FFP rules: is Arsenal responsible for them? part 1

By Walter Broeckx

Whenever Untold Arsenal writes an article about FFP rules we have a few supporters of other clubs who try to shine their light on the subject from their point of view.

We have a few of them who give their point of view in a well educated way and I think nobody really minds that. Of course we don’t have to agree with them and we can get some nice and emotional debating at times.

But of course there are others.

We have those who defend the way the ‘oilers’ work in insulting clubs like Arsenal. For them it is Arsenal that is imposing its will upon them. Now of course our club has from the moment the first oiler came along said that this is not the proper way to run a football club. Arsenal has said that it is not in the interest of football or for any club to be at the mercy of one person. Now you might say that this goes for most clubs. And that Arsenal are in the hands of one majority shareholder. But if you can’t see the difference between how Stan Kroenke runs Arsenal and how the Russian runs Chelsea and the sheikh runs City there is no possible debate.

Mr. Kroenke is letting the club be self sustainable and if he were to pass away nothing would happen. His inheritors would receive his shares with the rest of his inheritance and the daily working of the club would be in the hands of the board, Gazidis and Wenger. Sorry Stan, but I don’t think you would be missed that much at Arsenal. But let it be a consolation that the graveyards are full with people that couldn’t be missed at their job(s). But the world kept on turning when they passed away.

But what would happen to City if the sheikh passes away or has enough of it? Their current success is based on the owner spending much much more than they earn. And the ‘earning’ may stop at the same time as the sheikh stops. Because lots of the earning is based on money coming from the same well but with a different name on it. The same might be said about Chelsea. If Russia suddenly is subject to a coup and the friends of the current powerful man are thrown in prison then how would Chelsea survive?

I know that the fans of these clubs will say that it will make no difference.  But as their clubs run on the personal wealth of their owner…can you really say this without a little hesitation? Really? Not a little ounce of doubt? Fine then. Fine for you. But if I would be supporter of a club completely at the mercy of the owner I wouldn’t be so sure. After all, I have seen it, done it before at my local club. Some 12 years after the richest man in Belgium football was put in jail for a while our club is still dealing with the consequences.  And almost vanished in history as club number XX, buried by a rich man.

But back to Arsenal and Arsenal being the one that is responsible for the introduction of the FFP rules and all the misery it brings to clubs like City, Chelsea, PSG and other state or oil owned clubs.

Yes Arsenal has defended FFP rulings from the start. And yes Untold Arsenal has defended that point of view from the start. I have done so because of my own personal experience with rich man plaything clubs. But do you really think that Arsenal (let alone Untold Arsenal) are so powerful that they can set the agenda of the whole football world and tell the rest of the European football world how things should work? Now that would be a bit simple. In fact while typing this and thinking about it, I can only burst out laughing.

Let us be clear about this and answer the question in the title: NO, Arsenal is not responsible for the introduction of FFP rules in football.

We have supported the idea, and we have defended the idea. But Arsenal didn’t impose or wrote the laws about FFP. I think the rules and punishments would have been much severe and harder if we would have.

If you want to put blame on to someone, you might put blame on the ECA. The European Club Association. The A doesn’t stand for Arsenal. It stands for Association. Because it is this ECA which has more than 200 clubs in membership throughout in the whole of Europe, and it is one of the driving forces behind the FFP rules.

I have written in the comment section that some fans of the oilers think it is unfair that other clubs decide on economic issues, and how unfair it is that other clubs are allowed to do this. Now supporters of the other clubs have to realise that if they want to compete against other clubs in Europe (or England for that matter) that they will have to follow certain rules.

And as in most things in life it is the majority in the parliament or in football the whole football world who set up the rules. And so yes other clubs determine the rules. As other human beings determine the rules in our daily life.  Now of course you might have more sympathy for the model where one powerful person determines how things are run. You might like the North Korean way of running a state or football better.  But I somehow feel rather very secure that you will be a very small minority in this.

You might like the idea of the sheikh determining what is good for football and more in particular for Manchester City of course. But that is not the way it works. It might work in the oil state he comes from. He might be all mighty and powerful over there. But in the real world and in the real football world there are many other clubs who have a say in what is good or bad for football.

And the ECA (European Club Association) is a rather important part of that football world. And aim your arrows at them if you want to fight FFP rules as it is them that are demanding the implementation of FFP rules.  I can even point at the fact that Manchester City and Chelsea both are members of this organisation. But as we live in a more or less democratic environment even in football it is the majority of the teams in the ECA who decide how things should go or point at the direction how things should go. It is called democracy. Don’t like it? Start your own dictatorship far away from the rest of the football world.

In a next article I will talk about the ECA a bit more and about other issues they want to tackle in the next years.

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29 Replies to “FFP rules: is Arsenal responsible for them? part 1”

  1. Good article
    Arsene was the first club manager (that I remember) who spoke out against the Chelsea situation. He pointed out how they would inflate the transfer fee market and considerably increase wages and even coined “financial doping”, and has always been at the front of the fight against the oilers.No wonder Mourinho hates him so much.

  2. @Walter

    You say this:
    Mr. Kroenke is letting the club be self sustainable and if he were to pass away nothing would happen.

    You know that how?

    Is it not highly likely the shares would be sold and with such huge declared cash reserves who is to say a buy out ala Glazer wouldn’t happen ? Or the shares get sold on to other large shareholders or huge dividends would be paid. Quite simply there is no way of knowing what would happen

    Another thing that is often forgotten or perhaps not understood is that whilst yes both our owner and indeed Man Cites have put huge sums into our respective clubs the two clubs generate huge income already and I know both are expecting the next set of accounts to tell a far different picture.
    In truth all the top EPL clubs are hugely attractive to potential buyer so I doubt if either of our owners were to sell up anything much would change.
    I don’t see FFP as being the long term issue you all so desperately hope for , For me the real danger is when owners start to declare and pay huge dividends and that’s where I think you should be looking over your shoulder

    Also can I suggest that you and Tony need to talk more for in his recent blog of FFP He suggested FFP came about following a meeting between RA and Platini yet state here its all down to Arsenal!

  3. Apologies missed the last bit off my post

    yet state here its all down to Arsenal and the other members of the ECA bar Chelsea & Man City.

  4. Mike T

    Did you not see this line?

    “Let us be clear about this and answer the question in the title: NO, Arsenal is not responsible for the introduction of FFP rules in football.”

    Nowhere does the article say Chelsea and ManCity were not part of the FFP process. It even mentions them as members of the ECA. Presumably to show up the City fans we’ve had on here recently saying the entire FFP plan has only been pushed by the G14 clubs, ignoring the ECA’s current diversity. It’s a convenient idea to hold on to because no one can argue against the G14 being self interested and powerful. But they stick to it like it’s absolute fact and the other clubs don’t matter. They should take it up with their own club and the ECA rather than moan about it on an Arsenal blog is what I think Walter is saying.

  5. I don’t think anyone of us can predict the future regarding the actions of the club owners. I do think that certain situations do place a club more at risk like: clubs operating in a region where the rule of law is suspect, owners with dodgy backgrounds, clubs operating in a region with poor regulatory oversight, clubs with high wages to turnover ratios and a Club where the ownership group’s primary asset is the club itself.

    Personally, I don’t think it is fair that a nation-state should own a club. That isn’t fair because the power levers it can exercise far outstrip those of other clubs. As for the others, I don’t particularly like how Roman Abramovich got his money but he has not been a bad owner for Chelsea fans. He is far preferable to the Gilette Hicks imbroglio that almost sank Liverpool and Glazer ‘suck all the money out of Manchester’ model. I prefer the stable model in place at present in Arsenal because I am conservative and a losing streak wouldn’t sink the club. A risk taker would disagree.

  6. Ok Walter

    This is the 3rd time I am going to have a moan about the ads on your (well…your’s and Tony’s) site so bear with me, but every time I refresh the page, or leave a comment a video starts playing either selling me stuff or with Deschamps prattling on about something. Is there anything Untold can (and want to) do about blocking the video ads, or isn’t there?

  7. Shard,

    Now now, I never said that “the entire FFP plan has only been pushed by the G14 clubs” – just that I believe they’ve had a significant say in it. There’s a bit of a difference. And I certainly haven’t laid the blame for the FFP regs being implemented solely at the door of Arsenal FC and nobody else as Walter appears to imply lol.

    Oh, and stop moaning about the pop-up ads you big girl’s blouse 😉

  8. Mike T,
    as far as I know the laws I think that if a person dies his children/wife inherit the rest of the shares. And that’s it. Of course they might sell the shares afterwards. And that might have an influence. But as one of the children of Mr. Kroenke also is a board member I don’t think that the Kroenke family will run out and cash in on the shares. Now of course you never know with these kids… 😉

    As for Abramovich the same could be said. But as Abramovich has filled the bank accounts of Chelsea with his own money that could dry up if he would depart this world. And I am not sure if his children would be able to reproduce that kind of money as the sharks could tear his business imperium apart. Russia is not that stable.

    For City it looks even more uncertain. You might bank on the state keeping up the support but what if the well runs dry and if we can believe some reports the well will run dry one day…. Get out and get that electrical car… 🙂

  9. Shard, to be honest I don’t see the advert myself! I know they exist as I have the same problem when I visit other sites from time to time but I really don’t see it popping up when I visit Untold. Or is it my settings? I don’t know to be honest.

  10. @Shrad

    Yes I did see that line but the clear inference, well at least to me, in the second last paragraph was that Chelsea & Man City voted/were against FFP but that’s tough because the majority rules.

    The G14 in European football(English teams in G14 were Arsenal, Liverpool & Man Utd) hasn’t existed for about 6 years .
    Neither Man City nor Chelsea were ever a member of this group .
    Chelsea were invited to join but declined. It was Chelsea’s refusal to join which many believe led to it being disbanded.

    It is the G14 group UEFA were referring to when they voted on a special resolution to form the ECA when they described a “self-appointed group of clubs” which “are not interested in protecting competition, but only interested in protecting themselves and their economic interests and in dictating their conditions on others”.

  11. @Walter

    To expand a little on Shard’s comments, I don’t have any video problems but in the right hand column I do find some adds which shorten the “Recent Comments” list. I have only noticed this shortening over the last few weeks.

  12. @Walter

    In terms of inheritance its what’s in the will of the deceased. It could be a wife, children or who knows even the gardener.
    I have no idea how Kronke financed the purchase of his shares who knows they could even be held as security against loans.
    The point I was trying to make is that the type of ownership models that exist at all EPL clubs means that it is quite possible that anything could happen. No one should be content with the here and now because a responsible owners demise could change everything and there is nothing a supporter can do to stop it.

  13. Lol made me laugh this article, I love the way you implied that people are suggesting this site had something to do with the ffp rules made me almost wet myself! I have to say all this site seems to be is a way of coining money, your books which looks to me to have large parts cut n paste from other sources, the advertising on here is stupidly ott and for anyone on a data allowance not a site ya wanna visit. Sorry had nothing to say cept that nothing football related really

  14. A nightmare scenario could develop if, on the death of Mr Kroenke, his family’s Arsenal shares were bought en masse by an “oiler” who became 67% owner and de facto controller of our great Club.
    The aftermath, a la Chelski, is too frightening to contemplate……unless someone can convince me otherwise.

  15. Speaking of owners… Did anyone see that Alisher Usmanov wrote a bit about Arsenal that might interest some folk.

    “Many people ask me why I bought my stake in Arsenal, rather than spending the money on Russian football,” he wrote.
    “The fact is, I invest millions in Russian sport each year – an amount far in excess of my Arsenal investment. But I also think it’s worth pointing out that the English Premier League is a highly organized sports business and Arsenal is, first and foremost, a business investment for me.
    “It is one of the leading clubs in terms of how its commercial operations are managed, and I am absolutely convinced it will be a successful investment. I am fine with the size of the stake I have in Arsenal now, but I’m always ready to increase it.”

    Now the fact is that he is speaking to a Russian audience and there’s a sense of being on the backfoot in terms of why he hasn’t spent money in Russia. So he needs to cover his rather sizeable behind.

    At the same time, people who have been saying Usmanov will be like Abramovich (despite no evidence to support this, and some evidence to support that he won’t) might want to think again since he does say that Arsenal are primarily a business investment for him. Something I have said for a while now and something his track record would suggest. Spend from his own pocket to win trophies? Highly highly unlikely. He has avoided questions like that before. Yet some believe what they want.

  16. @ shard, walter and tony,

    i also get that annoying video in the top right hand corner of the page. i now have to visit untold with my comp on mute…

  17. i think that a point that alot of people seem to miss in regard to FFP is that it was not designed to cripple man city, chelsea and psg. it was designed to protect the longevity of success in club football and to ensure a more fair playing field.

    i understand that if i were a supporter of city or chelsea i would be happy with the recent success the new owners have bought in. however when i look at the larger picture i think that more rules need to be brought in to ensure the sporting integrity. i dont always like american sports but i think the rules in the NFL, NBA etc make for a more exciting competition where many teams have a shot at glory.

  18. Walter

    Those ads don’t show up if you use adblocker. I don’t like using that. Also sometimes those ads are region specific and also use the browser history to select what ads it shows

    *** Interlude as I try to shut up Javi Martinez droning on about talking to Robben about the World Cup***

    I know some other Arsenal sites that block the video ads from showing up on their sites, while the other ads continue as usual. It would be fantastic if Untold could do that too. It really is annoying and causes problems with my net usage (the internet plans here suck.) I suppose I’ll end up having to use adblocker or something if they don;t stop playing but I hope it isn’t required.

  19. Mike T

    I think the G14 and Uefa were often at odds over various things, including at one point the threat to start a breakaway league. The last measure they extracted from Fifa and uefa was the compensation to be paid to clubs whose players were injured in international tournaments.

    Regarding the article, I guess we just read it differently.

  20. Shard
    June 11, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    If the video has a volume control then it might be possible to set that at mute. Then you can let the video rattle on and on without disturbing you.

    If you are using Firefox and don’t have Firefox ‘lightbeam’ then down load that and try blocking ad sites listed.

  21. M18

    That phrase always confuses me. Is the blouse supposed to belong to a big girl, or is the person (in this case, me) just being called a large blouse? Or both? 🙂

  22. colario

    The video does have a volume control, but for some reason it keeps being reverted to ‘on’ whenever the page loads afresh. this doesn’t normally happen with such ads.

    The problem with streaming ads is that they eat into my data usage. I know it’s a strange concept to many but broadband providers here allow us to use the internet at higher speeds only up to a certain data limit. Exceed that and it becomes slower, and you need to pay extra to get higher speeds again.

    I have known some issues with google’s adblocker and remain wary of adblocking software. I’ll have a look at lightbeam though. Thanks for helping.

  23. Shard
    June 11, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    ‘The problem with streaming ads is that they eat into my data usage.,,,,,,,,,,,get higher speeds again.’

    I understand that problem as it was tried here but fortunately in the dog fight for customers it was dropped and so we have unlimited internet.

    The prob with Light beam is that its easy to block a site you need. I go through the list and block anything that I think is causing or could probs. I do 6 at a time and then check that the sites I want are still working ok.

    As its a case of noting a site you don’t want I don’t think it will use up your broadband by doing this.I think its the same as clicking an email that you think is spam.

  24. One more thing to add.

    Arsenal did the planning according to FFP. They set up building of the pitch, financial deal and youth trainning that will give them the most when the rules come into effect. I would say no other club prepare themselved for FFP better than Arsenal.

    Actually, by delaying the date FFP comes into effect, other clubs are underminig Arsenmal.

    So they complain about Arsenal is like kids who do not prepare for their exams blaming the kids who study for making them look bad.

    Its already not fair for the kids who study because the exam has moved back a few times but those other kids still decide they wanna go around have fun rather than studying.

  25. Financial doping is ruining footie for most of our us ardent supporters. That said, Arsenal still manages to to go toe to toe with them. Fuckers are not doing a good enough job at said doping. Their day of reckoning is coming….

  26. @Walter @Tony

    Please take heed of
    June 11, 2014 at 3:28

    The ads are not user friendly. They do not have a ‘do no disturb’ facility.

  27. @colario
    Thanks for the lightbeam info. It has made my untold peaceful again.

  28. The biggest dope in the football world is refusing to go away. I hope Dyke & Platini get him out. Dyke seems to have started the process. The whole FIFA thing stinks. It has very little to do with improving football. It only rapes the finances that popularity of the sport creates.

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