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'Kick them out of Europe' says Wenger

'Kick them out of Europe' says Wenger

Following an announcement by Michel Platini in Monte Carlo that an investigation is to be launched into club debts and inequality between rich and poor teams Arsene suggested drastic action to bring clubs into line when responding to a question raised on the topic at a press conference today.

In a period when increasingly frustrated fans can be heard urging their clubs to spend big and in some cases 'break the bank` or get anyone of a number of different players 'no matter the cost` Platini pointed to the situation in Spain where Celta Vigo and Valencia have over reached themselves and risk collapse. Seeing big budget deficits as a form of cheating Platini is keen to create a more level playing field saying "European football must be clean and transparent and we do not want clubs buying success on credit."

"We have to find the golden mean, the right balance," Platini said. "There have always been rich and poor clubs, the rich get richer and the poor want to take their place. We should have more balance, and we will see what can be done. But we will do it calmly and coolly, with the whole football family."

This is a theme that Wenger has championed in the past believing that it distorts competition. It is a practice he has described as financial doping.

Responding to a question as to whether he welcomed the investigation Arsene replied:

"Very welcome - and I think the clubs who have deficits should be kicked out of Europe - personally"

In a clear reference to the £1.5bn combined debts of Chelsea and Manchester United the questioner pointed out that there were clubs in England that didn`t balance their budgets annually.

"I don`t know," said Wenger "personally I think the only way to go is that there is a control over all Europe. And I think we'll go that way. You like it or not but I would bring in a control of the management of every individual club. Every individual club will be controlled because it is very important for the fans of the competition first and it is very important that every club lives with the resources he has available."

Warming to the theme he continued, "...doesn`t speculate for one year and then after cannot pay the salaries for the next 2 or 3 years. Or the transfers - you know because every transfer nowadays in Europe is paid over 3 or 4 years. It is compulsory that without controls the commitment of the club is right because if that doesn`t happen it can collapse very quickly."

When asked if he would wish that all transfer fees be paid immediately his response was "I personally prefer but you go to the numbers right now that nobody can do that anymore. You cannot say who is a club in Europe that can pay £30m cash?" With a big grin on his face, referring no doubt to Fiszman`s earlier revelation, he said, "I know one - but only one!"

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Date:Friday August 29 2008
Time: 5:21PM

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Surely it would be to difficult to regulate a policy like this. Say Abramovich was not allowed to fund the chavs anymore...what would stop him buying a "special" box in the stadium for £50 million? or him buying £30 million worth of shirts and giving them to the poor and needy that he ripped off to become rich? that would then become a part of their turnover. Would our stadium debt be called to account?
29/08/2008 17:56:00
I'm no accountant or lawyer, but I can imagine the difficulties in putting this policy into practice too. Didn't Ken Bates sell that kind of special box at SB to Sky before? And who can stop any owner from just writing off the clubs' debts? Those they call "soft debt" for a reason. As for the "hard debts", e.g. ManU and Liverpool owe the banks millions of pounds, those are slightly easier to define. And what about us? We borrowed millions too, but for the "right" reason of building a stadium and we can prove we can comfortably take care of the mortgage. I'm just not sure where they'd draw the line. Well it's the accountants' and lawyers' work then.
Lou the Gunneress
29/08/2008 18:20:00
why should we worry about balancing our books - we're a rich mans plaything and we've had the time of our lives! And like Iceman says - what coul dthey do to stop Roman giving us a mega-shirt sponsorship deal for £100m
29/08/2008 19:22:00
Lou - the special box (a Millennium Suite) was sold to Sky Sports at the going rate, hence the reason why most of them were unoccupied - nobody could afford them - it was the flaw in Bates' plan to repay the Euro Bond of £75 million he used to build the West Stand!
29/08/2008 19:24:00
It is all about managing annual budget deficits - not neccessarily about how much debt you carry. Only about how that debt is arrived at. There is nothing to stop Abramovich from turning his debt into equity but that might not be advisable from a personal wealth management point of view and it wouldn't prevent a budget deficit in the same or next season. He is unlikely to want to keep issuing new shares every time he makes a loss. It's not as difficult to manage as is being suggested but there are difficulties - hence the need for an 'investigation' by Uefa. We can't be sure how it's going to be done but that something will be done seems fairly certain.
29/08/2008 19:56:00
Merlin since you're familiar with that old deal, can you tell us how many of those boxes were built? How many of those luxurious suites did Ken Bates sell apart from that one to Sky? It was one the only one sold, correct me if it's not the case. If "nobody could afford" them, was that a "going rate" when there's no demand at that price? It only means that the construction costs were way above what the market could absorb in the end. Bates made a mistake in the process of over-expansion. What are you trying to say? The fact that Bates borrowed money without figuring out a viable way to generate the revenue back exactly proved the point of this article. What Iceman and I said is the fact that clubs could find all kinds of leeway around these rules. In principle it's right for the authorities to try and get clubs to spend within their own bounds. But as we said above, it's hard to enforce.
Lou the Gunneress
29/08/2008 20:00:00
I saw the press conference and I guess I misunderstood something. I thought AW said that no club can hand over 30m in cash at once and then said with a knowing smirk "I know only one" (meaning Chelsea), to which the reporters laughed.
29/08/2008 20:20:00
That depends how you read it. In their last accounts Chelsea only had just under £10mn in cash in the bank. Arsenal had some £70m. They couldn't spend £30m with cash only with debt.
29/08/2008 20:35:00
Hehe I took it the same way as Jaelle (and laughed together with the press too). Thought it's a bit of a dig.
Lou the Gunneress
29/08/2008 20:45:00
I laughed too, Lou -- it sounded very much like a dig against Chelsea.
29/08/2008 21:18:00
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