Michel Platini can’t be doing with English football and The Premier League’s worldwide attraction of being the most exciting league in Europe…
You just wish he’d say that once and for all instead of all the veiled diplomatic soundbites he keeps on dishing out.
Today, the UEFA President has delivered statements bordering on the victorious that will have many top English club bosses shifting nervously in their boardroom’s.
Many of those English clubs, with desperation dependent upon their levels of debt, are searching for new owners and at least a couple more takeovers should go through by the end of the year.
Liverpool and Manchester united, who once ruled the transfer market unchallenged are swamped in debt, engulfed in loans and interest that defy gravity. Yet both continue to operate at the highest footballing levels and when other wealthy clubs with rich owners are thrown into the mix, it’s clear that there is something of a ticking financial timebomb facing The Premier League, who for their part have been content to sit back and let it all happen whilst holding hands with The Murdoch family for years, er, save for this week’s 25 Man squad conundrum of course.
Next season will see a new ‘Break-Even Rule’ imposed whereby club owners will be allowed to put ?15 million euros per year into their clubs until 2015. Thereafter, ?10 million euros per year until 2018 when the rule will be reviewed with a UEFA intention to further lower the limit.
Most importantly, that money cannot be declared as a loan, it must be a capital injection or donation.
So where that will leave The Reds and the rags should they continue to be ‘bought in the USA’ is going to be fascinating to see.
Then there’s the riches of Chelski and Middle Eastlands. The likes of Roman Abramovich or His Highness Sheikh Mansour could have the option of airlifting in a decade’s worth of loot in an effort to sidestep the new restrictions in advance.
One wonders if that might lead to an upsurge in takeovers this season as club’s seek wealthier backers to boost their coffers before the golden drawbridge is pulled up.
But getting back to my earlier point. You’ll never see Michel Platini dissing the Spanish or Italian giants. He will always have digs at the English clubs and if anything the whole break-even rule is strategised directly at The Premier League.
It’s alledged that many big continental clubs have lobbied UEFA repeatedly to see the power of the English clubs reduced.
I won’t deny that a lot needs fixing in England but how can we be sure that Platini will not favour the established giant clubs of the game as he has done in the past with the kind of protectionism that maintained a set order in European football whereby the smaller clubs haven’t got a hope in hell of ever winning anything. Unless they come into money.
Will interest payments be definitely taken into account? UEFA say so, but to what extent?
This is of course a massive subject for debate and will only intensify in the coming months as the interest and debts mount. I’ll let the great man pick up the story…
‘For years and years we were in total anarchy but the clubs asked for the rules because they knew they could not continue.
We can see already that the clubs are spending less as they look to balance their books.’
The likes of Alex Ferguson might beg to differ as he tries to bravely pretend through misplaced pride that there’s nobody out there worth buying, but that’s another story. Platini continues…
‘This is because the first time the break-even rule will kick in is in the coming year, the 2011/2012 season…this means that the strategy to say ‘I can now go and spend hundreds of millions’ doesn’t work because we will see it in two years at the latest. Transfers have not been as crazy as in the last few years, they are pulling up their socks and the clubs are making special efforts to comply with the rules.’
Meanwhile, back at erstwhile liddle ciddy, where a legion of ‘Invasion of The Body Snatchers’ style shrieking fingers continue to be pointed towards, Football Administrator Brian Marwood had this to say:
‘…it’s something that every club has got to be aware of but we are fairly comfortable in terms of where we are at and moving forward, and that element is something that not just Manchester City will face, but everybody.’