not, City needed better players, Arsenal did not.

    Ah, but we can afford the payments you all cry, it’s within our prudent business model.

    My reply to this is, it appears the Sheikh has a business plan too, and so far, like the Arsenal, it’s playing out nicely – in fact, better than the Arsenal model, as we’re winning trophies, new fans and competing, all within the current rules of the game, nothing improper, nothing illegal.

    Either upfront investment is wrong, or it’s not – and all normal businesses do it as far as I’m concerned, it’s just a matter of degree, and even then, City and Arsenal are not that far apart. (except for the investment in the new Etihad training complex, which will of course be quite helpful in future success on the pitch).

    Historically, every single football club had to invest capital to purchase stadiums, many more than once – including the Arsenal.

    Historically, every single football club has had to invest capital to improve their playing squad – including the Arsenal.

    (capital being money, not Wenger and Fergie’s magic beans 🙂 )

    Everything else is squabbling and bickering over the source of the money (bank loans, oil money, rancid meat to schoolchildren money, bent ex Prime Ministers, American sports moguls, landed gentry, gate receipts, replica shirts and duvet sets).

    When I were a lad, the Arsenal were a mid table, steady eddie club, City were a top two club more often than not (blue tinted glasses on), Liverpool were steamrolling everyone but not every year, United were a difficult four pointer every season (in the days when a win was two points) but fate steps in, and clubs make lousy decisions, nothing stays the same.

    As far as Platini’s hollow doom-mongering about the financial health of European football clubs, tell me this, which football clubs in the last 100 years have actually disappeared for good?

    When Rangers went bust, up stepped the usual saviours, they wiped their debts, and now they’re starting at the bottom. They’ll be back soon enough of course, but in the meantime Scottish football is loving it – if I’m not mistaken, not one SPL club voted to keep them in the top flight – finally, the Scottish two team borefest has been dismantled – hooray!

    Just imagine if Real or Barca went bust, or United? Brilliant for the rest of the leagues, and maybe their fans would get a healthy dose of humility.

    I hate all this namby-pamby health and safety crap, sport is all about risk, victory is hollow without the real risk of failure (and for that, thanks Platini for making City’s rise to world dominance that bit more difficult, but when we get there, there’ll be no more bloody competition from new money).

    I really see no difference with the way Arsenal and City are funded and developed over their histories, only to the degree in which the investment is made, and that being the case, how much capital investment is morally wrong? Where is the cut off point? Three hundred million pounds and no more?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Melon man,

    I think you do miss a point.
    To build the stadium Arsenal used their own money and loaned money as most ordinary people do when building a house to build the stadium. The money we got upfront from sponsoring contracts were in a way too low compared with the rest of the current sponsoring contract but as it was paid in advance for all the years to come we could use it to build it together with the loans.

    But we are repaying that money to the banks. And the money we use to repay the banks is money we made ourselves. We pay it back.
    And all the way we try to keep our business running and try to make a profit to make sure we pay the loans back.

    yes it was a big risk. But a well calculated risk and in the knowledge that we probably have the only manager in the world to achieve what we achieved during this whole process.

    The money you got from Mansour (or Chelsea) was from his personal/company money. It had nothing to do with football until he woke up one day and thought: let us buy a football club. 😉 Just like we think what will I put on my sandwich today. oh well 🙂

    Anyway, you make massive losses and you even make more losses than your annual turnover. So you cannot compare us with City at all.

    You don’t repay the money you got from Mansour at all. Contrary to Arsenal who is repaying the loans. In fact you couldn’t repay the money to Mansour as you got not money. Mansour has money, City has no money.

    As your neighbours are now starting to sweat of the possibility to lose RVP with an injury (we have known the feeling for 7 years 😉 ) I think you should sweat about losing Mansour because of …well anyone can die or lose interest, fall out of grace…

    If RVP is injured the one man team that utd is this season will suffer, if Mansour gets..fill in any possible disaster… and goes away from City you will not suffer long. You will only remember this period as a great period and then the big bang and the end.

    Can’t happen? Will not happen? Ask yourself one year ago: did you think Rangers could happen? Well it did.

    To end I enjoyed you winning the title last season. It was choosing between two evils but your evil is a bit less evil compared so I could feel some sympathy with you winning it the way you did.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Melon man,
    The difference is that Arsenal spent £300 million on body armour and City spent their money on bullets, to use a metaphor. Arsenal having a 60k seat stadium doesn’t directly affect the other 19 clubs, City and Chelsea driving up wages means that every player in the league expects more money, whether they are worth it or not. Eventually the other teams will get sick of it and expel the offending teams (an option still available to the EPL) in order to protect themselves.
    The flip side of course is that by paying over the odds for marginally talented English players, MCFC are propping up a few clubs, whereas Arsenal rake in a fair amount but don’t directly share it with the rest of the EPL.

  • Super Singh

    Good morning Melon man! Think you’ve answered your own question fella! Arsenal’s cash injection is to be repaid, however your owner probably, won’t need his money any day soon or collect it at a later stage?
    However I’ve got no beef if Man City or Chelsea want to spend their way to successes, but I do care if The Arsenal went in that direction. I want them to be a model club and play the right way, guess we’re gonna have to agree to disagree? NO?

  • Mike T

    Whilst I can see that both Chelsea and Man City have driven up wages you really cant lace all the balme on them nor look to them as to being the reason Arsenal havent delivered much on the trophy front for a quite a while.
    The adent of Sky and indeed the EPL linked with the C has been the main reason wages have rocketed. The amount of new money from Sky came way before either of the two benefactors were in place.
    Yes Arsenal have borrowed from the banks and yes they will pay it back with interest but if RA pays to build a new stadium at Chelsea (watch whats going on re the Earls Court redevolpment) will you view that likewise as being wrong because he almost certainly would fund it without interest having to be paid?

  • Mike T

    Whilst I can see that both Chelsea and Man City have driven up wages you really cant lace all the balme on them nor look to them as to being the reason Arsenal havent delivered much on the trophy front for a quite a while.
    The adent of Sky and indeed the EPL linked with the C has been the main reason wages have rocketed. The amount of new money from Sky came way before either of the two benefactors were in place.
    Yes Arsenal have borrowed from the banks and yes they will pay it back with interest but if RA pays to build a new stadium at Chelsea (watch whats going on re the Earls Court redevolpment) will you view that likewise as being wrong because he almost certainly would fund it without interest having to be paid?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mike T,

    Imagine winning the tour de france 7 times: great achievement.

    Imagine winning it cleanly without using EPO: amazingly big achievement

    Imagine winning it because you had better doctors who could fool the labs and you have been using EPO to be successful: AMAZINGLY BIG CHEATING ACHIEVEMENT

    How would the cyclist feel now when they realise they could have won it but got cheated?

    That is the way Chelsea and City work if you compare it with cycling.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    If Roman funds the building of a new stadium out of his own pocket that can only be a good thing, especially if Chelsea somehow manage to fill the damn thing on a regular basis and start covering their own costs. The present arrangement is very unsafe for Chelsea.
    The situation at the moment is not like the Sky money or having a huge stadium, wages are totally unrelated to turnover. That affects the whole league.

  • Mick Singfield

    Walter-The myth lives on-
    The royal “we” are the fans paying off the mortgage debt the clubs Board has incurred and profits incurred by the sale of our top players to rivals.
    The Arsenal is run as a private club in the interests of the current Board members. I don’t support Chelsea and Man City but Arsenal- are only too willing to sell its best players and grab the money of the wealthy clubs to pay off its debts. Whose debts are they? Not mine mr Wolf. I am not a shareholder like this sites publisher owner.

  • Melon Man


    the point I was making, and I’ll make it again, is that when the Arsenal board asked their banking buddies to borrow £300 million, THEY COULD NOT AFFORD IT, AND DID NOT EARN IT.

    If you have a mortgage, it is because you cannot afford to buy your house outright at time of exchanging contracts – you may intend to pay it back, and God willing you will, but circumstances such as ill health or redundancy might mean defaulting – this is because you could not afford it at the time of borrowing the money.

    Borrowing £300 million pounds on a sports venture is incredibly risky, but the Arsenal board took that chance, presumably based on forecasts they could actually fill the stadium, and expand their global marketing and sales. Did they also factor in charging the fans more than any other British team, possibly in the world, to attend games, in order to pay back this massive loan?

    Life is full of if’s and but’s, and one could argue Arsenal are one bad season (outside the top 4 and CL money) from bankruptcy, same as City or Chelsea if the owner shuffles off this mortal coil, but so what?

    Fortune favours the brave, and Arsenal have been incredibly brave to put themselves in £300 million of debt to the banks. Potless, but brave. They just need to hang on in their whilst the debt is serviced, hoping not to lose market share to City and others.

    Weirdly, Sheikh Mansour isn’t being so brave or reckless, despite the sums involved, due to his immense personal wealth, so one could argue that the Arsenal are the club Platini should be looking at. All the indications are that Sheikh Mansour’s investment will start to pay dividends sooner than was anticipated, the value of MCFC will increase massively compared to what he paid for the club, and in the long term he will earn his investment back, and more. To argue otherwise is to underestimate his business acumen – do so at your peril.

    If it weren’t for revenues from selling your best players season upon season, your bank balances might not look so healthy – and when alls said and done, you could have let contracts run down, and refuse to sell to bitter rivals. Billionnaire members of your board could have stepped up to the plate and financed better players and wages – of course your stock answer to this is blame Chelsea and City for driving wages up, but that’s how business is run folks, even in football’s bubble – do you think your players came to your club for the glory and the honour – they pretend they do, but apparently most of your best players of the last few seasons are mercenaries, stands to reason there’s some mercenaries playing for you now in disguise.

    Walter, let’s also stick to football, cycling isn’t my forte I’m afraid, and contrary to popular misconception, City have broken the sum total of no rules to get where they are today.

    No one at City is under investigation, no one has been fined, there are no cheats at the club in the financial sense anyhow (bit of diving on the pitch and feigning injury every so often, but everyone does that in the Prem).

    When the Premiership was formed, rules and regulations were agreed upon by all, and so far, where the goalposts now lie, City are fully compliant, as are the Arsenal.

    If a bunch of self interested crooks want to move the goal posts to suit there own agenda’s, well thats another thing altogether.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Melon man, so anyone who buys a house with a mortgage is doing something wrong?
    We have to wait till a rich oil man comes along and tells us: hey I will buy you a house.

    I know all about having a mortgage ans illness coming in but that is my risk I took and we will work our way round it to keep our property.
    But what if my oil man stands in front of my door saying: this is mine, you move out.
    So what can I do then? After all it was his money to build the house.

    And besides before Arsenal were giving the loans they had to prove the bank that they could pay it back (as I had to do to the bank when I got my mortgage).

    Now if you want to see the spending of Mansour as a loan to City…. how on earth can they ever pay him back if he wants his money back? City can’t pay it back.
    Arsenal can pay it back even with only 1 ticket for the CL in 4 years. Ok it will make things complicated a bit more but that is why we keep some money at the bank just in case things go wrong.

    Now you seem save, but that was the thinking of Rangers supporters also.

  • Mick Singfield – your comments might have some validity if you offered any proof. Tom Fox, at the meeting this week said that every penny of profit goes back to the manager to use, and that the shareholders take nothing in terms of dividends. You feel it is different – ok provide some evidence instead of just making comments which are in fact libellous. Fortunately for you the club does not sue people like you, but it could. I only publish your comments because I can write this declaration saying I think they are utterly wrong.

    But let’s look at your final point.

    “I am not a shareholder like this sites publisher owner.”

    I am the site’s publisher owner. I am not a shareholder. I am a member of Fanshare, through which I pay into a club scheme each month along with many others who believe in the club – and indeed as members of AST do through the alternative scheme. Last time I looked I think I calculated that I will be 256 years old by the time I own one share.

  • WalterBroeckx

    About Arsenal taking the money from Mansour?
    I think that Arsenal and Wenger would have loved it more if the money greedy players would have stayed at Arsenal for sensible wages.
    Imagine how good our accounts would be without having to offering crazy money to players for crazy wages.

    And we cannot help the bubble football lives in. In fact I think we have the only manager who has been warning people that the bubble might burst someday. As it will. And then City will be one of those that will be hit hard.

  • Melon – Arsenal is not the most expensive football venue in England, let alone the world. Since you offer no proof of your statement, I won’t (I’m getting fed up with digging up this stat). You offer some proof and I will show you where you are wrong.

  • Melon Man

    Sorry Tony,

    this article says you are –

    And so does this one –

    maybe the Arsenal isn’t the most expensive stadium to watch football in England, I can believe these reports are skewed to suit an agenda, but it’s not the cheapest either by a long shot is it?

    Is that all you have to say about my posts, just picking up on one sentence? I’d love to hear your views on the business realities I’ve outlined, within the Football Association’s rules.


    having a mortgage, a big house loan if you will, is not illegal, or immoral, that’s my point.

    Paying for a house with cash, upfront, isn’t immoral or illegal either, in fact it’s better on your bank balance in the long term as you don’t incur interest charges.

    Same as football grounds, same as investment in playing squads.

    Theft is immoral and illegal, setting up rules and regulations to suit your own position at the detriment to others is immoral, but not illegal.

    City have not stolen anything from anyone, nor engineered rule changing to suit, they have so far competed with the FA framework, and in all likelihood within the European frameworks too.

    Ask yourself, why the sudden need to change the rules? Who’s pushing it forward? Who pushed the last big shakeup ‘thru in the late eighties? Now who are the immoral ones? (as a caveat, I suspect City may well have been a willing partner in the formation of the Prem, if not the ringleaders – to which I am suitably ashamed if true).

    None of us are completely safe from disaster, a giant meteor may well wipe out the planet next week, but all improbable (and some more probable) outcomes aside, City are a less risky business then the Arsenal due to said owner’s wonga, and sponsors are queing up to get a piece of the action – City are unquestionably on the way to the summit, Arsenal are stagnating at best, slipping behind the leaders in truth.
    Business, as in football, loves a winner, fans are stuck with their lot, as I know only too well.
    All I can go on are actual facts and trends as I see them, not woolly morality which ignores reality, and when my club is out of order, I’ll say so, but at this moment in time, they’re not (and when you learn of some of the misdeeds in our history, it’s not pleasant reading).
    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, and I believe the Arsenal are not as squeeky clean as some would have us believe.

  • So you send me a quote that says

    Tottenham Hotspur actually have the most expensive price per game ratio

  • Melon Man

    Oh come on Tony,

    I googled “most expensive tickets in the premier league” and got two instant reports, both of which state the Arsenal, which backs up reports I’ve read in pre-season when new ticket prices were announced, you can’t deny the Emirates stadium is one of the most expensive places to watch footy for the average fan, and certainly for the fan who wants the best seats they can spend upwards of £1200 for a seat – if I’m not mistaken only Chelsea have broken the thousand pound season ticket.

    Of course the cost of living in London is higher than elsewhere in the country, and in reality i don’t give a monkey’s about ticket prices at other clubs, it’s supply and demand, simple as that.

    What I do care about is hypocrisy and ill informed moralising about my club, and a lot of it comes at us from North London seemingly, who are no angels either and should expect to get some reasoned debate back, with a little mild teasing to liven it up a bit I suppose.

    At least no one has called me a Northern Cunt on this forum yet, but there’s time 🙂

    Your silence on the rest of my ramblings is deafening Tony, I will take that to mean you mostly agree with me, or that you think I’m a twat (just covering all my bases there).

  • Mike T

    Walter you are getting very very confused. Football isnt cycling and Armstrong, it seems was breaking rules. Whereas Man City or Chelsea or come to that Blackburn havent broken any rules.
    As for Mansor I think just about all of his money pumped into Man City has in effect been written off so wont be calling in any loans any time soon and whilst RA over at Chelsea hasnt quite fully done that yet the football club itself does not carry any real debt burden.
    You asked Melon if it were wrong for anyone to buy a house with a mortgage, well of course its not just as it wouldnt be wrong if someone inherited one and as a result became a homeowner without having to pay for it.
    What is sad is that in their attempt to stop Man City & Chelsea introduction of any form of FFP by the league will actualy work in these two clubs favour in that it will be near enough impossible for any other wealthy benefactor to come in and repeat whats happened at these two clubs.
    A quick question how do you feel about the likes of QPR, Fulham, Wigan,Reading, Southampton,Newcastle, Aston Villa, Sunderland,Liverpool being in the EPL? All these clubs have benefited from large sums being pumped in by their owners and whilst I would agree no where near as much as Chelsea and Man City I think it would be safe to assune without their benefactors quite a few wouldnt be in the EPL their places being taken by clubs in the Championship like Middlesboro or Leicester or say Cardiff. Oh wait a minute!
    As Melon points out take away any of the major revenue streams ,how about say Sky, from the EPL then many many clubs would go into freefall and that includes those with borrowings irrespective of what that money was used for.
    Wont happen you may say but you only have to look at what happened to the FL and ITV to see that the TV company overstretched itself and as a result the whole lot folded like a pack of cards.

  • WalterBroeckx

    In other countries doing what City and Chelsea have done is impossible.
    There are rules already there to prevent such things.

  • Melon Man

    All bickering aside for a moment, I’m just watching the Hillsborough report on the Beeb, and I’d like to say I’m very glad our football stadia are being upgraded in the modern game.
    My Daughter and her (now ex) boyfriend went to the Emirates to watch the Arse as he is a supporter, in a pre-season tournament, probably called the Emirates cup I think, and she had a great time, as I’m sure all visitors there do. (I also must confess me and the Missus have bought him two replica shirts over the years for his birthday, and still get the marketing bumpf regularly!).
    I feel a lot safer going to the Etihad now, I remember nearly getting trampled in a back street in Moss side as a young lad after a City vs Spuds game, by galloping police horses trying to stop scrapping rival fans – Maine Road was special, but I prefer my young relatives to be safer in the Etihad – the seventies might have been fairer and less competitive, but there was always the chance of a random kicking and a dart in the eye.
    Those poor families in Liverpool had their names blackened for 23 years, thank God the truth is finally out.

  • WalterBroeckx

    It maybe wasn’t a crime to use EPO when it wasn’t against the rules also you know.
    In fact there was a time that they used it because there was no rule against it. But it still was/is cheating your way to victory. They then found out about it and said it was forbidden.

    Just as is financial doping a form of cheating. And Platini wants to stop it. And not because of Arsenal as Platini hates Wenger more than he hates Mancini I think. But because of people seeing that in the end it will destroy football.

  • Mike T

    But Walter we arent in different countries. I cant quite follow your comment around EPO
    As for financial doping, what a lovely phrase, means different thigs to differnt people.
    One definition is that you borrow heavily to support the business.
    The other is that the owner puts thier own money in to support the business.
    I guess you have no problem with the first? But outrage at the second!
    Irrespective nowhere does it say its cheating and as Melon has said neither Chelsea or Man City have broken any rules. I suspect when the results of the 3 year monitoring period for FFP comes out that neither Chelsea or Man City will have any problems. Platini is playing to the crowd on this.

  • Melon Man

    Mike’s right, “financial doping” is a perjorative term for a business transaction which in all other areas of business is lauded as sound practice.
    Only in football is this term used, by parties who have their own selfish agenda to pursue at the expense of others, to curtail freedom to invest.

    As an example, when my dad retired from BT, he was in his early fifties, and needed to do something constructive to get out from under my mum’s feet. So he decided to buy a taxi, as my uncle was also a taxi driver.
    However, my dad paid in cash for his taxi upfront, whereas my uncle leased a car from the company he works for. This gave him several advantages, which were that he could work when he chose to, usually days only, and he wasn’t under any pressure to work too many hours, only as many as he felt comfy with, due to low overheads re interest payments etc.. There were tax advantages too, which meant he could claim the initial costs back over the years.
    He also had the freedom to stop whenever he wanted to, as he owned the car outright, no pressure to continue to work just to keep up with the payments.
    This fits your definition of financial doping, but all it really means is he had an advantage over fellow taxi drivers ‘thru his own astute business decision.
    Why is what Sheikh Mansour doing any different?
    If his investment is causing the Arsenal to fall down the pecking order, then tough!
    Do you think that when Arsenal were scrabbling around trying to raise the cash to compete with United’s revenues, steam rollering supporter’s groups and local residents, they gave a monkey’s for the clubs they would leave behind, like Spuds, Liverpool etc?
    This is from wikipedia btw, makes a good read –

    Is the way the Arsenal financially doped themselves right or wrong, or just business?

  • Super Singh

    People you just don’t get it? These so called football organisations that are supposed to look after football, have deemed it necessary to do something for the good of football or go the way of my favourite sport Boxing. Fight’s are rigged to maximise as much financial return to who ever, and football is not untouchable.

    It is only a matter of time when people get fed up of the same teams winning and interest will start waining then the TV companies start to withdraw?
    Call all this hogwash, but it is an opinion of lot of people. You can slate me now?

  • Mike

    elkieno September 12, 2012 at 8:57 am, Hi my friend ….I do not make up history neither do I use unsubstantiated rumours, I stated the TRUE facts and just a quick reply, regarding my comments regarding Henry Norris, if true facts are taken into account, Sir Henry DID buy the controlling interest in the then Woolwich Arsenal, Although it wasn’t proven it is a fact that Norris had connections on the FA and in fact he DID use all of his considerable influence (whether by honest or dishonest means) to get the vote in favour of Arsenal being promoted from 5th place!! Sir Henry was investigated by the FA in the 1920’s for making illegal payments,and he WAS finally banned from football in 1930. He WAS instigator and financiar of signing Herbert Chapman as manager in 1925, he was also respponsible for “negotiating” big name signings (the great Charles Buchan being one of them). Oh and by the way I am an Arsenal fan and have written 5 successful books on Arsenal History to date, so I think I have proven credentials, as I said people should check the facts before making statements.

    To be honest at the end of the day it’s all a game for money men and no different for Arsenal, ut’s all like monopoly to them and we are all on the perifery watching without any way of affecting the outcome whatsoever

    With Arsenal it is about the type of money men involved! The old board including PHill-Wood all made huge profit by selling out their shares to Stan Kronke, Hill-Wood is a buffoon, but he is no fool and he quickly back tracked from his criticism of Kronke once he saw the number of O’s he could make. He also engineered the block of Usmanov as this served his personal business interests elsewhere! Kronke is a profit maker he is not in this to see the football nor is he the least bit interested in success on the pitch, who has a history of taking his money out so will never invest lots of cash, Usmanov however is a man with the hunger to want to win at everything he is involved in and will spend as much as is needed to acheive his goal and to see trophies roll in, so Arsenal will play it tight and second fiddle until Stan Kronke decides he wants to cash in or bail out.

    By the way FFP is already a dead duck as the likes of Mansour have had experts working on ways around the income v expenditure and trust me it isn’t that difficult!

  • Melon Man

    Super Singh,

    sorry, I don’t recognise the link between the farce which is modern boxing, and the football industry. I also used to love watching boxing, but frankly it doesn’t interest me, and i can’t put my finger on why.
    Perhaps it’s my age, perhaps the fights are so one-sided until the last pay day for the best, I don’t know.
    Football is less easy to rig, but of course the way the Champions League (mostly populated by teams who are not, in fact, the champions at all) is seeded to prevent newcomers progressing – twice now City have faced the dreaded group of death, how crap is that for us, how much entertainment, well loads I suppose. To face the reigning champions of Holland, Germany and Spain is a bit much in the group stages, but then again, we’re the champions of England, so let’s see how that works out.
    The rewards for CL participation are morally wrong – I believe all teams under the European federation’s umbrella should be paid an equal share of the monies, regardless of division and silverware success, to be truly fair. Yep, Barcelona get the same share as Grimsby – not a percentage, the same amount exactly.
    Under the current rewards the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.
    I recognise this now benefits City especially, and I wish it were not so.

  • WalterBroeckx

    When money is in your eyes you get blind for reality outside…

  • Melon Man

    “When money is in your eyes you get blind for reality outside…”

    very true Walter, very true.

  • Stuart

    Melon Man,

    Come on, it’s quite clear he is talking about the rigging of matched rather than the specific sport of boxing.

  • Stuart

    How come my comments go into moderation these days?

  • Sav from Australia

    @Melon Man

    Your main argument seems to be is that there is nothing wrong with Mr Mansour pumping cash into Manchester City to strengthen the club. But there is something very wrong with that, several things actually.

    1) Price inflation for the rest of the league and the rest of the world of club football, in terms of salaries, transfer fees, etc. This is very dangerous for all clubs.

    2) Unfair advantage in resources that are extra-club in nature.

    3) The question as to why spend so much money? You say investment, others say marketing; I say it is a bit shady because return on investment is not guaranteed and there are so many more profitably ways to use half a billion in cash. I live in Australia and Mr Mansour could buy a mine that would basically give him license to print money – yet he uses the wealth in a loss-making enterprise that has a significant disadvantage against the established players in the industry. That’s opportunity cost.

    Now before you get angry and think I am having a go at you, I am not. I don’t think any decent person begrudges the loyal Man City support their moment in the sun. I think it is just the nature of such large quantities of cash at such a fast rate. If Mr Mansour had built the club infrastructure slowly and minimised his losses and slowly built the club revenue, I am sure he would have gained success in the long term without the huge losses.

    But here is the thing of it. Chelsea did it before you. And there was no big cry for FFP then. Do you reckon it is because your owner is Arab? Or do you reckon it is because their owner is Russian? Or a mafioso? Because you are right mate, the timing of it stinks of a conspiracy. Man Utd cheat their bloody guts out and still lose to Man City last season and immediately the FFP talk in England gets louder. So I agree with you there, there are definitely double standards.

  • Mihir

    Let’s take your dad’s taxi buying example! When he and your uncle bought taxis, they were competing on an even playing field with rules in place as to how much they could charge etc. What Mr. Abramovich , Sheikh Mansour and the Qataris are doing is buying up all the taxis in the market. So now when your dad wants to buy a second taxi, the car company is asking for a premium that he cannot afford.However, he still has to earn his bread so what does he do? Takes a loan at a very high interest rate and buys another one just to stay and compete in the market as that’s the only thing he knows how to do. That’s how football is and this is why rules are being brought into place to ensure that competition takes place within a set framework.
    Secondly, football involves trading with players being essential commodities. The kind of uproar we are seeing in terms of inflation is akin to one being seen in commodity trading. Instruments created for a set purpose were being exploited to make unreasonable profits. Hence, regulations were brought in there as well to control unscrupulous activity so that prices remain reasonable as well as sustainable.’Sustainable’ being the key word here. Certainly, the activities going on in clubs like Chelsea, Manchester City and PSG can be called anything but sustainable

  • Mike T


    I love all this about taxis. I dont know if you know but when local authouities set the rates for fares taxi firms dont have to charge that figure they can charge less if they want. Not really a level playing field.
    As or buying up players I have seen a well thought arguement that suggests that Arsenals policy of having a large number of top young players on good wages is in itself is as much of a concern.

    Bet you dont agree with that view!

    Now to player trading. Yes I see why its argued that players are commodities and Arsenal have benefited to a very very large extent by making a profit from trading players. Indeed some would argue that had it not been from selling players that Arsenal business model would fall to pieces.

    As for sustainabilty football hangs by a thread.Quite a dramatic statement but as has been pointed out removal or even a disterbance to any of the main revenue streams then the EPL will go into meltdown. The dependance on Sky monies alone is more of a concern to far more clubs and indeed the FA than the possibilty of SM or RA of stopping to put in their monies into there two clubs.

  • Melon Man

    Thanks for the considered responses guys,

    I do recognise that City and Chelsea have contributed to player inflation, and that our direct competitors are struggling to keep up, but it has always been this way in football, especially in the Premiership/ Champions League years – fans of clubs like City, Villa, Spuds and Everton, all European cup winners in the past, have watched our best players going to the Sky 4, wages being paid from TV revenues instead of match receipts, and kissed the silverware goodbye.

    How do these fine clubs compete when their stars have been poached regularly by your direct rivals? Spuds lost Carrick and Berbatov to United, City lost SWP to Chelsea, Villa lost Dwight Yorke, (and Barry and Milner to us now), Rooney from Everton to United, and the list goes on, I’ve missed loads out no doubt. As for buying the likes of Veron, skinny Ronaldo etc.. forget it. Georgios Samaras was City’s big buy one season for six million, whilst United were spunking £50 million per summer window of TV money.

    Regarding wage inflation, Barcelona and Real Madrid are still the highest payers in world football, and despite the doom mongerers, City and Chelsea do not spend more in wages, despite plainly having the resources to do so, even in this country Man United seem pay the highest wages to Rooney and now RVP.

    A prem squad can only contain 25 senior players, that’s your lot. Wage inflation as far as i can tell, hasn’t filtered lower than the Prem in the last ten years, and I’d love someone to prove it has.

    City and Chelsea can only buy so many players, no more, and despite the haters, are plainly working to become sustainable in the long term.

    The market will find a happy balance, as always, and probably there will be a new set of clubs at the top – that’s the way it works in life – no clubs will disappear forever, although some will go bust and have to start again.

    Yes, a lot of the top players will go to City and Chelsea, but not this transfer window – City missed out on RVP, Eden HAzard, Danielle De Rossi and Daniel Agger, due to all sorts of circumstances I suppose, I would say this is because City are balancing the books, as they always said they would, not fear of FFP regs, although it looks good.

    I hate the unfairness, but direct your anger at the root cause of the widening gap between the haves, and the have nots – the distribution of TV revenues, which demonstrably removes competition – the last twenty years has shown incontrovertably that as soon as you hitch a ride on the Champions League gravy train, you’re guaranteed an unfair spending advantage, not to mention the ability to attract those players from all over the world who will only play for a team in that competition.
    This scenario plays out all over Europe, the same clubs every year – it’s ridiculous that teams like (until recently) City, Newcastle, Villa have never even appeared in the League, never mind teams like Spuds who’ve been in it once.
    Scottish football has a window of opportunity for a shakeup now Rangers have relocated for a couple of years, thank God for bankruptcy I say, let someone else have a go.

  • elkieno

    Man what a debate I must say. I am working off a 8gb iPhone that I pretty much found, so I can’t really comment or read the links of ‘proof’!
    That sucks man, I feel like I am the kid in the corner watching adults talk politics!
    Now I know how a spurs fan feels!!
    ‘Boom boom tish’.
    Fair play to you all, especially mike who replied to me, but I can’t go back up to read it again and reply, would have to the page again.
    All that’s left to say is may the best team win!
    Common you Mighty Arsenal!!!

  • jax

    Would you know if we are still owed any substantial amounts from transfer dealings with clubs or if we ourselves owe anything that could cause us to be penalised under the FFP rules?

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    At a guess, Barca owe us for Cesc and Song, United for sicknote. I doubt City owe us anything, I would imagine they are cash buyers. It’s plausible we owe Everton, Southampton, Montpellier etc. as most clubs will extend credit to each other but the size of the transfers would be affordable to front load them – this is actually a persuasive transfer tactic, instead of £5 million a season for four years, they accept £10 million up front and £5 million the season afterwards, so whilst the total fee is lower, in the short term they are better off.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    In a way that explains the inability to spend vast sums – club A offer £20 million over four payments, club B offer £18 million with £10 million up front and club C offer £20 million up front. A,B & C could be Barca, United & PSG, not necessarily Spurs, Arsenal & City, the principle remains the same.

  • Esrom

    Best debate ever. Both sides putting forth points for and against various points raised. When the final conclusions are drawn and we don’t arrive at a consensus, we’ll agree to disagree, wait for the next article from the lovely authors of this site to stir the debate once again. In the main time, Arsenal keep running as a sustainable business, cuz the benefits might have been delayed (in terms of silverware), but any sensible person will see that the club has remained a success i.e. being competitive enough to maintain a very high standard (something very few clubs can do consistently and with really good players leaving). And as for City, (I’ve always had a very soft spot for the noisy neighbors of United), I have heard the club has been run with decency. I won’t fault the current management for the injection of cash (with the hope of eclipsing United), but don’t do it at the expense of said decency.

    Walter and Tony, thanks for Untold, I come here for enlightened debate and a reasoned argument. Used to enjoy Soccernet, but it’s pretty much rubbish now. Keep up the good work guys.

  • Melon Man

    I have very much enjoyed putting my pointof view over, and the rejoinders from you guys 🙂

    Thank goodness it didn’t descend into a slanging match, which certain fans on both sides seem to prefer 🙁

    I feel comfortable in discussing the less salubrious episodes in City’s history, and I thank the Arsenal fans who reciprocated.

    At the end of the day, we’re all rather partisan, football fans, but occasionally I would hope some frank discussions can take place.

    Through this debate, I think I have become to realise, in my opinion, the root of all football’s evil comes from TV revenues, specifically the uneven distribution of them to the very top clubs.

    Imagine if all professional clubs in Europe were given the exact same cut every season?

    Maybe Crewe Alexandra could afford to attract and keep many of their young starlets, instead of flogging them off to keep going?

    How much better would the academies and training facilities of the little clubs become?

    How much better would our national team become from grassroots on up?

    That’s my dream, doomed to fail I guess in my lifetime 🙂