Is Financial Fair Play really all for (or because of) Arsenal?

By Walter Broeckx

Whenever Untold publishes an article about FFP rules we get a few supporters of the big money teams telling us what we should write about. And FFP is a thing we are not really allowed to talk about according to those supporters of the benefactor clubs.

But we don’t care as we write what we want. So if again you want to comment and tell us that we shouldn’t write about it: just leave it, it will not matter. Just wasting your time – although if you do like wasting your time that’s fine.

Another thing is that because of Arsenal supporting the FFP rules these writers make it look as if Arsenal is the force behind all this, and that it is only Arsenal that will benefit from this.

Now let us (just for the hell of it) try to look at the consequences of this way of thinking: Arsenal is imposing FFP rules upon the sugar daddy clubs.

Of course Arsenal is in favour of Financial Fair Play. We have been running our club like that for a while now. I think some 15-16 years. Maybe even longer.   It is the way to run a club in the long run and to make sure that club stays there in the long run.

It is also a bit of a frustrating run at times but as long as our clubs continues this policy I can be sure that my children (they already support Arsenal) and their children (yet to be born) and even their children will be able to support Arsenal. And this is a great thing. To know that the future of our club is in good hands and that it is safe.

But now we have two sets of FFP rules coming in. The Uefa rules and the PL rules.

Let us just look at the ones that have been around the longest: the Uefa FFP rules.  So if we would believe the supporters of the “sugar daddy” (“benefactor”) clubs it is Arsenal that is behind these rules.

Arsenal supports these rules that is the truth. But was it Arsenal that wrote those rules? No. It was Uefa that have written those rules.

Did Platini do this to make Arsenal benefit from it? Do you really think that Platini and Wenger are two best friends? Forget that please. This is a ridiculous thought. Everybody who follows those two people know that on more than one occasion they have clattered into each other and have different opinions on most things.

Because you maybe don’t realise it but FFP rules don’t come out of the head of Arsenal or Wenger, nor even Untold. No they come out of the heads of hundreds of club directors from all countries in Europe. Because those clubs from smaller countries are now almost in position of not being to compete in Europe.

There were times when Dutch, Romanian, Yugoslavian, Scottish and hell even clubs from Belgium could compete and get in to European finals. Now these days we have finals with teams from England, Germany, Italy and Spain. And that’s it.

The days that a club like Feyenoord, Red Star Belgrade, Anderlecht, Club Brugge, just to name a few could get in to a European final are over.

It is clubs from those smaller countries outside the big 4 (and I refer to the European countries big 4) that have asked Uefa to do something about it. Why are they not allowed to compete with the best as the could in the days when football was not completely about money? Are they some kind of lesser species that have lesser rights? If so, just say that you think like that.

But for me a club from the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Austria etc has as much right to win the CL as any other club from the European big 4.

But they can’t compete. And part of the reason they can’t compete, apart from the restrictions because of their geography, is that they can’t compete because they have to live within their means.

In many (if not most) countries the local football associations have implemented a form of financial fair play.  It is not always called that, but in those countries clubs have to behave in a specific way to keep their finances in order. And if they don’t do it they could face punishment.

It is for those clubs that Uefa has started these FFP rules for all clubs in Europe. Not for Arsenal. That we could benefit is just a side effect. And even then it also means that Arsenal will never be able to do a City or a Chelsea in the future. Even if Usmanov would get his claws on Arsenal completely he still will not be able to do the same trick as those two clubs did. So even City and Chelsea fans should be grateful for those FFP rules.

The same goes for the fact that the European Community has been working on this matter for a few years and asks for change. Again do you really think that it is Arsenal who is telling all those politicians to do this? As if Mr Wenger, Mr Gazidis, or hell even the Hill-Wood family would have that much influence. The thought alone makes me laugh.

The reason why all those governing bodies are working on FFP rules is not Arsenal. That is because not only Arsenal would benefit from FFP rules. No in fact only a few clubs will not benefit. Only a handful will have to change their working ways from today. Manchester City, Chelsea and PSG, obviously.  Plus a few others in the UK that rely on a benefactor such as Fulham.  Plus a few whose owners are looking to sell to a new benefactor.  Plus a few of the billionaire clubs in Russia.   Plus Malaga, although their finances seem to be a mess so it is hard to tell what they are up to.  (Maybe I have missed a few, but you get the idea).

I think  99 % of the clubs in Europe will benefit from the introduction of FFP rules it in the long run.

Uefa, and the  EC are doing all this for those 99% clubs. If you don’t like it as a Chelsea, City or PSG fan, that is understandable. You are entitled to dislike it. You are entitled to think that the one with the biggest wallet has the right to buy titles.  Or to follow the argument of (I think) one of the PSG board, “these other clubs have been investing for 30 years.  It is unfair that we can’t catch up in just a few years” (not an exact quote but it was something like that).

But remember that 99 % of the other clubs in Europe think otherwise.  It’s not just Arsenal. Or a blog that supports Arsenal that is telling Uefa and the EC what to do.

It is the ruling of those bodies (like them or not and that is an entirely different matter) that will bring change in football. Not Arsenal.


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50 Replies to “Is Financial Fair Play really all for (or because of) Arsenal?”

  1. My only question was, where was the outcry when the Italian clubs were out spending everyone back in the 80’s? Why did it take the English clubbs to become dominant for UEFA to pipe up?

  2. Walter, thank you for bring some European sanity into this debate and putting the issue rightly in its wider context.

  3. Walter

    Whilst I really enjoy exchanges on this blog for me you have really missed the point as to why many come back so hard when you and many others rub their hands with glee about the impact that FFP will have.

    Most on here take a moral stand not because they really care about the financial well being of Chelsea or Man city or PSG or come to that any other club the reason for their stance is to seek an explanation as to why Arsenal would,if you curb the likes of Man City and Chelsea,win trophies.Did any of you really care about how say Wigan, Fulham or Blackburn were run before RA turned up at Chelsea?

    The issue was, according to UEFA stopping the build up of debt , there are simplier ways of doing this rather than imposing FFP.Quite simply debt shown on a balance sheet is clear all the ifs and buts and possible work arounds of FFP will be its ultimate un doing.

    What industry in its right mind would would try to stem the flow of new money from outside?

    As for 99% of clubs wanting FFP their is no evidence other than your gueestimate after all only 66% voted for it in the EPL

    As they say be careful what you wish for because to remove the huge money that has trickled down from benefactor clubs will not secure the long term stability of Ajax, Genk, or the likes for quite simply many of them will never be able to compete outside their domestic leagues and quite possibly be less competive than they are now for the huge money pouring into Spain to England to Italy to Germany none of the countries you mention Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Austria stand any chance of winning the CL.

    From ,I think 1888, till about 1983 gate reciepts in English football were shared between home and away clubs it ensured clubs and indeed the league reatined a competive edge but the big boys of the day (Man U, Liverpool, Everton, Arsenal and Spurs) managed to get rid of this rule and the levy that was shared down through the leagues. Odd that this destablising factor has been so easily forgotten for it has done as much damage to the finacial well being of English football than benefactors within the game.

  4. M Thomas,

    You have adopted a scatter gun approach to FFP, which is a relatively simple piece of regulation designed to curb disproportionate and totally unjustifiable monies being poured into the game, not by ‘benefactors’ as you described them, but oligarchs, and foreign state sponsored owners.

    You also refer to football as being an ‘industry’ which is a strange way of describing what is a competitive, professional game between football clubs, of which the respective clubs are run as businesses.

    If you pare the money back to its basics, clubs and their teams managed to compete in their appropriate football leagues sustained by gate receipts, sponsorship (advertizing) monies and the sale of players.

    The oligarchs have changed all that by pouring obscene amounts of money into a limited number of clubs, and distorted the ability of the other teams to compete for the services of the best players available.

    The best players in a team, inevitably mean the most trophies won.

    This has already happened in Spain, where between them Barca and Madrid have won the la Liga title since the middle ages, it seems.

    FFP is trying to produce a level playing field where all teams will have a chance of winning their respective leagues, and not just Chelsea, Man City or Man Utd (in the EPL) every year.

    FFP is flawed, but how can you not understand the intent behind its introduction? Do you support one of the three teams named, perhaps?

  5. M Thomas,
    Your point about revene sharing is interesting but one sided. Were the big clubs truly not to care about the smaller clubs, they could decide to sell individual tv rights. Currently these are shared which, outside of an attempt to level the playing field, looks ludicrous given that clubs like Wigan can’t even fill their own ground let alone attract tv viewers and hence advertising interest and revenue.
    At the end of the day, the clubs have always been businesses. It is the advent of sugar daddies that has allowed some clubs the opportunity to have an unfair advantage, not home clubs keeping their own revenues. Why should Man united, a fantastically well run business, subsidise Wigan or Fulham, beyond the charitable splitting of tv revenues?.

  6. M Thomas

    FFP does not curb the flowing of external money into the industry. There are no restrictions on building football infrastructure, investing in youth etc. The restrictions are on money flowing out of the industry in the form of wages.

  7. By the way, I’m not sure to what extent FFP will benefit Arsenal either. There will be loopholes to be exploited (and perhaps to be closed as they become apparent). The intention, or at least the stated intention, coupled with the obvious need to do something, are something I agree with. In practice, I’m cynical, but willing to wait and see how it works out.

  8. Red Arse

    FFP is full of potential pit falls a simple one being the regulations are euro based and as we know not all countrys use the euro so what exchange rate is used? Say for instance that Arsenal are within the 5 million euro alloawble sum based on excange rate of 1.10 but due to market changes and bang the sum now goes over. Show me where in the regulations it covers this.
    Or what about if RA uses his contacts to get them to submit a £35 million bid for shirt sponsorship knowing that another comapny with say like Gazprom to get them to pay a hugely infated £36 million .It will be difficult for UEFA to say that the winning bid isnt allowable as its below Man Utds £50 million dealand there would be eveidence of a losing bid
    Long before RA turned up at Chelsea there were benefactors and yes their input shaped their teams success. Liverpool became a huge club based on sucess but in no small part due to the Moores family who because of their Liverpoool roots also threw money at Everton who likewise won leagues and FA cups.
    Its interesting you talk about Barcelona and Real and then Clock Ender in his comment talks about TV revenues being shared oh the irony.
    FFP isnt trying to produce a level playing field its trying to protect the bigger clubs and with that UEFAs influence and wealth and that goes back to my point as to why so many on here line up behind FFP because its because they see it as clipping the likes of Chelsea (my club) and Man Citys wings.

  9. M Thomas,
    Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.
    Be afraid. Be very afraid…….

  10. Clock End Rider

    Not paranoid a realist. The strange thing is I doubt Chelsea will have too many concerns with meeting the EPL regulations and I would suspect that not that much of a concern with the FFP

  11. Shrad

    There are no restrictions or set objectives within Uefas FFP dealing with player wages.Of course restrict beneafctors input and possibly some clubs wont be able to pay as much but the huge increase in TV money coming into EPL coupled with the allowable wage growth allowed in the EPL version of FFP certainly wont see wages drop

  12. Nope. Wages won’t drop. They’ll just have to be sustainable. Thereby restricting the money flowing out of the ‘industry’.

  13. Personally I’d like to forget FFP – too many loopholes and as M Thomas has suggested, it is there to protect the bigger clubs.
    Example being that super massive clubs revenues will always dwarf a leagues mid tablers. They would always be able to spend more than the smaller teams so I can’t see it changing much.

    Personally I’d like to see a Fifa imposed world wide salary and spending cap on all professional clubs. Every one can spend up to a certain figure per year and not a penny more.

    To me it’s the only way to make the sport truely competitive.

  14. Shrad

    I dont know if you have read a book called “My Father and other working class hereos” by an authour called Gary Imlach
    The book plots changes to football around the time of the abolition of the maximum wage. Its a good read and exposes warts and all the way in which football tried to cap wages.
    In reality there were many ways around the rules some so bltant as to make you laugh. For instance in the close sesaon players were paid out side their contract to paint the ground!
    Ok I cant see RVP painting at Old Trafford but the point is the more you try to regulate these things the more someone finds away around them.I will give you an obvious one. Drogba along with other Africans have there own foundations into which a huge% of their income through football goes.In Drogbas case he is building a hospital in the Ivory Coast. So how about if his club were only to gives him on 50% of his wages and the benefactor himself donates an equivelent sum to the foundation.

  15. Goonerpete,

    I think M Thomas is saying the exact opposite of what you believe he meant.

    M Thomas, you clearly have never even read the FFP regulations and your comments about the salaries not being included in the rules is sheer nonsense.

    It is not worth my time to chat with someone who is talking out of ignorance.

    The profit, revenue income and relationship to the monies payable in salaries is the core of the proposals — so do yourself (and me) a favour and go to the UEFA blogsite and read the FFP rules first! Its what intelligent people do!

  16. M Thomas

    I never said it’s a perfect system, nor that it won’t face challenges in implementation. I recognise all those factors. That in itself doesn’t make the idea of some form of wage control wrong. Wage caps, far more stringent ones, are adhered to in the US. I’m not sure exactly how they do it, but I am yet to hear of a scandal where a team was paying more money to its players than it said. It is possible to do. As I said, loopholes will come further into the light as FFP comes into play. These can be closed later. At which point, some people will again complain about how this is unfair.

  17. Hi Shard,

    I suppose it is how you define these things, but it is not technically a ‘wage cap’.

    For example, if a club had a turnover (revenue stream) of £100m and the salaries could not exceed 60% of that (i.e. £60m) they could pay players what they like within that total.

    So, if we artificially say that there are only 11 players, they could pay the top 3 £15m a year. The other 8 could be paid an equal portion of the remaining £15m, or the next 3 could be paid £3m each (£9m) leaving the remaining players to share [60 – 45 – 9) = £6m.

    In other words, the players individual salary are open to negotiation, within the maximum calculated within the overall sum.

    Easy! 🙂

  18. RA

    I’s just that ‘Wage cap’ is easier off the tongue (or fingers) than ‘Cap on a club’s spending on wages, at a percentage of their turnover’ 🙂

  19. RA

    One issue I just thought of. Would the clubs’ accounting practices change in the sense that will they be strictly regulated as to what heads they are to put certain types of expenses under? Such as, I believe Arsenal’s accounts give wages of both playing and non-playing staff under one head. (Not sure this is true, but I’ve heard it often) Would rules be made and enforced for these? Can they be?

    Also, the timing of when accounts are released. Will there be a certain time before/of the season where clubs have to publish their accounts on the basis of which their spending will be regulated? Or will clubs be free to choose a time most convenient to them?

    As you can see, I will not be answering my own questions here, and expect you to give up being a ventriloquist’s dummy and speak up for yourself 😛

  20. Shard, 🙂

    I am a Yank, but as a qualified accountant I am happy to advise you that, here in the UK, all public limited companies are subject to the statutory requirements of the Companies Act. In addition, there are other regulatory requirements that they must conform with.

    That aside, I do not think there is a problem because there are clearly stated key audited requirements specific to FFP that the clubs will have to produce and will be examined by independent accountants and lawyers appointed by UEFA.

    As I said earlier, FFP is like every other regulation, capable of being amended in the light of experience.

    For example, when it was drafted, the rules talk about certain revenue streams – match day income, TV rights income, competition revenue income and advertising income and so on.

    These together withe profit line would establish whether or not the club was adhering to the requirements of the FFP with regard to the calculation of salaries and transfer fees. All straightforward (ish).

    But already Man Shitty have tested the waters by ‘earning’ a preposterous £400m sponsorship deal with ……….. the airline of the State where the owners of the club reside! 🙂

    In one mighty deal, Shitty’s profit and loss account will look great, and that new ‘revenue’ means that the amount attributable to salaries is massively increased.

    These sponsorship contracts are supposed to be arms-length commercial deals — oh, yeah? Think the owners can show other clubs who are the beneficiaries of such largesse? I think not.

    But hold on, PSG now owned by the State of Qatar [one of M Thomas’s kindly ‘benefactors] has entered into a non-sponsorship agreement to ‘promote’ the ………….. state of Qatar. I have never come across such a thing in my experience. They own the club and then pay it obscene money to — promote itself.

    It is this sort of thing that will make FFP stand or fall, not the format of the companies audited accounts information.

    Without being checked, PSG will win the French league every year by 20 points or more. Chelsea a club on the verge of going bankrupt were bought and huge money pumped in to it, and surprise, surprise they bought the league title etc.

    Then an even wealthier ‘benefactor’ bought Shitty, poured in a billion quid and ….. well there’s a surprise they won (bought) the league! And M Thomas can see nothing wrong with that?

    The rules are too complex to spell them all out here, and to simplify them I have taken certain liberties to try and make things clearer — so I hope I have succeeded! 😀

  21. RA,

    I think it does..and if it doesn’t the failing is mine, not yours. So I guess, in terms of accounting, things should go smoothly. What is unknown is whether the basis of the accounts themselves will be looked at effectively.

    RA, another question. What are the rules on earning naming rights on something which you do not own? Such as ManCity’s stadium?

  22. Shard,

    A very good question, and the sort that needs to be referred to the governing body, so altho’ I could make an informed guess at formulating an answer, it might be more sensible to tell you how UEFA will try and deal with that and other related questions, as per their guidelines.

    [Don’t forget, an area bound to cause UEFA problems are the EU laws on employment protection, human rights, and restrictive practices] that means that with those laws, common sense goes out the window and some arcane logic makes 2 + 2 = 5. 🙂

    Anyhow, the UEFA Executive Committee approved the formation of a two-chamber Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) (in June 2012) to oversee the application of the UEFA Club Licensing System and Financial Fair Play Regulations.

    the CFCB is an UEFA Organ for the Administration of Justice. It is also competent to impose disciplinary measures in the case of non-fulfilment of the requirements, and to decide on cases relating to clubs’ eligibility for UEFA club competitions.

    Under Article 34 of the procedural rules governing the UEFA Club Financial Control Body, CFCB members remove themselves from cases, on their own initiative or upon request if they themselves, their association or a club belonging to that association, or another club with which they are connected in any other way, are directly concerned, or if their independence or impartiality is in doubt.

    The UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations, are being implemented over a three-year period, with clubs participating in UEFA club competitions having their transfer and employee payables monitored since the summer of 2011, and the break-even assessment (profit and loss) covering the financial years ending 2012 and 2013 to be assessed during 2013/14.

    Are you reading this Mr Thomas? 🙂

    Basically, Shard, old stick, your guess is as good as mine. I hope that helps!! 🙂

  23. Red Arse

    I know that I am not intellegent indeed I would suggest that someone that thinks they are are anything but!

    Yes I have read the FFP regulations but I repeat again FFP does not state that its objective is to stop money flowing out of the game by way of wages. Ok I will agree that on thier site they make comment around keeping wage inflation in check but no where in the objectives agreed with the EU does wage control feature as a specific objective

    I find it interesting that you want to put words in my mouth.

    However you are right if you think that I dont have a problem with an individual putting their money into whatever they want be it football , rugby or whatever. Its their money and they should be able to do whatever they want with it. I do however have huge problem with football clubs being loaded with debt that they cant afford to service..

    Your take on things seems to be that FFP will create a level playing field my take on things as all it will do is protect the elite clubs or should I say the biggest cash generators and that includes Chelsea something that the majority always seem to forget when FFP and Chelsea are discussed

    FFP is, in my opinion, far to open to being worked around and there are far to many differences in the way football is ran is managed is financed is organised country to country for it to be judged by just one set of rules.

  24. M Thomas,

    I made no comment regarding your intelligence, one way or the other.

    What I said is, it is intelligent to read the UEFA FFP before sounding off about it.

    Perhaps you have now taken my advice to read the rules, I would not know if you had or not, but that would show intelligence.

    I disagree with much you say about FFP, but you are entitled to your opinion.

    When you say that you think the FFP regulations favour the ‘big’ clubs, I wonder if you are referring to the proposed Premier League version of FFP, which is quite separate from, and additional to the UEFA version?

    Now if that is the case, I can confirm, as I wrote on here earlier in the week, that I do have a suspicion that you are correct, but perhaps for different reasons.

    Interestingly, although Manure, Arsenal and Chelsea were among the clubs who voted in favour of the EPL-FFP, the ‘biggest’ club of all, in terms of the wealth and the obscene money being injected into it from a non-footballing source, i.e. Man City, voted against the proposal, as did Southampton, Fulham and QPR, all with very wealthy owners.

    What does that tell us? Well it shows that nothing is as clear cut as you seem to think it is, if the wealthiest club and some of the wealthiest owners in the league do not like the EPL-FFP.

    Cynicism is often thought to be a scornful or lethargic distrust of others, but my advice to you, is to stop being led by your Chelsea bias and apply a little justifiable cynicism to all matters football, as each club is playing to its own agenda — and the fans — That includes you and I — have no say in what these wealthy oligarchs or foreign states are doing, which means they are feathering their own nests.

  25. @M Thomas,
    Slightly aside from the vexed subject of the FFPRegs, you made a valuable reference to those African players on high salaries and how they contribute greatly to the life in their homeland, where the GDP is minute.
    I have long despised the way in which the wages in the professional game have spiralled, yet some good has come from this.

  26. I think people need to remember that FFP is UEFA’s first attempt at staying ahead of the EU and probably will change over time. Its not a quick fix, I cannot see salary caps working (not on the individual) it hasn’t worked in the past and has been fought against in the courts but would be the best way forward and a way for teams to keep players longer.
    I agree to some extent that, if a person chooses to spend his/her wealth on a football team who are we to stop him/her, however the destabilising effect some Benefactors/oligarchs have had on football is obvious for all to see.
    The likes of Chelsea and Man city have to realise that they are not the richest clubs in football, just the biggest spenders. If you want the real bottomless pits look at Zenit and that other Russian club owned by the state bank.
    What the EU are at loggerheads with at the moment is regulating an industry that is also a sport? How to go about it. because sport by nature is a fair on-field competition which has now been drastically altered by off-field events.

    Both UEFA and FIFA are guilty of allowing this to happen. Also the premier leagues march for dominance has highlighted issues and caused imbalances within the international tournaments which will increase with the added wealth coming.

    To use our championship as an example; More people attend games in our 2nd division (16million last year) than almost all other leagues in Europe, Only 3 other leagues had higher attendance rates and one of them was the Premier league.

    So should match attendance also be taken into consideration when implementing these new rules, after all it would be fair for Birmingham city to whinge about Shamrock playing in Europe when Birmingham are a bigger and better club, but they face a higher standard of competition week in week out but a club like shamrock can gain entry into European competitions because of the location and competition.

    So no matter which way you look at it, we will never truly have a fair Europe wide competition as the differing leagues are not equal.

  27. Red Arse
    Ok I will take what you say but my take on it was you were suggesting something .

    I had read (past tense you notice) the FFP regulations some while ago as the whole area of football finace is something that I find interesting and having been involved in football as a finacial director know a little about it including many of the tricks that football(albeit at nowhere near EPL level) gets up to to “comply with rules”.
    I posted on another thread that the EPL version of FFP must have been of amusement to RA . All the other clubs voted along the lines of what was best for them, so none of us should kid ourselves they did it for the good of football.
    You make a valid point about club bias and fits nicely with my point about why many on here line up so readily behing FFP.
    Hey good debate but for me off to watch the Europa league. Oh Joy!

  28. RA,
    Old stick? Hopefully that usage is just to say old chap, rather than some Cockney slang. I can think of a word that rhymes with stick that I wouldn’t want to be called 🙂

    Yeah, it does help in understanding something, just not the thing I’d asked 🙂 Still it is appreciated. I did learn something. Which isn’t rare where a conversation with you is concerned.

  29. According to
    Expected total points, counting the money spend on wages and transfers (+dectech end season predictions in brackets) :
    Chelsea 93 (71)
    Man City 84 (76,5)
    Man Utd 83 (88,3)
    Liverpool 72 (57,6)
    Arsenal 62 (67,2)
    QPR 54 (29,1)
    Tottenham 50 (69,4)
    Aston Villa 50 (37,7)
    Sunderland 46 (42,2)
    Newcastle 45 (44,8)
    Stoke 44 (47,8)
    Southampton 43 (42,1)
    WHU 41 (42,8)
    Everton 41 (61,2)
    Norwich 37 (42,5)
    WBA 36 (51)
    Reading 34 (35,3)
    Fulham 33 (43,4)
    Wigan 32 (32,4)
    Swansea 29 (50)

    So there are big over and under achievers

  30. Hooray!

    Another article about FFFP, and this time penned by Walter 🙂

    Don’t worry Walter, we don’t think these regs were concocted up by the Arsenal, merely that you are the most vocal in it’s defence, so you are only guilty of supporting a self-serving, misleading, elitist, potentially suicidal, shameful right royal mess.

    When the regulations only allow a club to spend a proportion of what they earn on wages, this entrenches the already established, larger clubs in the already exalted positions.

    The gap between the larger, champions league qualifying clubs will grow even greater and greater every year, even faster than it has been growing in the last twenty years – there will be LESS opportunity for smaller clubs, in smaller countries to compete.

    There will be almost no possibilty of clubs outside of the top four winning anything in the future, and therefore less interesting for the average football fan (no problem if you’re a glory hunting plastic from another country who only takes vicarious pleasure from continuous success, the sort who jumps ship when the going gets rough).

    No one is saying football is perfect as it stands, but FFFP is absolutely not the answer, unless you’re in the Champions League every year, and it looks like the Arsenal won’t make it this season – if you continue to support these flawed regs, it would be like Turkeys voting for Christmas.

    City are currently seventh biggest revenue generators in world football, and growing at a fantastic rate, and so in theory we will be one of those lucky few, but I will never support something that would ruin the whole of football just so my club can collect some shiny cups – that’s not my idea of being a football supporter.

  31. It’s Grim Oop North,

    Well we had to write about something this week with no Arsenal game. 😉 So we took this subject as it is rather in the news the last weeks.

    But next week we will be playing in midweek so no real chance to talk about FFP.

    I just noticed Chelsea played this week. On a Thursday. Oh yeah I almost forgot… 😉 So when are you playing next week…oops sorry I had forgotten. You only do weekend games. 😉

    And don’t worry about the chance of Arsenal not making it to the CL places. They have been saying this for years now. Last year we were facing a 12 point gap round this time of the season. Now only 4 points. 36 points to win or lose. Anything can happen.

  32. So after reading so many different views over FFP can we assume that it won’t make a huge difference anyway as loopholes will be discovered and ploughed through? How on earth can there ever be a level playing field in football? It seems that FFP will serve the bigger clubs better than the smaller ones. Will its introduction mean Everton, Newcastle or even Swansea could ever win the league? Isn’t it amazing to consider that Cardiff would have been league champions back in the twenties if the goal difference rule had been applied. Or that Derby or Ipswich have won the league in living memory.

    Here’s my idea. It’s not a finely honed solution but quite revolutionary and such things are difficult to finesse.

    At the beginning of every season each player’s name is placed in a hat corresponding to his favoured on field position. Then the twenty PL teams are placed in one hat. A team is drawn out of the hat and that team then gets to pick one player for each position from each relevant hat. The next team is drawn out of the hat and follows the same procedure. It would introduce an element of fun and guarantee no team has an unfair advantage. There would be a flat wage for all players of £2,000 a week. This reduced yet substantial wage would perhaps teach footballers some respect towards money. No transfer window in the season. At the season’s end the process is repeated.

    There you have a fairly level playing field. It would almost certainly expunge the dreaded sugar daddy from club ownership. Perhaps performances in Europe would suffer but as those competitions seem prone to corruption what actual loss
    would that be?

    And what a colourful league we’d have. Even Wigan might win the league one season. Anyone could be relegated. So much more refreshing than the usual cartel ruminating at the top of the table.

  33. Walter,

    poke fun at City’s exit from the Champions League, but we faced the ACTUAL Champions of Spain, Germany and Holland in our group, so Group of Death would be an understatement, it could only possibly get harder if you put in the Champions of Italy instead of Holland.
    Why would you need seeding in this competition? Is this not to discourage newcomers, and to give the established cartel an easy ride?
    I can think of no other reason, so if Fifa want to introduce any sort of fair play, they could abolish all this nonsense, and draw the names out of a hat, but they won’t of course.

    Back on topic, if FFFP regs are introduced, along with the Prem’s version, how do you think you can compete with Manchester United?

    Seriously, you’re miles off them now, that will only get worse, unless they implode spectacularly, which they show no signs of doing any time soon.

    They have a much bigger fan base worldwide, they have a much bigger stadium, much more “glorious” history, they earn miles more money than you, and will always be able to outspend you, and take your best players if they want, and as their fans regularly boast, they do what they want!

    The future is bleak for all but United if these regs are implemented, and if you can’t see that hamstringing clubs like City and Chelsea who currently have the ability to weaken United on all fronts, then there’s no hope for us all.

    Or are you happy with that? Rich, stable, but always in United’s shadow?

  34. Walter,

    I had another thought about the consequences of the FFFP regs, and it is this –

    City were very early on in SHeikh Mansour’s ownership warned of the implementation and obvious consequences of them, and so decided to invest spectacularly in the Etihad training complex.

    Now, given that the Arsenal’s traditional modus operandi is to scout, attract and develop the brightest young talent from over the globe, that means that City are put directly in competition in this segment, rather than buying “Galacticos”, going forwards.

    Who do you think will win this battle for the young talent?

    Google Etihad Campus plans, and take a look at the young players already on City’s books, and see what independent observers are saying about them. There are some crackers I can tell you.

    So, in the future Man United will take the Galacticos, because they can afford them, and City will have the best youth, because they can afford them and can offer them the best Academy experience in the world.

    Where do the Arsenal excell?

    They don’t, thanks to FFFP – try to develop this argument without name calling Gooners.

  35. Walter, is there any chance you can point me in the direction of all these City and Chelsea fans that are telling you what you can or cannot write on here? We may well dispute some of your observations, but that isn’t the same as saying you’re not entitled to your opinion, however much we may disagree with it.

    So keep posting what you want mate, and we’ll keep disputing it 😉

  36. M18CTID,

    You can find them usually at the start of the comment section but when they just say these lines and comment for the first time we don’t let them on. It doesn’t really contributes to a discussion.

    and maybe this time they didn’t write it after all I told them not to do it. 😉

    And even when we don’t agree I think we have some good discussions. Not where I am involved directly maybe but other people make some good points, arguments, counter arguments. I like it.

  37. It’s Grim Oop North,

    yeah sometimes my bad character takes over. 😉

    To be honest I wouldn’t mind it if the draw was 100% fair with all the teams going in the same sack. On paper we could have a complete English group. I wouldn’t mind it at all.

    About not being able to beat Real Madrid is debatable. Dortmund also is a strong team. We did beat them last season in our group and that with a team in trouble at the time. And since then Dortmund has lost players.

    But not being able to beat a youthful Ajax, a team that has cost less in total than your cheapest purchase is not good at all.

    And the visit to Dortumnd and Ajax should have learned you a few things. Like that on the continent (where I also live) they don’t like what teams like City, Chelsea and now PSG are doing at all.

  38. It grim oop north,

    About the youth teams. Oh well in a few years time we then come over to pick a few away. The ones that want a real football career and not a money career. 😉

    Serious now. I can only be happy about that evolution then. Bringing back some sanity in to an insane world is always a good thing.

    But for the moment it doesn’t seem to work off that well. According to what I have found you lost the two opening games in the top youth league group. So it will not be for this or the next season the youngster will replace the superstars yet. But keep on working on it.

    We now usually have 5 players starting who have been with us since at least the age of 16 and who have gotten their chance to learn their skills at Arsenal.

    And a few more that might make it from next season on or the season after that.

    Maybe the difference is that we have given them time to develop (at the expense of results maybe) but will City do the same when results drop as a result? That will be the real problem I think.

  39. @Its grim up north

    If as you say Man City start to produce the best youngsters around in the future, its not inconceivable that Man Utd may well come along and purchase them simply because they can afford to do it.

    Leaving you as their feeder club. Not a very nice thought.

  40. Interesting point Tasos but that could work in City’s favour more than you think. The CFA (City Footballing Academy) that is currently under construction will be big enough to house up to 400 young players. With those numbers in mind, clearly the vast majority won’t get a chance of playing for the first team even though the club is working towards the long-term aim of having a first-team made up of a good number of academy products. This obviously means that there will be a huge surplus of young players that will eventually have to move on elsewhere. Given that the club is looking to attract the best young prospects both nationally and internationally, the amount of money they could fetch in terms of transfer fees when they are moved on could well run into tens of million pounds per season. Think what Wenger has done at Arsenal and multiply it, say, five-fold as the sheer scale of the academy development literally dwarfs anything any other club has in place in this country.

    As someone else put it, this could literally turn out to be a license to print money.

  41. Well well. What about FFP having no effect? It’s already gotten City fans to dream about having an academy full of young players that the whole country, if not the world, will want to purchase.

    If only it were so easy. Why would young players go to City? For money most likely. So if anyone else is to buy them, they’ll have to match those wages or better them. Not many clubs will be willing to do that, except for only the best players. Would your club be willing to sell its best young players? Or would you want to keep them, to do which you’ll have to play them in your team, perhaps at the cost of some results. Plus, with the squad size in England being limited, where is the roster space to play all these young players? The demand will not be too high. (the resultant dropout rates from football will increase and this is one of the reasons Wenger actually spoke out against the squad limits)

    400 academy prospects sounds nice. And investment helps. But there are academies running far longer which don’t produce anywhere near the number of players that City fans seem to think they’ll create. But hey. If that’s what you believe, that’s fine. It might even happen. Who knows?

    Well, glad to have the City fans finally on board with FFP, since they’ve now realised how it’s going to help them.

  42. Shard, I’m sure you’ve gathered from conversations on here over the past few weeks that many City fans have known all along that FFP will help cement the club amongst the elite but unlike some fans of some other clubs we’ve not been in favour of it because it gives a totally unfair advantage to those clubs that have “made it”, plus it would be somewhat hypocritical for us to be in favour of the regs whether they benefit us or not. From a purely selfish point of view, I really ought to be 100% in favour of FFP but I’m not and never will be – that is, until such a time that the regs are modified in such a way that they don’t so blatantly preserve the status quo. Remember, you yourself admitted the other week that the clubs that are driving this the most are doing it primarily out of self-interest.

    My vision for the academy (something that was in the Sheikh’s plans since the day he bought the club which pre-dates FFP by the way) was a simplified one based on everything panning out perfectly. Of course, it probably won’t work out quite like that but it might be advisable for you not to be so dismissive of it. Personally, I think it will be hugely beneficial to the club in the long-term but it’s doubtful we will see any of those benefits for at least 5 years (the academy will be completed in 18 months and so will be up and running for the start of the 2014-15 season).

    As for young players coming to City mainly for money, again I think you’re under-estimating the attraction of the academy itself. It’s being touted as a world leader in terms of facilities (you can access the video online which is basically a fly-through of the site once it is complete) so a young player being shown around City’s new academy is likely to be more impressed by the set-up when comparing it to what any other club has to offer.

    Of course, building a brand new facility in itself won’t suddenly lead to great young players magicaly sprouting up out of the ground in East Manchester. The club will obviously be implementing an extensive scouting and coaching network to run in tandem with it, and being an Arsenal fan you’ll know full well what rewards that can bring.

  43. M18CTID (would you mind me asking what that name means? I’m curious)

    Look. My support for FFP isn’t absolute. I’m not even sure it will benefit Arsenal. But all rules and regulations have both intended and unintended consequences. Not until we see how it works (perhaps for years) can we be sure of all the effects the ruling has had/will have. Why I support FFP is that it is a start towards some form of financial regulation, which I believe is a good, and necessary thing.

    As for the academy. I’m well aware of the rewards it can bring, but also that it isn’t easy. It needs a certain bravery to play young players, including letting players at/near/past their peak go (Van Bronkhorst for Clichy, Vieira for Cesc etc) and that this can often backfire. Wenger is very very good at it (and even he makes mistakes) but not many managers are.

    Simply having facilities doesn’t guarantee players coming to you. Arsenal, apart from their facilities, draw young players because they feel they’ll get a chance to play in the first team. This image takes a long time (and hard work) to create. It also, probably requires a bit of managerial stability, since a player will need assurances on his career path. Apart from that, there are factors outside of football in terms of whether the player settles in the area, makes friends, behaves properly etc. Basically, it is a long and unpredictable process. Money can accelerate it to some extent, but not at the same pace as has happened for the first team.

    That said, City had a very good youth structure before Shinawatra and then Mansour came along. So, your club can do it.(Although the standard of player required has gone up) I don’t have a problem with that. It would be good if more players are created at clubs. My statement was a little snippy because I felt a comment above was unnecessarily boisterous, apart from being unrealistic.

    Also, it is not easy to sell players who are deemed not good enough to make it. At least, not for a lot of money. And even to sell those young players, they either have to have played in the first team to showcase their talents or have performed well on loan. Apart from that, the image of an academy (again created over a long time) as to the style of play, helps in clubs wanting young players. It really isn’t just a case that you get in massive numbers and provide them with facilities and you’ll have a profitable academy.

    I’m not dismissive of it. Far from it. I welcome it. But I think you are exaggerating the immediacy of its effect. That will only happen if you are very lucky and good in the academy and that FFP somehow forces you to reduce your purchase of readymade players. Barcelona’s academy took them 15 to 20 years to really have an effect. Wilshere is really among the first batch of graduates to come right through the ranks at Arsenal since the new academy was set up in 99. It takes time.

  44. its grim up north, you are most welcome to all the youth from around the globe with their homesickness and desire to play in Spain.Been observing it for years mate.Me,i’m glad that from this summer we finally have the money to buy proper experienced players and won’t have to rely on callow youths.After all,out of Arsenals FA youth cup winning side of a few yrs ago,only one has made it,Wilshere,and he is from as far away as ,well London actually.Anyway isn’t “youth trafficking” one of Platinis bugbears? This is what Arsenal have been accused of,quite rightly imo,for years.The sooner the displacement of u18s is made illegal the better.Develop some English players all you PL clubs and put something back into the English game ,because you have all taken enough out over the years.

  45. Apologies for the late response Shard. My username is a combination of my postcode (M18) and CTID = City ‘Til I Die. A bit tacky I know but I’ve been using it for years now.

    I fully agree that developing young players isn’t easy, hence my comment that it “won’t suddenly lead to great young players magicaly sprouting up out of the ground in East Manchester.” However, looking at how much time, effort, and money that the club is investing in that side of things shows that this is more than a gimmick and they’re deadly serious about it. This is the trouble that so many opposition fans have when viewing what’s going on at MCFC – they don’t look further than the amount of money that has been spent on players over the past few years and are oblivious to how much else is going on behind the scenes. The new training ground and academy is far from the full story too. An announcement regarding stadium expansion is thought to be imminent, plus there are dozens of acres of undeveloped land around the stadium in addition to the new training complex which is ripe for building on.

    All this redevelopment won’t just be for City’s good either – there will be telling benefits for the local community, 98% of whom were in favour of the new academy when polled for their opinions. Contrast this to the current owners of our friends a few miles away who have, since 2005, salted away over £500 million of club money to help prop up their ailing businesses in the USA while at the same time doing absolutely nothing for the people of Manchester. I know which ownership model I prefer.

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