Uefa to pass financial doping rules on 27 May; most of EPL won’t qualify for Europe

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Uefa ready to pass new rules next week which will limit entry to the Champions League to profitable clubs

By Tony Attwood

There are only five ways of running an EPL football club.  You pays your money and… probably lose it.  Here’s the list:

1.  Run it like a business, and make a profit.   Arsenal do this.

2.  Use the club as a way of making your own money and then get out when the going gets too tough, hopefully by selling to someone else who wants to do it again (Man U and Liverpool owners have adopted this approach very successfully, although Liverpool’s owners seem to have gone a bit too far by using the cash promised for new stadium, as part of their buy out.)

3.  Have a benefactor who puts money in

This breaks down into three subsets

3.1  Put in the money as an interest free loan so you can walk at any time (Chelsea)

3.2 Put in the money as a gift (I think Walker did this at Blackburn, and I know for sure Griggs of Doc Martens did this at one of my local clubs, Rushden and Diamonds.  Others may well have done so.)

3.3 Put in the money, and take interest on the loan from the club – in other words you lend at above market rates, have your money guaranteed by the club’s assets (the ground) and so do the best possible deal in the current financial climate (Aston Villa, Bolton etc)

4.  Go into the club in order to gain control of the ground, and then sell the ground for housing.  Typical asset stripping, clubs across the lower divisions and non-league have been suffering this for years.

5.  Borrow money from the banks. It is a traditional approach, but the problem is the banks don’t really want to know any more.  Indeed, this was part of Liverpool’s strategy and it has totally backfired.

The benefactor model of football (point 3 above) is the EPL model of football.  Indeed since the 19th century it has been the model of all English football.  In fact I think a lot of people assume it is the definitive model of a football club – forgetting that it is not so common in most other countries.

So, if you look at your history books you will see that from the early days English clubs were going bust almost as soon as the League got going.  Accrington were one of the first to go, and if you have followed events on the Woolwich Arsenal site, or in Making the Arsenal, you will know that in 1910 our club went into administration for the simple reason that the benefactor, Mr Leavey – a gentleman’s outfitter – ran out of money.

But you will also note that the bank to which Woolwich Arsenal owed a lot of cash was not pressing for repayment from Mr Leavey or from the club.  This is because in 1910 Woolwich Arsenal was a centre of the local community, as was the local bank.  If the bank had pulled the plug rather than be utterly sympathetic and understanding, the bank would have lost most of its customers.

Today it is not like this (as you may have noticed!)

Now I come back to this point of finances and models yet again (and sorry if this makes you yawn) because recently the Guardian (the paper I choose to read each day) said this about the new Uefa rules on financial doping…

“The rules, which look certain to be passed at Uefa’s summer congress on 27 May, require all clubs in European competitions to be living within their income, not funded by “benefactors”, from the start of the 2012-13 season.”

I have been arguing this point here for six months, although the consensus in English football is, “they won’t do it, it won’t happen.”

We shall see.  But consider this.  Chelsea won quite a lot this year, but made a £47m loss in 2008-09 due to spending on players.  As we know, Mr Abramovich paid up the money in the form of loans to the renamed holding company, and is now owed £726m.  It doesn’t look as if they will qualify unless they start turning in a profit.   They can do this by stopping the transfers, but only just – because of their high wage bill.

Our beloved Arsenal, however, made £46m profit. Actually to be fair  Manchester IOU also made a profit in that year because Cristiano Ronaldo was sold for £81m.  They also spent £69m interest on the £717m debts.  So unless they can find another Ronaldo to sell soon, they are going to get stuck.

The Tiny Totts also declared a profit, but we have not seen the Arry effect yet in the accounts, and we have no way of unravelling the way the finances of Joe Lewis who is a tax exile in the Bahamas and has wrapped up the club in perfectly legal but secret accounting systems in tax havens.  Goodness knows what ENIC are really up to.

Sheikh Yermoney of Abu Dhabi invested £395m as equity, and I don’t know what the Uefa deal will make of that – but I doubt that it will let him get away with it after the new regs come in.  He has the same problem as Chelsea – he can do it now, but he has to move to the Arsenal model in time for the new set up.

Chelsea and Man C can adjust their position and just about hold on – although without the ability to sign as many new players as they want each week.

But several other clubs are now in such a desperate position that they find that their auditors will only pass the accounts if they state they would not be solvent without the benefactor support every year.  Fulham and Sunderland,  are prime examples.  Liverpool’s auditors go one step beyond, stating  they find “the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt on the [club’s] ability to continue as a going concern”.

Would you like that one again?

“the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt on the [club’s] ability to continue as a going concern”.

It’s not that I have been saying this for several years on this site, long before others took up the story, its just that I have been saying this for several years, and I don’t mind people calling me a smart arse.

And before you tell me I am gloating – I am not gloating about the failure of clubs.  I don’t like seeing clubs go down, whether it is Salisbury (in trouble this week) or Portsmouth.  I am simply rather chuffed that this site is being proven right.

The total debt of the EPL in 2008-09 £3bn on a turnover of £2bn.

Richard Scudamore – head basket case in the case of baskets said, “”The benefactor model of investment is not one the Premier League wants to see outlawed. It is important that it is done in a sustainable way; however, we don’t want to discourage investment into our league, which has benefited clubs of all sizes.”

So what does any of this mean?

First, the nutters at the EPL don’t have a method for overcoming the Uefa rules, nor for controlling their clubs, and they are in total denial.

Second, instead of anyone bemoaning the fact that Arsenal have not won the league for five years, we should celebrate the fact that amazingly, and against all the odds, the club has stayed in the top four, and made a profit, during this period of insanity.

As the clubs start going bust (would you like that Liverpool auditors quote again? – oh well, maybe not) and start being refused entry into the Champs League, we are still there, still making money.

So far as I can see only these clubs will get into the Champs League…

Arsenal – no change

Chelsea – but very limited in the transfer market once the rule comes in

Man City – as Chelsea

Tottenham – providing overseas accounts are not considered

That’s it.  If you find any more, let me know.

So what will happen next?

1.  As clubs like Liverpool either go into liquidation or sink down the league, their players become available at a discount.

2. As clubs fail to make it into the Champs League the players with them who expected to play at the top level, want to leave.  (Can you imagine Cesc’s face if he does leave us and goes to Barca when he finds in 3 years he can’t play in the Champs League any more because they are barred because of their losses?)

3. The production line of youngsters is about to start.  You can always tell the supporters of other teams when they come on this site because they say, “we must admit the youth project has failed” – utterly ignorant of the fact that the eldest of the youth project kids are now 18/19.  But the youth project teams (the Academy sides) have won three major trophies in the last two years, and they are getting ready to step up.  Jack Wilshire and JET anyone?

This, to my mind, is the big moment.  The moment to remember.  Because in the future you will take your grandchildren on your knees and say, “I remember when the hounds of hell tried to get Wenger out, just at the moment when all his planning was coming to fruition, just as the other clubs were collapsing, and just as Uefa for once in their lives were going to get it all together.  But we held the nutters off, and we reached the greatest period in our history ever.

“Five years of planning it took, but my God it was worth it.”

Tony Attwood

Other Untold stories are here, there, and more or less everywhere else.

44 Replies to “Uefa to pass financial doping rules on 27 May; most of EPL won’t qualify for Europe”

  1. I’m not gonna lie, this last bit;

    This, to my mind, is the big moment.  The moment to remember.  Because in the future you will take your grandchildren on your knees and say, “I remember when the hounds of hell tried to get Wenger out, just at the moment when all his planning was coming to fruition, just as the other clubs were collapsing, and just as Uefa for once in their lives were going to get it all together.  But we held the nutters off, and we reached the greatest period in our history ever.

    I came in my pants, just a little. If there’s any justice in the world this will happen.

  2. Dear tony,

    I dont want to be a party pooper but i dont think its gonna effect all the other clubs in any way…man united surely will hav problems…but chelsea, city , spurs all will go around this hurdle…

  3. Thanks for this great piece! I also read Myles Palmer´s work and he’s your opposite. Feels good to know that someone out there understands what a great manager Wenger is.

  4. It brings a tear to my eye when I think about the utter dominance The Arsenal will have during the upcoming 5-6 years and beyond. We’ve got the players to dominate on every front. Thank you Tony for keeping the fans of your site abreast of what is happening in world football. I only hope that UEFA stands by it’s word! The Arsenal for life!

  5. Tony — In an ideal world, the UEFA rules will pass, and AW will be vindicated.

    I expect AW will be vindicated (as in next season!), but I don’t expect the UEFA rules to pass unamended…too many corrupt ^&*(ers running football these days…

  6. Tony, could this ruling have effects on the likes of barca and real, when the transfer window opens and they start trying to tap up our most gifted players?

  7. Dear Tony,

    Also this ruling has been postponed to 2015. It was published a couple of months ago. So all the clubs have an period of 3 years from 2012 to adapt. After that this ruling will come in force from 2015. Please get your facts right before publishing them!

  8. Never underestimate platini’s hatred for the EPL. The rules will pass and if it takes alienating Abramovich to take down Man Utd and Liverpool he will pay that price without blinking. Bizarrely enough despite the animosity he has toward Arsene Wenger mainly on behalf of Barcelona concerning the spiriting away of a certain topical central midfielder, his strategy will make Arsenal the most powerful club in Europe.

    Assuming of course that his rules don’t ignore clubs in Spain.

  9. dark Prince you are incorrect. The Rules come into place as Tony stated but over the following 3 years the clubs have an “allowance” of £15 million which benefactors can absorb through donations to allow them to phase in the changes.

    well that is my understanding of it anyway.

  10. Marouane Chamakh 29!!!! Cmon Mr Wenger, tie up our other needed re-inforcements asap!!

  11. @Tim

    Agreed but I would also say there are too many corrupt ‘*@@ers in UEFA also. From what I understand Barcelona and Madrid are also in as much debt as Man Utd, Liverpool etc. and they will want to protect their beloved ‘continental clubs’.

    Question: Tony I have heard that UEFA are in many ways anti-English clubs. Do you agree and do you ahve any examples you can site?

  12. “the full implementation of the rules has been moved to 2015 and that the 2012 to 2015 period will serve as a transition phase. ECA has insisted that all clubs and not just the clubs with turnover over EUR 50 million should be subjected to the rules”

    I wonder what the partial implimentation, from 2012, will mean?

    Does it give RM etc a couple more years of insanity before they start having to deal with coming into the real world?

  13. Hey Sam! when Milan were caught match fixing and deducted points which prevented them from competeing in the CL the following year. Platini personally fasttracked their disgracefully successful appeal which gave them entry into the CL which they proceeded to win.

    What does that tell you?

  14. HI Tony,

    Love these articles on the Finance side of the PL.. Any chance you could do a view posts on the Financial side of the Italian & Spanish Leagues.. Would be interesting for comparison. Delighted to see Chamakh signing today. Hopefully first of many this summer..

  15. Terence- look at Flint McCallough’s comment. He has given the direct quote to what decision uefa made few months back. That 3 year transition period from 2012 to 2015 is a big loophole. In any case, till 2015, all the clubs whether they are is huge debts or not, will be playing in champions league. Thats 5 more years! Which means all the teams have time to sort out their finances.

  16. Tony – again, Barca do not have debts. Wherever you saw that is wrong. Barca had about 200million in debt a few years back but have paid it all off. 100%. They have zero debt.

    Apart from that, I agree with it all. I really dont know what City will do. I get the feeling the Sheiks are in this for one great big push and then will say so long just when the new rules come into effect, leaving City in absolute ruins. Otherwise there is absolutely no way they will make the break even point on their revenue. If Chelsea cannot do it in London on 200million turnover then how on earth can City do it on 100million turnover?

    You have to think Roman may put more money in to Chelsea this summer and then call it a day as far as spending is concerned. But even that isnt a certainty. How much have their accounts been hit by the elimination from the CL so early? They need to reduce their wage bill by about 40-50million to have any chance of breaking even. That is a huge drop.

    There is certainly an argument for us keeping our money in our pockets and just picking off the bargains when everyone else has to sell cheaply just to lower their wage bills, or is unable to compete with us for new players due to their inability to overspend.

  17. Paul, have you got a source to confirm that? I’m not questioning your credibility, but I have read countless times of barcelona’s circa 300million debt.

  18. As much as I’d like the new rules to come into harsh effect I have a feeling it’s going to be more like the MP’s expense situation with a great deal being swept under the carpet by UEFA.

  19. Phil – Yes, Barca’s accounts. And all this about Barca’s debt seems to stem from one article that was on the web a few months ago that quoted a figure of 350million or something like that and suddenly it was quoted as fact by loads of people. It was kind of similar to the Arshavin stories this year. No one seemed to check the proper sources, which would have been the accounts.

    Check Barca’s accounts. You will need a Spanish dictionary, since they are not in English, but once you have that (I have some Spanish friends who translated for me) then you can follow it as easily as Arsenal’s.

    No debt.

    However that isnt to say that everything at Barca is great. They barely made a profit last year despite winning the Champions League. I really dont think they have lots of money to buy Cesc now that they have bought Villa. I think they would be quite happy to wait until next year, now that Arsenal have shown that they will not accept a cheap bid. Messi’s new contract comes on the books this year and that will eat up their profit by itself. Villa is 28 and will probably have zero re-sale value. Their wage bill is rising all the time. They will have to be careful regarding these new regulations. I think they were counting on another CL win.

  20. Don’t know the definite truth on the Barca position, but their website stated, and I posted it here a month or so back, that they make operating profits currently unless their Board is lying in accounts and publishing them on their own website.

    You’ll find the figures pretty easily by Googling it.

    Tony, I suspect Birmingham will be OK, but currently they just wouldn’t make it. I suspect in 3 years, West Ham will be OK, simply because Gold et al run a tight ship. And they’ll be hoping to squat at the Olympic Stadium at some stage too….

    I must say I think Spurs will be OK, simply because Platini will let them take on debt for the new training ground and new stadium (if they’re allowed to build it). Operationally, excluding that, they’re OK right now.

    City will be hoping that Man Utd go bust so they can buy their stadium. And rent them Eastlands as they come out of administration. Not sure the fans will like it, but not my business…..

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Ashley couldn’t run Newcastle properly within 3 years. He’ll use promotion to ensure the books are balanced. He’s paid off all the debt, after all.

    Similarly, Ken Bates runs a tight ship at Leeds. It might take him a few years to get to the EPL (but it might take one season too), but he’ll be financially OK. Not sure I thought too much of the administration shenanigans, but it’s water down in the North Sea now, I guess……

    You could see Cardiff City taking residence at the Millennium Stadium if they got high enough, so they could do it OK. If they wanted to.

    And I wouldn’t be surprised if the Swiss at Southampton didn’t do it properly either.

    Time will tell.

  21. Paul C

    Sandro Rosell (Candidate for Barca Presidency) recently quoted (allegedly) as urging caution re Fabregas signing “..we have a stratospheric level of debt…420 million”. (I’m asuming Euros)

  22. Paul C.
    Direct quote from the favourite to become barcas new president next month, Sandro Rosell :
    “We must be careful, because from an economic standpoint we are not good, we have a stratospheric level of debt. £420million over what needs to be paid for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Dmytro Chygrynskiy. From a sporting point of view it(the signing of david villa) is a very good signing, but from an economic one we maybe needed a little more information. Maybe there were other options available, for the cost and salary, so we lacked the right information to know whether the €50million price was a fair one. If we add Cesc as well for €50million, that increases our debt by another €100million.”
    So yes, barcalona do have debts, quite substantial ones at that.

  23. Paul- thanks for the info. I’ll have a nosy myself at some point and see what their situation is like. Their wage bill is astronomical though, which seemingly cancels out much of their matchday and commercial revenues (which are undoubtedly amongst some of the highest in the world).

    Though there does seem to still be some discrepancy from what the commenters above me has said. Could this be “benefactor” debt that could be hidden away, perhaps as equity ? I know Madrid have close ties to Spanish banks, could Barcelona have something similar? I don’t follow the finances of La Liga much, so I’m curious.

  24. I just was wondering if there is some thing we don’t take in account when we talk of M. Platini and his hate against the EPL ?
    Also is the date and the year a coincidence or not? Let me explain this.
    Almost 25 years before Uefa will impose laws that can be seen as directed against the EPL, or at least can and will have big implications on its future an event happened and M. Platini was involved in this.
    Yes I am talking about the Heysel drama. Michel Platini was the most important player of Juventus and one can say that his big day was ruined by Liverpool and more specifically by their fans.

    I sometimes wonder if this day marked him for the rest of his live and is the main and forgotten reason why he doesn’t like the EPL?
    Is this his way in taking revenge for this disaster? Platini was always a Juventus man and I think deep in his heart he still is.

    I cannot look in someones head and I dont think he will openly say it but it just is a thing that entered my mind when I saw the date and this is almost 25 years after that fatal day in football.

  25. It sounds as if the regulations will require that footballing expense must be no more than footballing income, ie interest expense is not included. On this basis I think Man U would be OK. Or am I misunderstanding?

  26. Thanks a bunch Terence, I’ve just read that article on Barca’s finances and now my head hurts!
    Fascinating stuff guys, thanks som much for the enlightening details.
    Still convinced we’ll see Cesc in an Arsenal shirt in August.

  27. Have just read the swiss ramble blog myself and must thank Terrance for the link. The article on Barca’s finances was excellent, but worrying at the same time, because it does show that if they did want to bid £40m + plus for Cesc, then they would probably be able to cope fairly easily, despite just shelling out £35m on Villa. The article on the same site about Arsenals potential transfer budget this season was also very, very good although it seems to be based on last years accounts and doesn’t mention possible additions to revenue for this last season, certainly the last 6 months, where no accounts are yet available. But a £50m budget is not too bad if this turns out to be more or less accurate.
    On the issue of these new UEFA financial rules, I’ve sort of lost a bit of interest myself in recent months. That an extension now exists giving clubs until 2015 to get compliant is not really a surprise seeing as UEFA need all the biggest clubs in their competition in order for it to remain successful and continue bringing in the money it does. So they will give Man IOU, Real Mad, Chelsea et al, all the time they can to get their acts together as the CL would not be anywhere near as attractive a competition without the top sides (the clubs ultimately hold all the power anyway and UEFA know this and besides, they need the CL revenue to fund their extravagant jobs and perks just as much as the clubs do). It’s all rather boring now and these rules are just another big PR job to give the masses the illusion that they care about fair play and governance and equal competition etc etc etc. It’s just pure politics.

  28. Terence — Nice link. The Swiss Rambler is quite informative and well-written.

    How Barca and Real can continue w/ their exclusive TV rights is beyond me. The Spanish league is doomed, and what’s going to happen is a Super League like AW predicted, because it’s not just the other Spanish clubs who have no hope of competing, but in a climate where Barca has the financial ability to form a starting eleven composed of the starting eleven Spanish national team AND tap up bench players like Fabregas makes it seem very dire. If the Mourinho rumors are true, then Real will be spending even more than their absurd sum over the next few years…

    How can other teams compete? Well, by divine grace (Inter can thank God for the Iceland volcano!) and by a different model like AW’s.

    The thing is that money buys the ability to make a 60 million pound mistake like Ibra and not blink an eye…no matter what AW’s brilliance, there’s only so much we can do in an unfair climate.

  29. Hey Tony,

    Its my first post on your site though I’ve been reading for a while. I must say for a person who really does criticise the football bodies as corrupt and inept its odd that you seem to find hope in the UEFA proposals. I’m inclined to be sceptical like many other people it would seem. A Champions League without Man U, Real Madrid, Chelsea etc does not make good business sense for them. So why would a body like UEFA ensure that happens? In a fair world it would and we would benefit, but its anything but a fair world is it..

  30. Tim – how can you say that the Swiss Ramble link is “quite informative” – I thought it was bleedin’ brilliant, the most in depth piece I have seen.

    We had above one correspondent saying “Barca are not in debt – read the accounts” but with no link and no support or evidence, and then the Swiss Ramble which goes into the finest detail and tells us exactly what is going on.

    I certainly didn’t know that Barca were still holding on to money they owe Arsenal, and through all the figures I think it is fair to say that they are in significant debt, and that the profit from the year in which they won everything was modest to put it at its best.

    As with those above, I would say, follow the Swiss Ramble link – and indeed read other articles on the site too for further insights.

  31. Thanks for the link Terrence.

    Tony, your last paragraph is one of the best I have ever read. It really sums it up. I have the luck that my children are at the start of their adult live and I can imagine myself in some 10 years when my grandchildren come over on a saturday and I will be seeing a game and tell them that I know those boys in red and white for so long and they are the good ones, in the past, now and in the future.

  32. paul c so why the barca own board say they are around 400M in debit but no you are right…right i though not

  33. Tony — Indeed, perhaps I was a bit thrifty with the praise. 🙂

    The myth that Barca are the perfect club needs to be shattered, and the Swiss Rambler has provided an excellent start.

    They are clearly a club that engages in dubious dealings and lives above their means. It makes me sick how everyone in the media says AW’s actions are copied from Barca, and that they, unlike Arsenal, develop their own players and don’t “steal” them. Bullshit. Barca have become the monster that they are, largely because of very “favorable” (read “corrupt”) policies that benefit them (TV rights, lax worldwide recruiting policies, very low tax rate, favorable loans, etc.)…

    Spain is the next Greece, and w/ the govt. already calling for austerity measures, I think it’s only time that many of the favorable policies that have so benefited Barca will soon go by the wayside.

    What AW has created is a club that does not depend on the vagaries of worldwide politics and economic conditions, let along UEFA or FA ones. He will be vindicated. Thank God for Arsene Wenger.

  34. This is why I can see a Super League forming if the new rules are brought in without any gaping loopholes. Can you really imagine a Champions League tournament where Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City are barred from the competition? Not only would the fans of the respective clubs be outraged but many of the neutral supporters would be angry also.

    And even if Man City, Chelsea and Madrid make it by reducing their transfer spending massively. I doubt they will take kindly to this loss of power. They would stomp their ground and use the Super League as a bargaining chip.

    I don’t want to believe what you say, I really do. But I just have a hard time believing the Madrid’s/Chelsea’s of this world will give up on their unfair advantages without a fight. They will either gain some gaping loophole in the law which they would exploit to the fullest. Or they will threaten with the Super League. Let’s not forget the Champions League was expanded because some of the bigger clubs were threatening to form this league.

  35. I’m changing my name from Sam to ArsenalDubai as there seems to be another Sam around here!

    While the article is well written, please don’t get your hopes too high. Clubs are run by businessmen who know how to get around regulation (legally or sometimes not). I can’t see ManU or Barca not finding a way around this.

  36. Tony,

    Many thanks for your kind words. That is praise indeed from the man behind Untold Arsenal, which I find a hugely inspirational website. I greatly enjoy reading the articles from Walter and your good self and hope to add to the well of thoroughly researched articles that have a solid basis for their opinions.

    And thank you Terence for posting the link above. I put a lot of effort into preparing each article for my blog, so it is very satisfying when people take the time to read them.

  37. thanks swiss rambler and terence for making it known….i will be regularly visiting your site!!!!!!

    its very nice to have some voices of reason!!!

  38. tony,

    what happens if a team is blocked from being in the champions league? does the team below them then get in? will there be penalties beyond being ‘knocked’ out of the competition? such as transfer restrictions? or financial penalties? (although how do you do that to a club thats broke?)

    furthermore, lets say a club gets 4th in the premier league, but is judged to be financially unfit to play CL by uefa (im assuming the logic being that its unfair etc) then doesnt all of that clubs premier league, fa and league cup matches come into question? could the team in 6th that doesnt get the bump argue for rematches against the ‘corrupt’ team? or lets say the club was in the CL the previous year, before the rules cam in? or they went into debt after making the champions league but it wasnt recorded till the following season after doing well in the current seasons CL?

    and if the logic is that the system is unfair why are we waiting years before implementing rules against it? doesnt that negate any clubs (that are in debt) achievements over the next 3 to 5 years? or is it simply a case that soo many clubs are screwed financially that if they were to implement rules now they would find it hard to make up a full league table?

    why does this only apply to european competition? does this mean that a smaller club can financially dope its way into the top division, then up the table before having to play fair?

    can you answer some of this for me, or point me to someone who has?

    im very skeptical as to whether this will be carried out the way we would like….

  39. Well,unless and until it is implemented, I am going to say it may never come. The Super League is a very big threat to a Champions League, which would bar Barca, Real Madrid, Man Utd, Chelsea and other big teams from entering until they bring their expenses under control.
    Another thing is, while most Gunner fans will love such a situation in which Arsenal may rise to the very top of European clubs, but I am not sure AW himself would like to compete and win a Champions League in which the other ‘current’ big European teams are not allowed to compete. Of course, AW wants to win a Champions League trophy, thats an open secret. But I am not sure this would be the way he would want to achieve that.
    Also,think about it – would you watch a Champions League which would then have current mid-table teams playing in it throughout the season. If you give it some thought, it would not make for entertaining viewing. While AW might be in favour of clubs spending only as much as they can earn, I would expect Arsenal to align with the Super League, should such a situation arise.
    But at the moment everything is speculation. There are a lot of things discussed in football, or sports, in general, and not all of the things discussed get implemented. As the saying goes “We will cross the bridge when we get to it”
    As far as Barca’s spending capabilities are concerned (irrespective of what their actual debt is) there is talk (source is the football gossip section from the BBC Sport’s website) about Barca wanting to sign Torres (rumouredly for 70 m pounds) and Rooney (rumoured to be about 80 m pounds), besides their interest in our captain Fabregas (fees is speculated over a wide range). So whether Barca has a huge debt or not, it certainly doesnt hamper their ability to buy new players.
    In fact, I am wondering that if Cesc so badly wants to return to his boyhood club, why dont we strike a deal which brings Arsenal’s most successful striker, Thierry Henry, back to Arsenal. I know he is now ageing, but he would also be a feel good factor, besides a suitable captain whenever he plays. Cesc is going to go to Barca is a certainty, if not now maybe two years later. It is for AW to calculate when he would be able to get maximum value out of Cesc…

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