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A defence of Manchester City appears in the press, and it is very worrying

By Tony Attwood

The Manchester Evening News has evolved a staunch defence of Manchester City in an article under the headline “Man City Football Leaks revelations are missing a key piece of information”

The article is by Stuart Brennan who is best known to many of us who watch the ducking and diving of journalists for his excellent coverage of the formation of FC United – the breakaway group of Man U fans who went out and formed their own club.

I think he got an award for the story, and I certainly followed it with interest, with Blacksheep and I going off one saturday when Arsenal were not playing to watch FC United play.

That story was essentially one about the alienation of football supporters from a club that was spending so much money that the fans could not feel part of it.   Now here is that journalist again, but now writing about Manchester City and defending their actions vis a vis Uefa.

Brennan makes the statement that the “nub of the Football Leaks allegations (is) the way money was allegedly shuffled around and channelled through Etihad, Etisalat and Aabar in order to bypass the rules.

“There is a moral argument here, as to whether it is reasonable to break rules which are unfair.”   The claim is then made that the rules were not fair, and so Man City seemingly had a moral duty (or at least could be excused) for breaking the rules.

He then cites, as evidence, altruistic football men the likes of Jack Walker at Blackburn, Dave Whelan at Wigan and Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha at Leicester.  Plus he says that the clubs that Man C have bought players from, clubs like Monaco, Wolfsburg, Valencia, Benfica, Porto, have benefitted from the arrangement, and have been happy to accept the money.

So his argument is that Uefa regulations stop beneficial owners at Manchester City and allows detrimental ones (he takes the case of Man U where the Glazers take some of the profits out of the club they own, for their own benefit) to flourish, and thus concludes, “The whole basis of FFP was wrong.”

(I should point out that shareholders taking money out of profitable businesses in return for having invested in the company in the first place, is the whole basis of business in the west, but perhaps we’ll let that pass for the moment.)

As a result of this situation, he claims Man City “had no choice” but to sign up to the FFP rules, then threaten legal action, and then settle with Uefa.

He concludes “The Football Leaks stuff is intriguing, and some of the detail is unseemly and downright despicable – such as claims club lawyer Simon Cliff made a sick joke about the death of one of Uefa’s club financial control body.   But the calls for punishment seem to be more like calls for re-punishment.”

It is an intriguing article from a man who was so forthright in his support for the breakaway club at Man U and so critical of the Glazers, but I think it misses one point.

We can agree that Manchester City signed up for the rules, and then later broke the rules in a manner no one had ever seen before.  Then when Uefa threatened further punishment said they would sue. Uefa buckled and gave in.

But let’s try this a different way.  Imagine I set up a business in England or Andorra or any other country, and there are the rules about tax.  I know the rules and continue to trade. The local tax authority send me a tax bill and I think it is far too much.  I can appeal through established channels which keep the tax authorities, myself, and those judging the case completely separate.

If I don’t like the findings all I can do is go to court which is there to interpret the rules that are laid down.   As when players in Spain try to hide their income and thus not pay tax, the Spanish authorities go to a separate institution, the courts, and the matter is heard there.  The court rules based on what the law says, and both sides accept the ruling. You can’t sue the courts only appeal to a higher court, until you run out of courts.

Uefa has its rule making branch and there is a separate court which judges matters (you will recall if you have read earlier articles that I went into detail about how the two were separated).

But in this case, under threat from Man City, Uefa brought the rule making branch and the judicial branch together to reach a compromise with Man City.

In England that would be like Revenue and Customs (our tax authority) and the courts (County Court, High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court) all being merged into one, so Revenue and Customs and the Court could act together, rather than the latter judging the action of the former on the basis of the laws set in Parliament.

It does happen in countries we generally call dictatorships.  It doesn’t usually happen in democracies. Separating the law makers from the police and from the court that interprets the law is fundamental to western democracy.  Not fundamental to some middle east countries, but to western democracies.

Thus in England in case after case in which clubs went bust and then gave “football creditors” the right to be paid first, leaving non-football creditors (the food supplier, the firm that printed the programme etc) with nothing there were outcries.  Revenue and Customs, the tax collector, didn’t like it so appealed to higher and higher courts, but the ruling was, “the law of the land, as it stands allows this kind of settlement”.

What happened with Uefa was that it joined its court and its rule makers together in the manner of many dictatorships around the world.  Thus, as pressure from Man C mounted it changed its rules and started to act as one organisation that was the judge and when laws are broken, the jury, and the law makers.  That crucial separation was gone. There were no checks and balances.

It is a very fundamental point, and it is interesting that such an established journalist either doesn’t know about it, or ignores it or indeed like the dictatorial process instead of the democratic.

I have lived in a country in which courts and the country’s rule makers (the army) acted in close harmony.  It was quite worrying at times and I didn’t enjoy it. The fact that a) it happened with Uefa and b) others defend this approach, is indeed worrying to someone like me who (perhaps quaintly) really does believe in democracy and the rule of law.

 

60 comments to A defence of Manchester City appears in the press, and it is very worrying

  • Darren

    I am a Utd fan so of course I would be expected to cry unfair, and I do because sometimes unfair is unfair. I would also question punishing someone who broke financial rules with a fine? Its only money to them.
    The situation is or appears to be that some teams in Europe are buying points through unfair means so them points should be taken away.
    I think Newcastle fans in particular should feel aggrieved they fill the ground every week but are seeing a lack of returns from the owner who treats them as a cash cow.
    It does give Utd fans (Manchester and Newcastle ) one thing to say we fill our grounds in the good times and the bad which City do not so a phrase oft aimed at us “Glory hounds” comes to mind.

  • Alphonso

    You write:

    (I should point out that shareholders taking money out of profitable businesses in return for having invested in the company in the first place, is the whole basis of business in the west, but perhaps we’ll let that pass for the moment.)

    The Glazwersa signed the contract to buy ManU and immediately borrowed most of the principle sum from maerican Banks and secured it against the club and its forward income.

    You like that do you?

    Sheik Mansoor has invested his own money, not lenyt it, and you don’t ;like that.

    Ah well that’s football for you, ‘Tribal’ to a fault when it sees a Gooner bigging up ManU (who aren’t much of a threat at the moment) so that he can get a dig in at ManCity (who are)!

  • Alphonso

    You write:

    (I should point out that shareholders taking money out of profitable businesses in return for having invested in the company in the first place, is the whole basis of business in the west, but perhaps we’ll let that pass for the moment.)

    The Glazwers signed the contract to buy ManU and immediately borrowed most of the principle sum from American Banks and secured it against the club and its forward income.

    You like that do you?

    Sheik Mansoor has invested his own money, not lent it, and you don’t like that?

    Ah well that’s football for you, ‘Tribal’ to a fault when it sees a Gooner bigging up ManU (who aren’t much of a threat at the moment) so that he can get a dig in at ManCity (who are)!

  • Steve

    The situation you gave wasn’t a true reflection of what actually happened. City had to sign up to something or not play in Europe, they challenged UEFA and they ran a mile, that’s why the punishment didn’t truly fit the alleged crime. Look at Chelsea, who managed to spend what they required to get competitive, then backed the rule because it would not affect them. You miss the whole point he makes, which is the club would be safe financially no matter what they spent, but they needed to, to challenge in the domestic and European competition. FFP is set up to protect the elite, you said about Man United owners taking money out but conveniently missed out the fact they bought the club on paper then saddled it with debt, which they still have now. Your article is weak on many levels and smacks of jealousy.

  • This is a negative and biased piece of journalism that is missing one huge point. The reason why FFP came about. The whole spirit of FFP was to ensure that clubs would not overspend and go into administration/bankruptcy. It was poorly worded and did not accommodate for wealthy owner/benefactors to inject as much of their own funds into a club and frankly it should have done. Manchester City have neither done nothing wrong nor have they put their club in financial dire straights as a consequence. Only clubs that put themselves at such risk should be punished.

  • Mike I am not sure how my piece is biased. I take one article by a journalist, and point out where I think he has made a mistake. How is that biased? Unless you say that everyone arguing a point with some evidence is biased.

  • Yes clearly the article has failed, because I felt I was writing quite clearly about something completely different – the argument put by the journalist. I am nevertheless still hopeful that someone may have understood what I was writing about.

  • Just a little explanation in case you have posted a message and it has not appeared – one reason might be that our rules posted in the comments page do say that a valid email address has to be given, and giving a fake email address does tend to be picked up and means the comment doesn’t reach us.

  • Jeff

    Your story is very biased one sided and has no credibility. How can you compare country legal tax systems and armed forces to a sporting organisation?. Why don’t you study the basis of GDP and understand how this is a mechanism to keep the previous leading teams such as bayrrn Munich Barcelona and Man U separate from the rest so they can continue to control UEFA and the sport as a whole. Please tell me how putting money into a club to invest millions into a local community including sports facilities for the less fortunate and facilities for young sportsman to flourish is a crime. Or please explain why borrowing money to overburden a club with debt and then siphoning the money out is GDP. Also be clear the reason why mam u fans created a breakaway club was in fact for this

  • Jack Bannister

    Arsenal bought their promotion to the top flight and have been there ever since. They need to return to the second tier and earn promotion……or forever shut up.

  • JimB

    Sorry, Tony, but as a fan of a club (Spurs) that has suffered more than most as a consequence of the emergence of Man City (and Chelsea), I can’t agree with your take on this issue. As much as I would like those clubs to return from whence they came and thus leave a clearer path to trophies for mine, the notion that an owner of a company should be barred from growing that company by investing in it is just fundamentally wrong.

    Most especially, your tax analogy is fatally flawed. You are not comparing like for like at all. You are comparing an organisation’s internal rule with a country’s law. Very different. A country’s (or, in the case of the EU, a continent’s) law supersedes an organisation’s rule. And it’s not even a contest.

    Where Stuart Brennan is absolutely correct is that not only is FFP unfair, it also contravenes EU law. Its legitimacy is paper thin and it would not bear any great scrutiny should it ever be tested in court. UEFA knows it damn well. Which is why they capitulated so easily when Man City came out fighting. And since FFP contravenes EU law, Man City had and have every right to fight it.

    I’d be grateful if you could answer me this, Tony, because it puzzles me. The raison d’être for this website appears to be to fight for what you believe to be right. Yet, in recent weeks, I have seen you act as advocate for both FFP and for the proposed new European Super league. Both are brazen and, IMO, contemptible attempts by the cosy cartel of the established elite clubs to maintain and consolidate their hegemony over the rest. How, in the name of all that is fair, can you argue that that is right?

  • Kinkladze

    Typical partisan view from a fan of another team who doesn’t actually know what is going on with FFP

    Man City met their regulatory FIVE TIMES.

    FIVE TIMES THE GOALPOSTS WERE SHIFTED AFTER WE MET THE TARGETS.

    There is a reason UEFA will not face Man City in court, they know full well it would be them on the end of legal action once this corrupt witch hunt is exposed.

    Please attempt to do some BASIC research before posting your salty bitter disingenuous narrative.

    Typical entitled Arsenal fans,

  • Some points worth raising. FFP was originally intended to hold to account clubs with massive debts – until said clubs put the mockers on that, and UEFA went for us. The intention of FFP was to cement the cartel of clubs who in reality run European football. Also, City worked with UEFA for two years to ensure compliance, only for UEFA to shift the goalposts and include accounting years from earlier they had said they would not – thereby enabling them to go for City. It is more than likely the FFP breaks competition rules – after all, why should the owner of a business not invest what they want to into an enterprise – in all other businesses, one speculates to accumulate. We kicked down the doors of FFP just as they were closing.

    UEFA hence had no option but to come to an agreement with us. As was their right – it is a private organisation who deal with its members as it wants. Meanwhile, the clubs with huge debts are still there with their huge debts. One should note that Chelsea owe Abramovich over £1 billion pounds – yet this is it seems of no concern to UEFA, whereas City are now self financing, and indeed, building a new model of football business, with sister companies all over the world.

    We’ve also had UEFA do more shit on is – for example, when we played Portio in the EL some years back, City were fined for coming out one minute late on to the pitch for the second half. Indeed, we were fined more for that than Porto were for their fans’ racist chants. So we hold UEFA in contempt, and will do for a long time. Note how they let PSG off the hook when they spend £500,000 on just two players, with Mbappe paid for but on loan, hence getting round FFP.

    FFP is an artificial restraint on business imposed to protect a cartel. If you think that’s fine, well…

  • Nitram

    Tony

    To be honest you are wasting your breath.

    City are determined to spend as much as they like to ensure winning everything they possibly can.

    They have no cares as to how they get the money.

    If it comes via an illegal means they do not care. They just claim the law is wrong.

    They have no cares as to where it comes from.

    If it comes from a morally corrupt source they just claim everyone does it.

    City spending over ONE BILLION nett on players in 6 years is not, despite appearances to the contrary, buying the Premiership.

    City acquiring the money from a source that denies their people basic human rights is not, despite appearances to the contrary, morally indefensible.

    City claim breaking laws is not, despite appearances to the contrary, in fact wrong, it is in fact their duty to do so.

    Come to think of it I cant believe how I’ve got this all so wrong.

    Honestly, if we could all just agree with everything City do and everything their fans say we’d all be so much happier.

  • Colin K

    Let’s put it this way if uefa wanted to stop clubs going into dept then make all transfer fees a maximum of £25 million and no player can be paid more than £100.000 per week, now with tv money everyone can bid and pay for the same players. The other way to look at this is the bloke who came up with the idea of FFP wanted a clause inserted that excludes any club who have a wealthy owner who is developing the area around the club. Forgive me if I’m wrong but the development of east lands is amazing but I don’t see OT being helped with development by the glaziers or even the Edwards family before them.FFP was altered to stop MCFC joint the party as the big clubs in Europe new what was coming.

  • Jeremy Poynton

    Nitram,

    If your club does business in China, as almost all Prem clubs do, maybe think before writing?

  • Blue to Bits

    Nice try

    Let’s ignore the very reason for the introduction of FFP ( to restrict only City from operating like any other business because the man who owns then 100% is richer than the other Masonic lodge of football clubs, the G14 of which Arsenal were one) and the fact that three of the main instigators Platini,Hoeness & Berlusconi are obviously good law abiding people you would consider as right and proper to introduce these rules.

    To compare UEFAs different regulatory arms to those of HMRC & the law of the land in England is ridiculous in the extreme parliament via 630 MP’s voted to power by 65million people dictate the rules to HMRC and also have an input to lawmaking.

    At the time of FFP the chairmen of the G14 yes all fourteen with vested interests dictate to UEFA as to the rules and as such different arms of the organisation are irrelevant as what the G14 want they got.

    Let’s ignore the fact that originally FFP rules would not start immediately as City could not comply due to money already laid out and contracts agreed. Then under pressure from the G14 UEFA moved the goal posts and back tracked.at which point City threaten legal action and a deal was done.

    Let’s ignore the fact that Der Spiegele have been asked to put up or shut up with regard to illegal obtains of data due to hacking and if complaint face jail as such.

    Let’s ignore the fact that City have NO debt and are registered in the UK.

    As an Arsenal fan you may be aware of one Alan Sugar and how he wiped the floor with the FA when they tried a similar restriction on a business and the ‘football rules’ were laughted out of court

    City will do the same if and when the time comes

  • Jeremy Poynton

    Buying the Prem? Apart from LCFC, when did that not happen? You should check United’s accounts for Ferguson’s first six years – they pissed money away to win the league. Indeed, if you knew football history they bought the league first in 191, thanks to a then huge investment by a director.

    Grow up. Whingeing is pathetic.

  • Blue to bits, I would love to see the evidence to support your comment
    “to restrict only City from operating like any other business because the man who owns then 100% is richer than the other Masonic lodge of football clubs, the G14 of which Arsenal were one)”
    That would make one hell of a story and I would love to publish it.

  • Kinkladze, I am not sure what the fact that
    Man City met their regulatory FIVE TIMES.
    FIVE TIMES THE GOALPOSTS WERE SHIFTED AFTER WE MET THE TARGETS.
    has to do with my article, but it is an interesting point. Please could you write another note to give us the source of this information as it would, in itself, make a most interesting article

  • Jim B, as was debated in earlier articles on this site, there was a court case in which the legitimacy of the EU’s stance that sports stood outside the general rules of competition was tested, and it was found that sport by its nature is different from business and thus requires separate regulation.
    That was debated in much depth on this site and in other places at the time, and the EU seem quite content with that situation.

  • Jack Banister, that is most interesting in that you are sending it to the one person who has done the research on Arsenal’s promotion to the first division in 1919.
    If you scroll to the foot of the page https://blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/henry-norris-at-the-arsenal you will find the index to the most comprehensive series of articles covering Arsenal’s election when the league was expanded in 1919, and the match fixing scandals that caused much of the problem. It draws on all the evidence available, including newspaper reports at the time, media discussion before the AGM of the League, and subsequent reaction, and in many cases quotes directly from these contemporary events.
    There is nothing more comprehensive on the subject that this long series of articles, so I would love to know which part of the evidence drawn from the era you find false.

  • Jeff, I don’t think that “putting money into a club to invest millions into a local community including sports facilities for the less fortunate and facilities for young sportsman to flourish is a crime.” Not at all. I was just commenting that I thought the writer of the article in the local newspaper was mistaken in his analysis, because it missed an important bit of information out.

  • BillyBoy

    You do not seem to understand the difference between rules and laws.

  • markyb

    Yes but Utd made their money legitimately

  • Breaking rules you say?
    Like bribing your way into the league in the first place
    People in glasshouses shouldnt throw stones

    Just sayin

  • Dave Stubbs

    Unfoturnately your article covering Stuart Brennans article has missed one key element that was eluded to in the headline, which centred around 1 key piece if information that was missing from the football leaks documents

    The football leaks aludes to underhand tactics, inflated deals and forged documents for sponsorship, and makes a recommendation that uefa investigate this.

    The key piece of information missing from football leaks is quite simply this…..

    What if uefa ALREADY KNEW THIS and that’s why they offered punative punishment knowing that court case’s would the them in nots and rip FFP to shreds.

    You’re all ready to jump on city because we broke the rules and need to be punished, we don’t know what city have been punished for and everyone assumed that uefa doesnt/didn’t know all this already

  • GoingGoingGooner

    If a club violates football, tax or labour laws, I would expect it would be prosecuted like I would expect our club to be prosecuted. If Man City is not being prosecuted for breaking laws, they should be. If the laws are unjust, lobby or vote to have them changed. Some other posters have claimed that the rules are unjust and they have suffered, well so have we to the vagaries of the referees in England. Only now, after everyone else, are we going to start using VAR. Arsenal has lobbied for this for years.

    NO, what irritates me about Man City is that a nation state owns it. Despite, the existence of the UN, the EU or the collection of conventions known as ‘International Law’, sovereignty resides in nations. Put another way, Man City’s owners are not subject to laws as any other individual person would be. They can use the power of a sovereign state to move money, change laws and protect themselves against anything…well, football. No other club can. I don’t dislike the football players, the manager and the fans, per se. It is this advantage which is transcends being richer that our owner (who doesn’t put money into our club anyway).

  • Well, Bluecarlos, I’ve just said, and indeed said to many Man City fans before, we’ve dealt with this in more depth than any other organisation ever. First, I think you are mistaking the point, in that no one has suggested Arsenal bribed their way into the league in 1893, although if you have evidence on this, I’d love to see it, as it is a story we have missed.
    But I suspect you actually refer to the election of Arsenal to the first division in 1919. Now I am sorry for other readers who have to keep reading my same comment over and over and over, but we have published by far the most detailed review of the 1919 story, going back to the match fixing scandal among north western clubs starting in 1912, and following its development up to the AGM in 1919. we’ve got quotes from the AGM minutes, from newspapers that covered the story before and after, from the most presigious sports news magazine of the day, and the watched the story emerge subsequently.

    The whole report is indexed at https://blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/henry-norris-at-the-arsenal and to help we’ve even published a sub index at the end of the page just highlighting the articles on the 1919 election. I would be delighted if you would read this and then tell me of any issue we have got wrong, and the contrary evidence. I am sure you are full of information since you have brought it up here, just as other Manchester City supporters have.

  • Blue to Bits

    I do not have the illegal evidence you have used to support your argument that city have broken some trumped up rules but it didn’t stop you finding them guilty did it?

    At the time , these FFP rules affected absolutely no one except Manchester City.
    Meetings of the G14 have been widely publicised years before FFP was muted
    As is everyone’s belief , apart from you apparently,that UEFA are not dictated to by the G 14 or its successor.
    The infamous letter between messers Gill of MUFC and Dean of AFC instigating EPL. FFP have been widely publicised on social media

    What Evidence do you need?

  • With the whinging of Italian clubs mainly eufa moved the goalposts in their co-efficient table They awarded 5 points for to clubs for winning the European cup/champions league This meant MCFC fell from 11th to 17th juventas shot up the table The co-efficient table is used for placing teams in the group stages of the C/L That is why we boo their anthem and a lot of us would rather win the premiership than the C/L

  • Blue to Bits

    Going going Gooner

    They are rules NOT Law, and rules devised by individuals who have now been proved to be corrupt and serving jail time (Honess of Bayern) are not to be lived by.

    Alan Sugar took the FA to the court of law when the FA tried to restrict his business at Spurs with thier rules.

    Guess what he won hands down because rules agreed between individuals do not stand up in a court of Law especially when it affects the finances of a business and football clubs are businesses.

  • David G

    Sadly the problem here is a football specific one. No European country could prevent an owner investing his money into his business in order to improve it and gain a market share previously unavailable to it. That is what the FFP rules are established to prevent – albeit with a fairly odious back story about clubs being run irresponsibly. Uefa are very aware that this rule will not stand up to any sort of court challenge as it is non-competitive. That leaves them with either negotiating with a breaker of the rules or risk an expensive and almost certain heavy loss in court. You could say that the rules are there and joining their competitions means you accept those rules, but on the basis that the rules are manifestly unfair and no jurisdiction would tolerate a semi decent challenge to them, you have to ask, why are they attempting to continue with them. The answer of course is that they can get away with it until someone with more money and determination than they have forces the issue.

    Whether we, as fans, like it or not, the clubs are owned by entities that have every right to invest in them, responsibly or not. And it is not up to a governing body to enforce a rule that prevents it, by ignoring company law. The silence from Uefa on this is of course deafening and it’s no wonder that the rule is being pretty much ignored now. I see regularly that PSG will have to sell either Neymar or Mbappe to comply. That is patently not going to happen, because if Uefa force the issue, they will be taken to court and will lose. Whether you believe it to have merit or not, FFP is a joke.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Manchester Cheaty is holier than the pope. How I know this? Their supporters say so. 🙂 Who am I to doubt then.

  • DavidG

    We all know that FFP would not stand up to court challenge. It is underhand and non-competitive. Uefa have done deals with PSG and City so that they won’t be challenged and FFP thrown out. It’s simple really. Whether we like it or not clubs are owned by entities that, under any company law in Europe, are perfectly entitled to invest in their club in whatever way they like to develop their company.

    If you believe that Uefa have a noble intention of preventing irresponsible spending – and that is highly questionable – the fact is that any one that owns a company can invest – and go broke based on their business ability. Sad for fans but nonetheless true.

    I keep hearing that PSG will have to sell either Neymar or Mbappe. That will be a test for Uefa, because an attempt to force that through will almost certainly trigger a court challenge, and likely the end of FFP for good.

    That just leaves the issue of the rules of the competition, and should they be allowed to be broken. I guess we could all point to numerous situations where a company will do what they want to do, and then say come at us with your best shot if you don’t like it. Indeed FFP is one of those in itself.

  • Ben

    But City is not owned by 1 man though. Isnt it 2 countries?

  • Mike Biggs

    FFP has led to very little competition across Europe. Who wins the German, Italian and Spanish leagues other than Bayern, Juventus, Barcelona and Real. It never used to be like that. Wealthy benefactors disrupt things and that in my view should be encouraged. People only moan in this country because Chelsea and City got through the door before the likes of Arsenal, United and Liverpool bolted it.

  • Mike Briggs – since I am presumably a moaner I can tell you that is not the reason I complain about the FFP case with Manchester City. I am sorry I have not made that clear in the article

  • No David G we don’t all know that. I followed the court arguments in Europe over FFP and over the issue of sport as an activity that should be ruled by different rules from normal competition rules, and the court hearings, reported on this blog didn’t seem to say that at all. So no, David you are wrong.

  • Blue to Bits:
    “At the time , these FFP rules affected absolutely no one except Manchester City.” That is not the case. In the original hearing four years ago there were a number of clubs (six I think from memory – we covered it in detail at the time) and they all settled at once except Man City. And as for “no one” even more recently one might cite PSG.

  • AKH

    WHEN i was younger, the term the ‘unacceptable face of capitalism’, was sometimes used to criticise those establishments and individuals attempting to use or channel economic ideas and practices that were not seen as conducive to those ideas normally practised within traditional ‘capitalist markets’.

    Since the onset of the concept of neoliberal global economics, this ‘unacceptable’ term no longer seems to be in vogue with regards to current economic practices and acquired wealth.However, after reading the articles in Der Spiegel regarding the use and/or apparent abuse of the ways that funds are and have been transferred to football establishments from Abu Dhabi and Qatar in the first instance.

    The body of journalists within Der Spiegel and their colleagues around Europe have amassed a considerable amount of information suggesting that there is enough evidence of major malpractice within the funding processes of PSG and Manchester City! Ethics and morality can hardly be used to justify the behaviour of the said football clubs and their owners/sponsors. Indeed, why is it that many journalists, and football followers generally, feel that football is an area that is above political and economic malpractice.

    Why, when there is a wealth of evidence suggesting malpractice do some individuals feel the need to verbally attack, without themselves offering evidence, those individuals that attempt to offer comment and open debate concerning alleged malpractice.

    Tony Attwood does not need such abuse. Untold Arsenal is offering observation and comment on many important issues underpinning football funding on an international scale! For me, the Der Spiegel articles suggest the notion of the ‘unacceptable face of capitalism’. Perhaps commentators here might suggest why this is not the case!

  • Paul

    AKH, lad. The real crime was committed by the clubs (inc. Arsenal) that campaigned for FFP in order to maintain the status quo. Now, a cartel – THAT’S corrupt.

  • BDR

    “The body of journalists within Der Spiegel and their colleagues around Europe have amassed a considerable amount of information suggesting that there is enough evidence of major malpractice within the funding processes of PSG and Manchester City! Ethics and morality can hardly be used to justify the behaviour of the said football clubs and their owners/sponsors. Indeed, why is it that many journalists, and football followers generally, feel that football is an area that is above political and economic malpractice.”

    Where exactly was the financial malpractice? What City did was perfectly legal in law but was deemed to fall foul of UEFA rules, rules that were ammended several times to hinder Manchester City’s progress.

    Der Spiegel has access to a batch of STOLEN documents, files that haven’t even been verified by UEFA yet everyone is suddenly up in arms – Wasn’t this the paper that bought the bogus ‘Hitler Diaries’ many years back and promoted them as genuine.

    You may have also noted that not a single German or Italian club has been accused of ‘wrong doing’, that should immediately ring alarm bells for anyone genuinely seeking the truth.

  • WalterBroeckx

    If I read most of the comments from Cheaty supporters it looks as if they have been brainwashed in some way? As they all use the same phrases in defence of their team.

  • Tony Attwood our paths cross once again over FFP? Arsenal are no longer in the top 4 for all there own doing they had the money but wouldn’t spend it, now CITY have the money but now spend it wiser than most that there can be no denying, What about your club? its been ripping its own fans off with ticket prices for so long, so pathetic get over it, screw the elitist! screw the Bayern controlled der spiel! and screw you! City got punished in 2014 it cost us the league and now because we are becoming so INVINCIBLE the old guard just cannot handle it, it isn’t about FFP at all that’s just a made up entity by the old G14 Mr Samual explains this quite clearly and to most of the normal footballing world world makes sence, and what happened to innocent before being proved guilty? your all in a spin because of a source a leak a hack even I’m really hoping for City to use there power of a state nation which every Tom, Dick and Herbert goes on about and takes all the journo’s starting with der spiel to the fkin cleaners and stop there incessent whining! what sort of fair play are der spiel playing? you don’t like Samual as he’s spuds and you don’t like any thing positive written about City will you still be paranoid in another 10 years time?

  • Percy Blakeney

    Of course sporting bodies can have restrictions in their constitutions to promote competition. It happens all over the world. Just take the USA, the centre of capitalism, what do you think that the draft system and salary caps are designed to achieve?
    And, as for the holier than thou City glasshouse contributors, perhaps they should put a footnote on their moralising acknowledging the seventeen players booted out for bribing the opposition and a host of other financial irregularities before chucking stones.

  • Nig

    FFP was flawed from the outset . Man City were found guilty of overspending because the endorsements received were deemed illegal because the owner had family ties with some of the major sponsors. The City Group have invested heavily in the club and the city of Manchester have put no debt on the club. My question re ffp, is simple if there is a level playing field to base ffp on , then how come it doesn’t apply to Real Madrid who are owned by banks and are seriously in the red ? Man united who were purchased on a loan and the owners pillage the cofffers whilst still burdening the club with massive debt. PSG flaunt all rules spend zero on infrastructure and surrounding areas. ( plus surely as Platinins son is CFO of PSG it’ was a massive conflict of interest) Bayern Munich are 50% owned by Audi , who also are there biggest sponsor and source of revenue. If UEFA is accepting all these things under ffp. Thenhow come a debt free club who is self supporting , be charged for breaking financial rules . Rules that were put in place 20 months after the takeover of Man City. Ffp should be dismissed as a lame attempt to keep new clubs out of the hierarchy . After all one of the main instigators was David Gill ex cfo of Man united . It’s a bullshit rule from a bullshit organisation . Where the CEO is banned from football for 8 years for accepting under the table payments . Wonder how many he received from europes top table clubs to invent ffp for them

  • Vh

    Also for the record Darren, I don’t understand the joining of you and Newcastle, Newcastle can’t stand you, ask Shearer and bles him, Gaza, fergie tried his upmost to sign them two. But in reality, them geordies can’t stand. Lol

  • Gooner in Exile

    There seems to be a concensus from the City fans commenting here that FFP rules were only set up to protect ‘the elite’. That is as maybe, although I believe it is a partial consequence rather than a reason. However, if there were no FFP rules, there is still the issue of where City’s money comes from. City supporters just ignore the comments about the morality of this. I suspect that they don’t care. I also suspect that they would ignore any suggestion that the owners don’t actually care too much about football and that they are just using football as a way of ‘legitamising’ themselves.
    By the way City were the opposition the first time that I first saw Arsenal play (1959). I have liked them ever since and still do, so don’t shout at me that I am biased.

  • GoatersAntlers

    The fact remains City fans dont care because they are winning things whilst other clubs are jealous of City. If tables were turned and for example Newcastle had been bought by wealthy investors and were playing how City are now then everyone would be jealous of Newcastle. Its just the way of the world. People will always be jealous yet deny being jealous. Real Madrid spent hundreds of millions and are in debt but do Real Madrid care? NO. Do fans of other clubs care? YES, because of jealousy.

    FFP is just another rule to cause debate, like the backpass rule was, and like VAR is, and like the offside rule.

    Football is played on a pitch with 11 vs 11, its not played in uefa offices or in finances. For those that dont like the progress of City and other big spenders then go down to your local non-league club where money isnt heavily splashed. Once there you will get a warm welcome, enjoy a game of football, and will help the club and the community without being ripped off.

  • GoatersAntlers – absolutely agree. Tragically my local club Rushden and Diamonds hit the dust after a fabulous journey, but there are still other clubs around to watch. Thanks for your comment.

  • Nig
    ” Man City were found guilty of overspending because the endorsements received were deemed illegal because the owner had family ties with some of the major sponsors. ”

    I am really sure that is not right. They were found guilty of overspending because they spent more than permitted.

  • Bobome

    To suggest that an owner can put money in his football business without regards to its source(s) and carry on that business as if what he’d done was all ok is to say that a drug lord owner of a football club can launder his illicit drug money through that business. Well it is his money, why not? Those Man City supporters that are coming on here to allege ‘bias’, ‘jealousy’ etc should be worried for the future because if the owners of their club continue in this way then all manner of legitimate and illegitimate means will be used to keep winning trophies. There should be some form of ethical code of conduct in football.

    FFP was to be applicable across the board but again you wouldn’t go after a club that hasn’t breached the rules would you? Fair competition suggests that there should be a level playing field among all the clubs engaged in a competition for trophies. What the owners, who are using their access to the sovereign wealth of their countries are doing is tilting the playing field in favor of their clubs to the disadvantage of other clubs who have no such access. Where then is the fair competition?

    We can understand starting off a club with owner financing but to continually rely on it to win trophies well beyond the levels of basic survival points at a desperate need for glory no matter what others think. This is why the financing model being employed by billionaire and sovereign wealth owners of football clubs just doesn’t sit well with those who campaign for fair competition. We shouldn’t dress up the ‘hunt for glory’ at all and any costs in the borrowed robes of owner financing that does not offend morals.

  • clockerz

    It would appear this site has given up on Unai’s Arsenal as witnessed in recent articles where Mr Wenger is talked of more than Unai. Now it’s become a site envious of any club doing better which is quite pathetic. If one wants to read about Man City surely there are other places to go. Methinks Tony Atwood is happy to just have any response he can get because his passion for Arsenal is clearly on the wane. Add to that Walter sounding like a distant troll it will be interesting to see the response if Unai takes Arsenal back into the top four.

  • AKH

    Paul, thank you for referring to me as lad. I no longer feel quite so old ( nor patronised)! Nor am I/was I a supporter of FFP. That is not what my comment was about. Nor do I try to justify the actions of Arsenal through the(un) moral and (un)ethical decisions of KSE and its owners (eg. movement of St Louis Rams to LA; actions of Walmart on small time US communities)
    BDR, I can only assume you feel the same about ‘Wikileaks’ and the associated evidence emanating from it being ‘stolen’. Perhaps you feel that so-called whistleblowers providing important information to EIC journalists should be prosecuted as thieves! Perhaps the journalists themselves should be prosecuted as thieves!
    Indeed “In 2016, European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) started publishing in-depth reportage focused on events critical to Europe. The network currently includes more than 100 journalists, information-designers and technologists working together on specific large-scale projects. Due to our many meetings and conversations, small groups of journalists in our network discuss ideas for cross-border stories and publish articles that enlist the talents of the reporters from our pool of professionals.” (EIC 2018). The Sunday Times has been in partnership with EIC on the football leaks issues. No Scottish or Welsh team has yet been cited -should alarm bells be ringing?……..

  • insideright

    The application of the rules (four years ago?) that Man City fell foul of happened considerably after FFP had been introduced. That introduction happened when the only obvious transgressor in this country was Chelsea who (coincidently?) also got their money from an owner who had become rich in dubious circumstances in a non democratic environment.
    Chelsea spent that money, often breaking FA rules on tapping-up, and undermined a number of other clubs in the process. But they made promises that they would be ‘self sufficient’ within a few years via the expansion of Stamford Bridge and by having an academy producing most of their first team squad. Peter Kenyon their then CEO said so in print. He got sacked for not delivering on those promises and Chelsea have continued to break them ever since.
    So successful were Chelsea in getting away with it that Man City (like Chelsea, close to bankruptcy when bought) offered a new owner to seek to try the same strategy. Man City played the game much better than did Chelsea but had the availabilty of a ‘free’ new stadium on which to build their plan.
    The history of owner/investors before that was very much one of short term success (Backburn, Portsmouth and Leeds) followed by disaterous failure and bankruptcy. They all lived the dream and suffered the nightmares. Clubs who self funded stadium moves designed to do things ‘properly’ (Sunderland, Southampton etc.) also fell into serious problems and often relegation.
    History tells us that investing both on and off the pitch at the same time is the only way to grow in the long term and maintain your position in the hierarchy – but this can only be done with outside funds in very large quantities and with a blind eye turned to the morality of their origins.
    As it happens, recognising that this is after all an Arsenal blog, one should say that Arsenal are perhaps the only club which has self funded the whole of their operation and only slipped by a couple of places – a remarkable achievement and one which will probably bear the most obvious fruit as time progresses.

  • Clockerz you are of course at liberty to think anything you like. But of course that doesn’t make it true any more than your misspelling my surname makes your spelling correct and that of members of my family wrong. Think on think on – there are many who you can find who will think you like you, although quite what the point of it is I am not at all sure.

  • This exchange of views has been interesting albeit somewhat one-sided.

    Can I congratulate you, Tony, for taking all that flak, almost single-handedly?

    The usual participants in this blog, except for Walter have been conspicuous for their absence, choosing, understandably so, to sit on their typing hands, rather than to open themselves to the angry responses from the $ity faithful.

    AS I peek over my fingers to check that no one else is watching, I am being brave to comment that we will have to disagree with the $ity fans who are happy with the status quo and are not prepared to see where this is going.

    I would be interested to see the filed accounts of the man$ity company or companies to see how the influx of so much money has been treated.

    Is it shown as director’s loans, or simply as income? If as income, then would it not be liable to tax? If as director’s loans, then surely the company is insolvent if the amount of the loans exceed the value of the company’s assets?

    I am not an accountant, so can one of our $ity guests able to assist here?

    Please excuse me as I run to hide behind the sofa.

  • Morale

    I have been a silent reader of untold for years now but decided to break my silence to ask $ity fans who claim we are all jealous a few questions..
    What is the point of a competition if u already know the outcome?
    What if a few countries come together tomorrow and decide to pool wealth together and buy a few clubs(eg Cardiff, sampdoria, levante, caen, Mainz) and then go ahead to buy all the best players and dominate their respective leagues and champions league for the foreseeable future? Will city and psg fans be ok with it. Will these competitions still attract all the attention they do now? Would it still make footballing sense?

  • Nitram

    Morale

    “……… to ask $ity fans who claim we are all jealous a few questions.”

    Exactly

    Wanting to defend their club, rightly or wrongly, is one thing, but accusing anyone and everyone who criticises them as simply jealous is ridiculous.

    Of course if City fans want to question things on accuracy that’s fine. Present the contrary evidence and enter into debate, but please stop with this ‘you’re all jealous’ nonsense.

    I might want to be a Millionaire but I’m not, does that mean I am jealous of anyone who is ?

    I might detest the way some people have made their millions. I might moan about the way some people make their Millions. Does that make me jealous ?

    Just because I don’t agree with something doesn’t automatically make me jealous of it, and to suggest it does says more about yourself than it does me.

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