Who benefits from Financial Fair Play?

Recently 4 permiership clubs (Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs) wrote to the FA asking for a stricter control on financial fair play. You can read the letter on TKTG’s website by clicking here.

TKTG looks at the pros and cons of Financial Fair Play and the changes it may bring to the Premiership.

Fair play? To the Premier League’s gang of four, that means a ban on dreamers like Jack Walker

(Getty)

(Getty)

All you need to know about the latest proposal for financial fair play in the Premier League is that, if the rules were passed, Venky’s catastrophic takeover of Blackburn Rovers would still be permitted. Jack Walker’s title win, however, would not.

It is Walker, and those like him, that have them running scared. They fear competition, not tame bottom feeders. Manchester United are fine with Blackburn selling them Phil Jones; they just don’t like being taken on over Shearer or Carlos Tevez.

On Tuesday, December 18, when Premier League chairmen met to discuss the latest financial fair play proposals, four elite clubs attempted a coup. Until that moment, the general consensus had been that regulation was required to prevent another Portsmouth, but not another Manchester City, which seems reasonable.

There is a significant difference between owner investment and owner loans. There can be no repeat of the chaos at Pompey, but this can be achieved without restriction on fresh funds coming into English football to make the league more competitive.

And then the game changed.

On Arsenal headed notepaper, a letter was handed out, signed by four clubs — Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur — stating the existing FFP proposals did not go far enough and that greater limitations should be placed on owner investment.

David Gill, the chief executive of Manchester United, rose to speak. He questioned why the Premier League had to serve the needs of oligarchs and oil-rich Sheiks. Manchester United were focused on the health of the competition, he said — at this point it would have taken a heart of stone not to laugh — and he would go a stage further. The league should consider implementing UEFA financial fair play proposals to the letter, even getting UEFA in to regulate and ensure their strict application.

If clubs like United and Arsenal, with the biggest grounds and revenue streams, can limit spending to percentage of turnover, they will always have the biggest transfer pot and therefore the greatest chance of success. That is why owner investment terrifies them. Forget this guff about the health of the league. If they wanted that, the elite would be advocating some of the wealth redistribution initiatives that exist in American sport.

Profits from a Manchester United shirt sold beyond their catchment area — in the West Country, for instance — would be split throughout the 20 Premier League clubs, as happens to New York Yankees merchandise sold outside club shops or the New York metropolitan area.

Not going to happen here, is it?

Gill will not be giving too many speeches in favour of that one.

And, if they can rope in enough dopes who see the plan simply as a way of saving money and cutting expenditure, this naked self-interest may carry the day. So far, only Chelsea, Manchester City, Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa are against it and 14 votes are needed to alter the rulebook.

Once secured, forget the dream of your very own Jack Walker. All any new owner will be able to do is maintain the status quo.

As for Gill, his plan to deliver English football to Europe’s governing body, not so much wrapped in a bow as trussed like a turkey, coincides a little too neatly with his campaign to get elected to UEFA’s executive committee at the next UEFA Congress in May. Call it his dowry.

Ivan Gazidis, the man whose vision has helped make Arsenal the club they are today, is another with serious political ambitions.

He has already wormed his way on to the executive board of the European Clubs Association, as their representative on UEFA’s Professional Strategy Council, as well as holding a position on the ECA Legal Advisory Panel.

Why would they vote to limit their possibilities simply to ensure the success of an established few? Why would any club with potential, from Aston Villa, to Sunderland or Southampton? Maybe it’s the Arsenal-headed paper reeling them in.

It always stood for something in the days when the club were the province of tradition, old Etonians and old money. Arsenal had class.

Arsenal had never been relegated. The chairman was posh and his name was hyphenated. When he talked, football listened.

This missive, however, is the work of an absentee American chairman and a chief executive whose grand plan would as good as hand the title to United each year, with his team coming an expensive second. Expensive for those watching, that is.

Read the entire article by Martin Samuels on Fair play? To the Premier League’s gang of four, that means a ban on dreamers like Jack Walker

Patrick Barclay: Why I support the plot to stop Manchester City and their sheikh’s millions ruling the game

(Getty)

(Getty)

” As the gap between rich and ordinary people becomes wider and wider throughout the world, the potential for wealth to distort the patterns of life — in this case football — becomes greater. The way of controlling it is through politics.

Hence the letter addressed to Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore signed by representatives of Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham seeking support for strict application of UEFA’s financial fair play scheme.

These people are not idealists. They want a deterrent not to the use of wealth itself — United and Arsenal have big stadiums, Tottenham are about to follow suit and Liverpool intend to rebuild — but to sugar daddies on the Mansour model.

Martin Samuel, the Daily Mail columnist who broke the story this morning, preferred the more cuddly — if equally apposite — example of “Uncle Jack’’ Walker, who bought his home-town club, Blackburn Rovers, and equipped Kenny Dalglish with enough financial muscle to attract Alan Shearer and build the team who took the title in 1995.

Rovers’ title success was an occurrence without which the history of the Premier League era would be poorer and the same might be said of the City campaign that culminated in Sergio Aguero’s sensational snatch at the end of last season. But instances of the sugar daddy funding romance or, in the Manchester case, diversity cannot be taken in glorious isolation.

The riches with which Mansour or, before him, Roman Abramovich at Chelsea have built their empires are responsible for a salary inflation that not only disturbs United and Arsenal but destroys the chances of clubs otherwise eager to intensify competition at the top.

Aston Villa, in the time of Martin O’Neill, were one and they are now paying the price of Randy Lerner’s painful lesson. Everton under David Moyes are another. He and the admirable Bill Kenwright deserve medals for persistence — every time they look at the market, it goes through the roof.”

But we have given anarchy a chance and it has not worked. Financial fair play, on the other hand, has made a promising start, with the best piece of evidence to be found just a few miles from Old Trafford, where City are extending their academy into a thing of wonder, a thing of true worth, a thing that — crucially — UEFA have exempted from their controls because youth development and general care for the long term are precisely what the game needs.

This letter hardly scratches the surface of what the Premier League must do. But I’m glad that it was written.

Read Patrick Barclay: Why I support the plot to stop Manchester City and their sheikh’s millions ruling the game

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Who Benefits from Financial Fair Play? – Part 2 | TOKNOWTHEGAME.COM - January 21, 2013

    […] Part I we looked at who really benefits from the new upcoming financial fair play (FPP rules). In Part 2 […]

  2. Point penalty under new spending rules | TOKNOWTHEGAME.COM - February 8, 2013

    […] Part 1 – where we take a look at the pros and cons of Financial Fair Play (FPP) […]

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