It was revealed on Monday that Arsenal, Man United, Liverpool and Tottenham delivered a direct concern about Chelsea and Manchester City to the Premier League, encouraging the adoption of UEFA’s financial fair play rules in advance of a forthcoming meeting between the 20 Premier League clubs, to establish a financial regulating framework for football clubs to operate within their means.
“We continue to believe that to be successful… any proposals for Financial Regulation must include meaningful measures to restrict the owner funding of operating losses”, stated in the first paragraph of the letter.
Interestingly, the four clubs stopped at their exclusive signatories and never established whether the rest of the league wanted to join forces. Fulham, WBA and Aston Villa are reportedly opposing the idea though the League is eager to have separate regulation in conjunction with UEFA’s protocol.
But reasoning as to why those four clubs listed at the bottom of the Arsenal letter headed document shows that there is little concern towards the league as a whole, and a narcissistic desire to assure the safety of their longevity against the economic powers of Chelsea and Manchester City.
Whether the other clubs have smelled fear amongst the suggested actions of the four clubs is unclear, but the impetus of this timely calculated movement suggests a disregard of the majority. Of course an understanding has to be developed to appreciate the purposes of their suggested plans, which can be considered without much cynicism.
Though sent via the clubs stationary, it cannot be determined if this Financial Fair Play coup is spearheaded by Arsenal, but they are currently the biggest sufferers along with Everton, of the current conditions of the financial operations of other clubs.
Arsenal are admired for the their functioning and general way their club is run, but have direct concerns with their rivals to maintain an elite status in the Premier League and Europe, which so far be sustainable, however without any measures in place their grip will surely slide being unable to financially compete.
Tottenham and Liverpool have a keen interest in expanding their stadium or building bigger capacities, generating more revenue and allowing more space to operate. Both clubs will want to protect these moves and themselves from any future shortfalls once their respective moves are complete.
And then there is Man United. A club who have never been concerned about financial regulations, especially when their accounts were inflating the transfer markets for the likes of Ferdinand or Rooney even when within their means, nor were they vocal when the glazers completed their takeover, until they realised they had no money. Ever since United have been threatened and undermined in the transfer market and would want to reinforce a status quo that sees them at the forefront.
Any debates about clubs financial operations always fall to the way of tribalism. United would obtain the argument that their stock has been grown organically through robust marketing and on-pitch performances, rather than being financially doped by a “sugar daddy” or rich oligarch, and fallouts about Arsenal have recently fallen under the spotlight after charging 62 pounds for Manchester City away fans, with debates needing fans to defend their respective clubs ticketing policies.
Yet this four pronged approach from the League’s leading clubs is nothing more than conspiring to maintain hegemonic powers, and most importantly, protection of their own status within the game.
It is doubtless that regulations are required to be agreed and implemented within the English game that remains separate from UEFA’s forthcoming implications, but for Aresnal et al to attempt to gain such advantageous leeway by motioning their ideals of fiscal planning and rules is degenerate to remaining clubs of the league.
These proposals are not wilful promotions of a socialism that is replicated in America, but a clear identity of fear of competition posed by City and Chelsea, which in an attempt to cap their lavish spending, is preventing clubs to catapult to prominence in future.
It is not just financial regulating but a change in the culture in English football that needs changing, with a focus of how all clubs behave and change the football markets. Simple solutions are salary caps to ensure all clubs are on a level playing field, but mostly, a policy that ensures equality for all and not just the elite is long standing to preserve the foundations of the English game.