Thursday, August 18, 2011
2 Ways To Skin a Cat...
1. The City / Chelsea. Mega rich sugar daddy owners, pumping seemingly endless sums of gas and oil money into their clubs with not a hope of ever recovering a penny of it. The clubs as companies make massive losses (Chelsea cleverly released figures of a £70m loss the same day they spent £75m on Fernando Torres and David Luiz – the fact was lost as the signings took the headlines). City spending just impossible amounts on transfers and wages (next arrival, Samir Nasri, £22m plus a rumoured £200,000 per week)....how on earth any player can, in this day and age, stay at their club if one of these two come shopping needs no explanation. City's way of funding this and trying to balance the books is to get the owners also mega rich brother or cousin to have his airline sponsor the club at a hugely inflated rate so it looks like legitimate income. Let’s all drool about how well they play….but let’s not forget that they have an unfair advantage over well run clubs. It’s like cheating with drugs, but with money.
2. The Barça / Madrid. Effectively owned by their fans (unlike all other Spanish clubs who are obliged to be private limited companies) they run up debts they are finding increasingly hard to service, despite the unfair advantages they get from the priviledge of grabbing most of the TV money between them. The City/Chelsea who can just slap more money on the table to get their signings in, have made life more difficult, as the Barça/Madrid can't compete. So they use other tactics to turn player's heads, such as emotional blackmail, blatant tapping up, and the Chinese water torture of day after day media stories published in their mouthpieces (Marca, AS, Mundo Deportivo, Sport). Little or no respect for forms, regulations, process and other clubs. Take the Cesc saga....after relentless tapping up and media stories, whilst not coming up with the money, the day before the start of the season they finally get their way....but not by paying up, but by making Arsenal's position impossible by having the player insist he will only sign for them and them only, and immediately or else he would continue to be either unfit or unsettled. Then they pay only around 30% upfront, the rest later on, have the player reduce his wages and forfeit a bonus....and more than all this I hear that this may be a case of third party ownership; that Barça will hold his footballing rights (he will play for them) but his economic rights are held by an offshore investment fund not owned by the club (allowed in Spain, but not in England. Remember how complicated the Carlos Tevez signing for Man Utd was due to his split ownership between a club and private individuals? Same thing). If this is true, Barça will have brought in the best young midfielder in the world, have immediate access to his talent, but will have effectively paid nothing for him (in exchange for not being able to have any future transfer fee). The selling club will be without the player and without immediate access to the funds to reinvest. How can that be right? This is a club described by experts as "technically bancrupt" less than a month ago. Again....it's cheating with money.
The question for me is how UEFA are going to view both cases in respect of their "Financial Fairplay" laws that come into being next season, that insist on book balancing if you want to participate in european competition. I suspect the whole thing is just a smokescreen to make the competition almost a closed shop, and smaller sides will be the ones to suffer. Would they be brave enough to prohibit a really big club, with all the TV money they bring in for UEFA itself?
It's a sad state of affairs when to be at the top you have to either make massive losses without a care, be in dept up to your neck, and/or engage in such complicated financial shenanagens that no-one really knows how or what's really yours. Well run clubs can't win....and that's why UEFA need to grow a pair and do something about it.
Posted by Guiri at 12:00 PM