Arsene says that Financial Fair Play (FFP) is now ‘gone’, and has laid the blame at the feet of clubs who never had any intention of adhering to the rules.
While the implementation of it was abysmal, conceptually it’s a good idea: that clubs should survive as actual businesses, using the money they generate themselves, or earn through lucrative television deals/sponsorships and, of course, prize money.
However, with so many clubs in Europe built on a model where the owner-investment is tantamount to their success and power in the transfer market, it was always going to be a difficult thing to enforce. And when you have a body as insipid as UEFA trying to do that, it was only going to go one way.
“It has gone,” said the Arsenal manager. “I have seen the signs coming from Uefa for a while now. I thought for a while FFP would happen but now it is not possible.
|The clubs threatened to go to civil court – not only through sports courts. That brought a lot of insecurity in the decision making of Uefa so they started to soften the rules a little bit.
“The last decision in July was about Paris St-Germain and then Manchester City and that opened completely the door.”
As for what it means for Arsenal, he said, “Exactly the same. We continue to run our business with the resources we create. We can always recreate the resources and they can put a hundred or two hundred on top. It is always like that.
“Maybe it will change here one day. It is not a shortage of money. At the moment it is a handicap to us because we have the resources, just shortage of players.”
The question is, if this is the way it’s going to go, what do Arsenal do? Do we simply accept a position as a second-level club, or keep up with the Jonses using funds from our two billionaire owners? If we do that, what happens if their funding dries up?
Minefield stuff really, but it’s a real shame that a system that at least tried to address some of the financial issues in the game has failed so quickly and so completely.