The salary cap is the centrepiece of the current round of UEFA proposals. It is based on the notion that each club will have to declare its “football income” – that is money raised directly from footballing activities. The clubs will then be limited as to how much of that income they can spend each year on salaries.
Arsenal’s salary position is a matter of some debate – and it has often been suggested that the salary budget is very high – second perhaps only to Manchester Bankrupt. The Lord Wenger however has said that Arsenal spend far less on salaries than Manchester, so the truth of the matter is unclear.
Arsenal’s strength however is that its income comes almost totally from football activities. Figures released last year suggest that Arsenal has the largest match day income in the world of football, and although our marketing income is still way behind Manchester’s it is growing year on year.
If the regulation applies to all EPL clubs, then the clubs that will suffer primarily are KGB Athletico Fulham and Manchester Arab because most of their money comes from non-football sources. Liverpool Insolvency and Manchester Bankrupt won’t suffer so much because although they are massively in debt that won’t be taken into account it seems. It is just the income that will be considered.
But there is another factor lurking underneath all this. Before Manchester Arab became the latest richest club in the world, the richest club in the world was QPR who were taken over by Lakshmi Mittal — the fifth richest man in the world, alongside Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore.
Manchester Arab and QPR have gone about life in very different ways since the take-over. QPR seem to me to have been moderately calm and quiet, and they sit mid-table in the Championship, four points off the play-offs with a game or two in hand.
Manchester Arab have made themselves the laughing stock of the entire world of football, not least by their offers of £125 million to Devonshire Hill Lane Infants School for some six year old they saw kick a ball around last week in the playground.
The fact that Manchester Arab have screwed up, and that even Liverpool Insolvency are finding it harder than they imagined to come up with a new owner, while KGB Athletico Fulham now have this new “no more investment” plan, combined with a sacking of their entire youth recruitment squad, shows that the old-fashioned notions of football (ie those of six years ago) are now dead.
Absent Abramovich has shown brilliantly that you can’t just buy a team and make it work. Sheik Yermoney has shown that picking up a dope like the Ooze and putting him in charge of a team with unlimited spend won’t even fill a stadium (which incidentally us idiot tax-payers are still paying for). Liverpool Insolvency have shown that clubs are a lot harder to sell than they used to be.
Only Manchester Bankrupt have got away with it, for the simple reason that no matter how much one might dislike the man, Sir Alex F-Word is a very good manager. He was at Aberdeen and he is in Manchester. But, his hyper-spending campaign is running the club into deeper and deeper debt and he himself will leave the club in a state of financial chaos from which his successor will never be able to recover. And the salary cap will reduce the sheer volume of players Manchester Bankrupt can keep on their books.
Overall then if the salary cap applies to all EPL clubs it will harm Manchester A and KGB Athletico Fulham most, and any other teams that are just adding to their debt with salaries – which includes Manchester B. Beyond that, if Liverpool can’t find a buyer in the summer (because the Arabs are starting to look at Manchester A and think they don’t fancy being laughed at) then they will simply grind to a stop because their bank loans will run out.
There is however one other point. It is just possible that the salary cap will only applies to clubs in the Champs League – which will then allow clubs to spend as much as they want on salaries, but will limit the total salary spend on the players they nominate as part of their Champs League squad. In such a case it is difficult to see that much will happen at all.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
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