That old adage about shooting oneself in the foot comes to mind when assessing the decision by the Scottish Premire League clubs' decision to refuse admission to Rangers 'newco'. Recent comments by the respected Scottish FA chief Stewart Regan suggest that the SPL could lose around £6m by not having the Rangers in their league. Similarly, if the Scottish League decides to make the Rangers start in Division 3, the Scottish football could as much as £16m in revenue. This at a time when Scottish football is already at a low ebb, both domestically and internationally. So what lessons can we learn in England?
We have a situation where every league organization, from the Championship down to the lowest professional leagues, have chosen to accept the Financial Fair Play rules, or a similar version of them. But what about the Premier League? There we have an anomaly. They have clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City who, because they have billionaire owners, are able to operate even though they are technically insolvent. How can that be?
This is one of those 'football only' types of situation, where the normal rules of business do not seem to exist. Anybody who has run a company in the United Kingdom will know that it is illegal to continue to run a company, knowing that it is insolvent. That means that their expenditure exceeds their income in simple terms.
Both Chelsea and particularly Manchester City have wages bills alone that exceed their turnover, let alone their profits. How can that be tenable? UEFA President, Michael Platini has at least made an attempt to resolve this situation by introducing the Financial Fair Play rules. However, why didn't the Premier League, like their counterparts in the Football League, implement this themselves? Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League seems to think that his is a special case, but it would be interesting to ask the other clubs what they think.
We already know that last season, at least two clubs, Arsenal and Liverpool, made official complaints about the imbalance in finances in the Premier League, so why hasen't UEFA done something about it? They are still looking at the ridiculous stadium naming rights deal that City have submitted, even though a child can see it is patently an attempt to circumnavigate the rules.
So what would happen if both the owners left for whatever reason? Maybe an Arab spring in Quatar, or Putin deciding that he would like the billions back from Roman Abramovich. If that did happen, how would the other clubs vote in the Premier League? Maybe Manchester City or Chelsea should start to look at the fixture lists in the Northern and Southern Premier Leagues?
Whatever happens in the immediate future, it is just a matter of time before the reality of the financial situation throughout Europe impacts the Premier League. We already know that clubs in even the better leagues, like La Liga in Spain are on the brink of bankruptcy, so financial reality must be on the agenda.
Unfortunately, whilst Scudamore still harbors dreams of global domination like some latter day Dr Evil, there will remain the financial unfairness in the Premier League, but do not be surprised to see that famous yellow breaking news band on Sky Sports News stating that either City or Chelsea's owners have decided to leave. Then the fun shall begin.