Four of the top clubs in England have written a joint letter to Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League calling for financial fair play in in the Premier League to be made stricter as in the full EUFA rules being imposed by M. Platini, president of EUFA.
The letter highlights the proposals that were discussed at a full meeting of Premier League chairmen at the end of last year to discuss implementation of a form of the EUFA rules into the Premier League. At the time, calling for stricter rules, was led by Dave Whelan, chairman of Wigan Athletic, but were supported mainly by David Gill, chief executive of Manchester United.
It now appears that there has been a joining of forces of those clubs that have been severely impacted by maverick rich owners buying Premier League clubs and spending billions in order to achieve success. Apart from its diametric opposition to the fundamental tenet of fairness in sport, there is a moral repugnance to billionaires, most of whose wealth has come from spurious origins, lashing around billions of pounds in the transfer markets, thereby inflating prices and wages.
One of the knock-on effects of their intervention into football has been the steady rise in ticket prices. Prices have had to rise as rich owners have pushed up transfer fees and wages to the extent that normal clubs can only increase ticket prices to earn revenue to compete. That means that people like me for example, who are retired and who have spent all their lives watching football, are no longer able to afford the ticket prices. That is just one of the adverse effects of these rich owners.
It should be remembered that a club like Manchester United has never benefitted from such an owner. At the end of the last war, they had no ground of their own and had to share Manchester City`s ground at Maine Road. They gradually dragged themselves from the financial precipice, but were hit by disaster again in 1958 when their whole team was wiped out in the Munich air disaster. Yet again, they recovered, thanks in main to their illustrious manager, Sir Matt Busby and their owner Louis Edwards. I was lucky in that my father knew Louis Edwards personally and I can state that he was not some multi-millionaire, but a very astute local businessman, who saw opportunities and acted on them.
He saw the need to improve and increase the capacity of the ground to increase revenue. He saw the opportunity to market players like George Best both in the UK and abroad, leading to the first replica football shirt sales and memorabilia. At the same time, Liverpool was dominating football in Europe. Did they once improve their ground or increase the capacity? No. Did they market their club and players whilst they were at the top? No. Neither did anyone else except United. Yet they are now being pilloried because of their foresight. It is suggested by bigots like Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail that it is unfair for United to dominate, even though they represent everything that would be applauded in countries like the USA where self-made success is admired.
Needless to say, FFP is opposed by Manchester City and Chelsea, the two main culprits of unsustainable spending by irresponsible owners. However, it seems that United are not alone in their revulsion at the largesse of these clubs and their owners. The letter sent to Scudamore was countersigned by Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. It is supported broadly by all the other clubs with the exception of Fulham and West Brom.
Whilst the rest of the world is trying to re-adjust itself after the worst financial crisis ever, it is repugnant that a bunch of rich billionaires seek to make our national game their own playground. Why don’t they spend a bit of their money in their own countries, most of whom are in dire poverty?
Apologists like Martin Samuels of the Daily Mail are anathema to honest football fans who want to see achievement measured in self-made success, not the intervention of dubious billionaires laundering their money by using our football clubs as a front. Finally, do not be misled by the suggestion by these owners that spending some of their cash on local areas around the ground somehow ameliorates their real intentions. In Manchester, the area around Manchester City`s ground has become a sky blue no-go area for anyone who does not support their club. That includes locals who have lived there all their lives. How is that helping the local community?
The sooner FFP is introduced and these poisonous bloodsuckers are removed from our game the better for all fans in all divisions.1013548