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by Tony Attwood
UEFA has now released the list of clubs that have breached the Financial Fair Play regulations, and despite mutliple reports to the contrary Arsenal’s name is not on the list! How amazing is that!!!
“Arsenal are placed on a UEFA watchlist with Barcelona and PSG” screamed the Mail . And Football London chimed in with, “A combination of the spending and lack of transfer fees received from sales had resulted in UEFA putting the north London club on their Financial Fair Play watchlist, according to reports”.
“Arsenal being monitored by UEFA over possible Financial Fair Play breach” shouted 90 mins.
“ARSENAL have been placed on Uefa’s watchlist of teams who are at risk of breaching Financial Fair Play rules, reports suggest” claimed the Sun
“Arsenal among clubs on UEFA’s Financial Fair Play ‘watchlist’ after spending spree” warned the Mirror
“Arsenal one of 20 clubs in danger of breaching FFP regulations” stated Caught Offside.
And so it goes on and on and on and on and on and on… and all the reports have one thing very much in common. There is not a shred of evidence. No citation of the alleged report. No quote that comes from a Uefa document or official. No source for the story. Absolutely nothing.
It was a classic. One anti-Arsenal source made the tale up, fed it to the media, and the gullible chaps with nothing better to do, soaked it up and re-ran it without checking the facts. Only one place suggested this might be a load of old cobblers.
It is almost as if some rather annoyed supporter of a rival Premier League club made up the tale, slipped it to all the newspapers, blogs and radio stations, and (and really I know this is hard to believe) THEY ALL RAN THE STORY WITHOUT SEEKING TO VERIFY IF IT WERE TRUE!!!!!!!
But in fact, yesterday, when the real story broke, Arsenal’s name was not on the list. And this for one very good reason.
The clubs that were investigated were clubs that played in European competitions in 2021/22. And (and I realise that one has to dig quite deep to find this bit of information) ARSENAL DIDN’T PLAY IN EUROPE IN 2021/22.
OK that is a technicality I know, and it was easy for all those journalists to miss it, but I am sure they are now going to come out and tell us that Arsenal were lucky, and slipped through a loophole in the regulations and they will be for it next time around.
Amazingly even PSG were caught – amazing because basically PSG has taken control of Uefa via the vast amounts of money that beIN pays for the rights to matches – there being quite a family connection between PSG’s ownership and beIN.
PSG will have to pay 10 million euros in fines, which of course they won’t even notice. The fine will rise to 65 million euros if PSG don’t comply, but they won’t notice that either. Olympique de Marseille and AS Monaco will have to pay 300,000 euros each..
AS Roma was fined 5 million euros Inter Milan 4 million euros, Juventus 3.5 million euros, AC Milan 2 million euros and Besiktas of 600,000 euros.
Each club has had to agree a process of bringing itself back in line with the regulations and been given suspended fines which will be payable if they don’t meet the target generally within three years, although Inter’s deal runs across four years. They can’t sign any new players for European competitions in 2022/23 and 2023/24.
The system is now going to be changed once again and a form of salary cap introduced so clubs can only pay their staff 70% of their income.
The problem is however that this won’t affect clubs like Manchester City which are able to increase their income by having entities such as an official tractor supplier which is owned by the same group of people who own the club and who pay above market rates (assuming Man City need a fleet of tractors).
There will not of course be any apology from the mainstream outlets that ran the tale about Arsenal being put on a watch list, nor any explanation as to how and why these outlets got the whole thing so wrong. Which is of course how it always goes, all the time. There’s a negative story around which actually could have some interesting implications for the game, but instead of reporting it straight, the media throw Arsenal in because… well, just because that’s what they do.
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