Premier League Financial Fair Play should be agreed today

by Tony Attwood

Today is the day when the Premier League try and sort out their own new set of regulations to control wage inflation and endless investment by Qatar.  Chelsea, who despite their richess know they ultimately cannot match the state backed Manchester City have agreed to go along with a cap on wages and a  financial fair play deal.

Roman Abramovich has always claimed to be an instigator of FFP with Uefa, but then seemed to shy away from the approach as Chelsea failed to get a stranglehold on the Premier League and Champions League.  But according to the inside word they are now back onside.

Only 14 votes are needed to bring in new regulations, and with Chelsea voting in favour of proposals put forward by Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Man U, it looks like change will happen.

The Famous Four have had to compromise of course, now allowing losses of £35m a season averaged over three years to go through.  The belief at the Emirates Stadium is that this deal is better than no deal.  Manchester City, Fulham, West Brom and Aston Villa are all still against the move.  The first two because they are utterly dependent on investment and the last two because they are looking for buyers, who will be put off by the fact that they can’t do what Man City has done in recent years.

The wages increase regulations will also be changed so that it does not apply to any club that has a wages bill of under £50 million or so.  The prime benefit here is that newly promoted sides will have a chance to build a squad that can stand a chance of maintaining Premier League status.

The agreement doesn’t go as far as Uefa’s agreement, but it is going to make it harder for Uefa to back out of their deal by giving paltry fines to clubs who fail to abide by the regulations.  If the Premier League make their rules stick, and Uefa will be very embarrassed if they fail to make change happen.

Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool have also put forward one new rallying call.  They claim that if wholesale change does not happen soon then England will end up like Scotland was (until this season) and Spain still is – a two team league (although Real Madrid’s collapse this year might mean we have to re-write that bit).

If you are a regular reader you’ll know Untold has been arguing in favour of FFP for over two years.  There have been many correspondents who have said that it simply will not happen, but this sudden move to bring it into the Premier League, is a major step forward.

Of course if it doesn’t happen on Thursday I’ll look even more stupid than usual – but at least I can blame the Press Association for some of this.

But let’s hope it does.

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46 Replies to “Premier League Financial Fair Play should be agreed today”

  1. Which club gets money from Qatar, apart from PSG? Fantastically accurate. I suppose you mean Abu Dhabi-owned City, now with revenues of £230M+ and rising fast?

  2. What an utter hypocrisy! You don’t give monkeys about anyone else but yourself! Its never about fair play bullocks, its always about what suits you best. Why don’t you come clean rather than be two faced pretending its good for the game!!! Logically how’s that right? Your way or no right way and you dare call that fair? You got a hard on pushing this deal through to propel you back to the top ( usual boring suspects ….manure, arseholes, livershite! How’s that fair play?

  3. Somewhat concerned that the PL could have differing Regs to Uefa. Divide and rule so close to home is not the answer. And what is the corruptly meandering position of FIFA in all this?

  4. blueshy,
    talking about hypocrisy. You also don’t give monkeys about anyone else but yourself.
    You only want your bubble to stay intact as long as possible.

    And if the majority of the league wants it… then you have to deal with it.

  5. Where in any business around the world would 14 competitors be able to stop a company investing in its self, and trying to make themselves the best they can be just because they have the money to do so.

  6. I guess more clubs will have to fall in line with Arsenal’s ticketing policy to maximise revenue from Matchday, in order to compete. That’s fair, isn’t it?

  7. The rules will clearly favour those clubs with the biggest revenues and will law our teams such as Man Utd, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool ….yep the very teams pushing for it. What is illogical to me is denying a free market where investment comes into the whole sport will reduce the amount of finance circulating and will lead to teams having greater debts. However as the rules do not focus on debt this is not seen as a problem. Why no focus on debt? Ask Man Utd?

  8. @ Rolee
    Is that the same ticket policy that includes champions league games and fa cup games on your season ticket or
    the one where at all the other clubs you have to pay for your tickets separately and if you support man Utd are forced to buying tickets separately.
    or is that the same ticket policy where fans of clubs like sunderland are now paying £12 less a ticket than last year.
    So what exactly is your point ?????

  9. Far from RA falling into line it seems to me that he has out smarted the gang of four and beat them all hands up.
    The gang of 4 wanted no owner input now we hear there will be and up to £105 million over a rolling 3 year period.
    The wage cap which I believe there are two proposals one a set figure each year which Chelsea are ok with but the likely winner will be a % of current wages (say its 5% meaning as Chelsea have a much higher wage bill than everyone bar Man City will mean Chelsea can grow by more than most in terms of cash year on year) and finaly the no restriction in terms of spending of monies raised in terms of commercial income.

  10. @highamsparkgunner, can you really not see my point? Really? This will lead to increased ticket prices across the board as clubs look to stay competitive, you can bet your……oh no wait, don’t bet, you’ll need to save your shillings if you’re going to get to watch your team.

  11. Interesting and thoughtful contribution to the debate by Blueshy. Impressive choice of moderate and non-emotional language.

  12. @rolee
    not really you jumping on the lets knock arsenal bandwagon as according to the papers they are the only ones who charge high prices.
    i was waiting on you to start saying 8 years next !!

  13. @highamsparkgunner, I was merely asking a question and seeing as this is an Arsenal blog I thought it relevant that I should base my question on Arsenal’s ticketing policy. Fair enough I’d say, although we seem to have a different interpretation on what’s fair.

  14. @rolee
    So how is Arsenals ticket policy any different to
    Spurs , Man City , Fulham , Chelsea etc etc etc
    I think all clubs in the premier league look to maximise revenue from ticket sales , but obviously if the demand isn’t there in the first place the other teams cannot justify higher ticket prices as stadiums will be half empty hence negating your original comments

  15. @highamsparkgunner, some clubs look to maximise revenue through commercial sponsorship instead and don’t go down the road of extorting their fans. Like they do in Germany for example.

  16. FFP is being put in place for the benefit of the whole of football because player cost inflation is killing huge numbers of clubs. Arsenal may benefit disproportionately from it (thanks to the fact that they have been brave enough to invest in the right things, like a new stadium) but all of football will also benefit because its costs will go down. The most expensive contracted players will be replaced by cheaper players – it’s happening at Chelsea already.
    If costs go down and if TV money etc. goes up then the pressure to put ticket prices up will fall. Clubs will actually have greater freedom to price games as they feel they need to rather than be forced into charging levels which may be seen to be excessive.
    The one point I might take issue with Tony on is which side of the fence a club sits on depending on whether or not it wishes to be sold to new owners. Spurs have been trying to sell for years and yet they support FFP. Liverpools new(ish) owners actually stated that they only came into the EPL because of the imminent introduction of FFP ‘because it makes doing business more predictable’.
    Each club may have their own individual reasons for supporting FFP or not. But one thing unifies just about all of them – and that is that wage costs are too high and are crippling the game. While costs remain at these levels ticket prices inevitably stay high or even go higher.

  17. @insideright, ” (thanks to the fact that they have been brave enough to invest in the right things, like a new stadium) “, let’s be honest now, Arsenal will benefit from it because they have had the luxury of the CL cash cow for two decades now which saw them and a couple of others accelerate out of view of the domestic competition in terms of revenue. This is self-serving from Arsenal, let’s not try to pretend otherwise.

  18. @rolee
    You cannot compare the german model to the english model as it is completely different as is the owndership of the clubs.
    Maybe 15 years ago we could have gone down the German route but those days are gone.
    also apart from your one example Germany what other examples can you actually give ?
    think you will struggle

  19. Rolee,

    May I point out that the German model also is based on strict financial rules!

    In Germany nobody can own more than 49% of a club
    In Germany clubs are punished when they spend reckless and teams could even be relegated when teams do spend reckless or they can forbid them to do transfers.

  20. The sugar daddies have been inflating transfer fees, wages and agents fees across the board, thus ticket prices have had to rise to even try to compete with the clubs who have oil rich owners gifting them money which they did not generate themselves.

    Football is a sport. Trophies should be earned, not bought by sugar daddies.

    How can anyone justify the hard work that clubs put in day in day out for decades to try to compete in a sport and then watch some petrol dollar sugar daddy pump 1 billion, as in the case of Chelsea or Man City, into their clubs that they did not earn, and then just beat everyone in sight?

    All people want is fairness. It’s not just Arsenal, it’s every decently run club in the country that doesn’t have a sugar daddy.

  21. I seem to have upset few gooners with my tirade! Thanks to the likes of aka ‘Gunner’ ( too many of them around) shall continue till idiots like him start arguing with facts based on extensive research that excludes the likes of daily shite, mirror etc . He is so obsessed with ‘sugga daddies’ and oil sponsorship he quite clearly overlooked who sponsors arsenal ‘s stadium! Emirates is owned by same sugga daddy who owns city!!!!! I’m sure arsenal brigade will find plenty of excuses to justify their hypocrisy.

  22. blueshy,
    without realizing you put the finger on the spot. All clubs get sponsorship money. But in Arsenal we do this based on market prices and negotiations with companies who want to sponsor.
    Those sponsoring companies don’t owe Arsenal. As for the sugar daddy teams they do.
    It doesn’t matter if it is Emirates or Nike or Adidas or Shell or … who sponsors a football club. As long as those sponsors are not owners of the club it can be considered as a fair deal.

    Except Chevrolet and MU. As the wheeler dealer got thrown out after the deal was made public 😉

  23. Rolee,

    Just as now City and Chelsea it wasn’t against the rules. So they could do it. The difference is that what Arsenal had was small change compared to Chelsea and City.

    May I ask you that you then was against such a thing and now no longer?

    If there comes no form or regulation then the whole thing will explode sooner or later like the housing boom that we are still suffering from.

    But if a majority finds that the financial doping should stop then there is nothing you can do about it.

    Let’s move to the German model. Clubs not owned by one rich guy, a very competitive league where you can win the league one season and go down the next or where you can come up and win the league in your first season. I think it happened to Kaiserlauteren. yes it did.
    And most of all: cheaper tickets in general.

  24. Yes and Arsenal did it based on a 37.000 stadium. So what was holding back the others one could ask?

  25. Lets hope this happens, financial doping is just as bad to the game as drugs; competition should be fair.

  26. Blueshy– If you cannot see the Irony inherent in your comment, there is no way to reply to it.

    Rolee– What to say? Do the big four stand to benefit if this goes through? Probably yes. Is that why they are doing it? No. Do you honestly believe they could persuade 10 or more other clubs to go along with this if there was not a greater benefit?

    In the end you have a lot of owners terrified that they are moving into a position where they either drive themselves into oblivion attempting to compete with unlimited funds, or simply give up trying to compete.

  27. Walter, the German model would be ideal. I’m not advocating that there shouldn’t be some form of control. I just believe this rules will bring about a situation that they allegedly seek to stop, a league where only a couple are able to compete.

  28. Ruffustan, with all due respect you’re being extremely naive if you think that the “big four” are doing this for the good of the game.

  29. Lets hope there is FAIR play on the feils as well then and not the usual biased shown to a certain club who sit nicely at the top of the premiership

  30. The Championship and the other Football Leagues already have some form of FFP limiting losses for clubs. Uefa’s FFP restrictions have already come into effect. So if the tier below has it, and the tier above has it, it only makes sense for the Premier League to adopt it as well.

    It will not be a panacea to the problems of the sugar daddy, and it will not in and of itself lead to benefits to Arsenal. Yes, Arsenal support it because it benefits them. If it is passed, it would mean that at least 14 of the clubs in the PL feel that it would benefit them more than maintaining status quo. The ones that don’t feel so, will oppose it, and hopefully, fail.

    The details will be important, and there must be a mechanism to allow clubs to invest in their team in a responsible manner. But it is a start, and legislation is a long, continuous process. Let’s see how it goes.

  31. Tony,
    you don’t look stupid at all as the news is coming out now that the clubs have voted in favour of new FFP rules.

  32. The premiership has no choice but to embrace a form of FFP, As stated before the lower leagues have already done so, so those clubs relegated would really struggle with the new system and find it impossible to gain promotion, and all clubs coming up would already adhere to a form of FFP and would soon out-vote the oilers and sugar daddies, leaving them up sh*t creak. They really have no choice in the long run.

    Amazing that people are still trying to fight this. Just hope in the years to come governments don’t use this new football model to base privatised industries on.

  33. Rolee– Believe me I have no Naiveté about how my club and the other big clubs work, and as I said at the start, they will probably benefit from this.

    I just believe that rather than some conspiracy to dominate the league, this is coming down to the big clubs finally recognising that it is in their interests to ensure the league survives.

    We are in a situation where most businesses aim for wages to be around 30% percent of turnover.

    Sports are seen as different, but 60% is regarded as the warning point. The league average is over 70% and rising.

    Taking Arsenal as case as one of the big 4 (so better off than most). We passed 60% for the first time this year and wages are accelerating. As you have pointed out, we have squeezed as much out of matchday income as we can. We get a boost next year because of the new TV deal and sponsorships, but that only holds things off for a while. If Arsenal can see a crisis brewing, you can be sure its way closer for other clubs.

    I just don’t see what else we can do. We can dither until clubs start collapsing wholesale. Sponsorship like the Germans would require a complete revolution in the way the game functions. If there is a better way to do this, I’d hope one of the clubs would suggest it. After all they could bulldoze it through against the big 4’s wishes if they wanted to. The current proposal might now be perfect, if 2/3 of the clubs vote for it, they must thing it will help them in the long term

  34. @SouthernGunner, Believe it or not but the majority of transfers involve no fee at all, it is only a small percentage that agree a fee. World wide roughly 10% of transfers involve a fee, and out of those only a very small percent are substantial. The freakish transfers are the ones in the papers.

    People need to remember that the transfers involving a fee are the minority.

  35. Critics say, “Oi, the big four are doing it out of their own self-interest.”

    I say, look at Rangers! I guess you could call it self-interest not to end up the same way, but that seems a bit of an understatement.

  36. Think they have bottled this one a bit, the huge losses,allowed, the allowed increase in wages, rather than wages as a percentage of turnover. On my first impressions at least, this is a watered down proposal of eufa. Is this just politics and compromise or will this lead to something?

  37. Walter

    you make an interesting point about sponsors being owners in clubs for Adiads own a sizeable chunk (10%) in Bayern Munich who just by chance they are the biggest sposnsors. I also seem to recall that another major shareholder is their second biggest sponsor.
    I bet UEFA dont disallow the moneys recived by way of sponsorship when looking at Bayerns FFP calculations


    I havent paced it out but London Heliport on the Thames is as close to SB as the old Battersea powerstation

  38. FFP doesn’t disallow sponsorships by anybody, as long as they are deemed to be at market value. Even if they are above market value, only the amount that is considered over and above the market value will count towards disqualifying the club. Not the entire deal itself.

  39. M Thomas,
    Does that mean the sponsoring companies are getting a proportion of their outlay back through the earnings they gain as being a shareholder?

  40. Rufusstan,
    Your typical scenario of 30 percent of turnover, and upwards is not an adequate model. As I see it, and it’s only a few items:
    The new mega-TV deal kicks in this June, not next year.
    A CL qualifier will add 35M, typically.
    Payments from the departed x-Cesc, Nasri, RVP, Song may still be on the way as per a schedule which we are not privy to. Ditto on the schedule of payments from the real estate deal – where/how do you factor those in?
    And we don’t know what other sponsorship deals are pending or in the pipeline.
    Plus with Theo staying and Wilshere soaring, there will be a merchandising bounce, though probably not enough to offset the loss of Van Pursestrings jersey sales.
    In sum, there’s more here going into Arsenal’s coffers than I see you factoring in so far.

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