Monday 3 October 2011

Who believes Uefa's financial fair play will make a ha'porth of difference to Arsenal's chances of success?

Arsene Wenger's pronouncement that football is in dire economic peril rings particularly hollow given Real Madrid's recent claims that they've set a new world record for revenue generation. The La Liga giants have released financial figures for the year ending June 30th 2011 that show their turnover has increased to 480.2m Euros.

Meanwhile, Saudi Prince Sultan bin Naser Al-Farhan Al-Saud may buy a majority stake in Panathinaikos. Unlike our boss, dubbed 'two-bob' for 'un-financial' reasons by Tottenham's development coach Clive Allen, Pana's manager won't be short of a few bob, if that deal goes through!

So Pana may join the nouveau riche of football, perhaps. Manchester City are already making big waves, while lesser lights like Paris St Germain, Malaga, Anzhi Makhachkala and Gangzhou Evergrande have also invested heavily in their playing squad.

To add insult to injury we hear that Wenger's net spend at Arsenal in the transfer market is £16m spread over 15 years. Considering what he's won, it's a remarkable achievment that he's kept costs so low.

But over Wenger's 15 years in charge, the rest of football's had more and more money injected into it, despite the economic problems in the 'real' world. And guess what? It shows no signs of slowing down.

Some clubs may go to the wall, but the rich clubs will get richer. Success costs money but brings its own riches too, while cost-cutting can only work for so long. That time has come. Our chickens are coming home to roost, while the cockrels of Tottenham are full of swagger and cockle-doodle-do.

Of course, we shouldn't panic about one single result, but the lack of investment in our squad is there for all to see. It has to change in January or Arsene Wenger and the club will have to swallow the financial cost of failure of missing out on the Champions League.

As fans, we can't wait until 2014 for an even playing field. From that point on, in theory, clubs can only pay out £15m more than they earn. All sponsorship deals will have to be concluded at the 'market rate', but quite how Uefa aim to enforce these ridiculous regulations remains to be seen.

To gamble, like Arsenal are, on the enforcement of these future regulations seems to be folly indeed.

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