There are a lot of people who admire the way that Arsenal Football Club is run, and hold it up as the correct business model, especially in the middle of this global crisis. The massive debts and subsequent problems for clubs such as Portsmouth, Leeds United and Malaga are the reasons behind Uefa bringing in the new Financial Fair Play rules.
The rules are intended to stop clubs spending wildly on player’s transfer fees and wages, and Arsenal fans are hoping that it will stop the spiralling of wages to ridiculous levels that Chelsea really kicked off, and Manchester City have picked up the baton and ran with. Arsenal, being a globally popular club with huge revenue but with owners who are unwilling to spend their own money, stand to be a major beneficiary of the rules.
The concern among many fans, however, has been that the big clubs will find loopholes and get around the restrictions. We have heard of sponsorship deals with Man City and PSG (£200m a year) that seem incredulous, and many believe that these are just a back door to heavy investment. These deals have not gone unnoticed by Uefa, though, and the governing body has warned clubs that it will investigate and, if necessary, re-adjust the figures accordingly. There is talk of awarding fair values to Sponsorship deals, which will mean that City will not be able to count the whole £100 million they will get every year for stadium sponsorship if it is seen as an unreasonable amount.
“Everyone, including PSG, knows the rules and knows when they kick in. They know the rules are that they have to generate revenues to cover their costs without cheating.”
The general secretary of Uefa also stated that they would not back down from sanctions, including European bans, for clubs who tried to break the rules. Let’s hope that Uefa are as thorough as they promise to be, because with United’s massive debt, that will give the Gunners the firepower we need to be the best team in England again.