What Arsene really said, and why Chelsea, Liverpool and United have nothing to worry about

Wenger is frequently misquoted (once or twice by yours truly as well) but this is a royal cockup.

Arsene was asked about UEFA’s plan to propose to the EU that football clubs that run on an operating deficit or those who are unable to pay wages based on their current revenues and have to finance them using loans should not be allowed to compete in the Champions League (which, with it’s prestige and revenues, would make it even more difficult for those clubs to break even but that’s beside the point).

It’s a plan. Platini’s plan. There’s no sign of EU taking the ‘business’ out of sport. And trust EU to put it to a vote and then get the whole thing fucked over by some people who were too drunk to remember what they were voting on. Sorry for the distraction, where were we? Ah yes, Platini’s plan.

So Wenger’s asked about it, and he says that financial solvency is a good thing, and that UEFA is pushing for it. That’s what he says.

The headlines we’re seeing? Wenger wants Chelsea, United and Liverpool out of the Champions League.

This is ridiculous. For starters, United don’t even enter the equation what with the club easily keeping their wages under a certain limit and they’ve just offloaded two high earners in Silvestre and Saha, so you can expect them to keep that tight lid on wages for some time. With their success on and off the pitch, they’re not going to be targeted by Platini at all – mainly because this is a profitable club.

Ditto for Liverpool – their wages are under control and despite the club not having money to build a new stadium it’s not like they’re forced to sell players; they’re doing fine as well.

Chelsea are a different story – running at a loss and although I have no problems against their business model (football is, as Brian and myself keep repeating here, a business), UEFA considers it an unfair advantage and wants to add measures to restrict that.

I don’t really care – because by the time something like this happens (it will take at least 2 years and even then the offending clubs will have 1-2 years to get their houses in order), Chelsea are smart enough to make it happen so that they DO have their wages under control by that point in time.

At the end of the day, it’s not Wenger against his Premier League rivals. It’s Platini and UEFA trying to make sure that ‘Chelsea’ doesn’t happen again, and their way of doing it is denying any future football investors access to Champions League money to fund their dreams of owning a successful football club.

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  1. BD Condell 30 August, 2008
  2. lindenhann 31 August, 2008