By Tony Attwood
As you will know if you have been paying attention, the media are telling us Arsenal are in real big trouble, what with last season being so awful.
But really that trouble is not that big, first because the owners offered to put quarter of a billion pounds into the club (although curiously having pumped that story up without any evidence the media has now let it go again, so maybe that one isn’t true. Can’t trust the media eh?)
However quarter of a billion is as nothing to the debt of FC Barcelona which is considered to be around €1,173m. They have taken on extra loans including over half a billion euros from Goldman Sachs and players are not being paid until November.
The club’s accounts show that salaries add up to 110% of their income, they have broken the salary limit regulations for the Spanish League, and even if they’d received the normal stadium income last season, they’d been very deeply in it. But they didn’t. No crowds, no tourists. Anyway there is no money to pay the players – which is a bit of a shame.
All of which explains the big lurking issue of why Barcelona, with two other clubs, have refused to disown the Super League, and why the Super League case which says that Uefa has no right to stop Super League, is still rumbling through the courts.
There is a feeling among those who study such legalistics that the three clubs still left in Super League have a very good chance of winning. And if they do they will take Super League forward, bringing in clubs that were not part of the original 12 who can now act without fear of being kicked out of anything, plus maybe a couple of new clubs that were not in it before, plus a top club from the US and maybe one or two from Aisa. Super League II will rise from the ashes.
And quite possibly be shown on a TV channel in the UK.
It is totally a financial deal and one that clubs outside of the original 12, which want to rise up quickly will find attractive. There might even be a club from Fifa’s planned pan-African league, of which we wrote a while back, getting itself involved.
The fact is that if Barcelona, Real Mad and Juventus do win their case against Uefa in the courts, there are going to be some green faces in the rest of Europe, and for all the fuss made by fans of Premier League teams about not wanting to be in the Super League there will be dozens more who do.
For example, before PSG were remodelled into an investment vehicle for middle eastern financiers they had only won the league twice. Now they win it every year. Would they worry about being thrown out of the French league if they could pick up the wealth of Super League in its place? Suddenly the map changes.
As for Barcelona they have to win the court case in Spain. Some players have taken salary cuts. Others are being sold off for tiny sums just to get rid of their salaries.
Other clubs are watching, although of course English clubs are hamstrung by the artificial home-grown rule, which is what makes Arsenal so keen to bring through more and more youngsters. As things stand the Arsenal squad has no more room for another foreign grown player, and they are finding it hard to sell foreign grown players because all clubs are feeling the pinch.
All of which raises another issue.
When the Football League Cup was first mooted, Arsenal and a few other clubs imperiously stood outside of it. When they were ordered to be part of it, they obeyed, grudgingly.
When the European Cup was first mooted, English clubs imperiously stood outside it, dragged into it later only to find that those cheating nasty foreigners could actually beat us.
When Super League was launched we jumped in and then out. But supposing Super League II evolves from the three clubs that are challenging the issue of Uefa’s imperialism in court, what then.
Will Arsenal’s American owners, finding themselves running a club that made mega losses during the pandemic, simply sit still and let the debts grow while the solution is there, just a phone call away?
I don’t know. But we’ll get a clue when the Spanish court rules on whether it was legal for the Spanish League to try and block Spanish clubs from joining Super League. And when Fifa’s African League comes along announces itself to the world.
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