Wenger calls for an end to toothless Financial Fair Play system


Arsene Wenger, long an advocate of Financial Fair Play, now believes that the system should be scrapped, because it is unable to enforce the rules it put in place.

Clubs, nation states, oligarchs and limp administration from the powers that be have made what was a good idea now something of a joke.

This summer’s business, in particular the Neymar transfer to Barcelona, have shown FPP to be more or less toothless and the Arsenal manager says questions have to be asked of a system which appears to be fundamentally flawed.

“Financial Fair Play raises new questions,” he said. “I always did plead for it. Today, I am not convinced that we can maintain it. Football is maybe only at the start of a huge financial investment.

“It has become the most powerful sport in the world. It means do we have to open the door completely to investments? It is a question we have to raise because, aAt the moment, it looks like we have created rules that cannot be respected.

“There is nothing worse than when you create rules that are not respected.”

Ultimately, Wenger believes FFP is essentially a bust, and should be done away with.

“Do I want to get rid of financial pair play? I think so because there are too many legal ways to get around it,” he continued.

“The question, at least, has to be raised. At the moment, it looks like you can buy clubs in China and get the players there, and buy them in other clubs, then get them, after, here.

“You can get around FFP. Am I convinced that, at the moment, the rules are strong enough to make it respected? I’m not sure.”

Much of Arsenal’s financial outlook has been based around the self-sustainable model and respecting the issues that FFP tried to address. If it is scrapped, there will undoubtedly be pressure on Arsenal’s billionaire owner Stan Kroenke to start acting like someone who genuinely wants the club to be successful, and help it compete.

We won’t be holding our breath though.

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37 Comments on "Wenger calls for an end to toothless Financial Fair Play system"

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After years of holding back money and waiting to strike when FFP came in, we’re now holding back money because we can’t spend it due to wage rules created by FFP.
Welcome to Arsenal.

John C

And inflation has halved it’s value, something else that was predicted by me at least.

Too Drunk To Be Offside
Too Drunk To Be Offside

Frankly Wenger needs to focus more on on field issues. This ‘system is broken’ narrative that he has been on about in recent days doesn’t work when you are struggling on the field.

First he ranted about how the transfer system in January needs to go, then about FPP. He could be right, probably is right, but right now with the situation the team is in, this points don’t come across as being powerful and more like the system is rigged excuse every unsuccessful person makes.

First get things right on the field and then talk all you want about the system and how to fix it.


I couldnt agree more, TooDrunk. It’s almost as if Wenger is trying to deflect attention elsewhere.

FFP rules have nothing to do with how the team is coached or how players contracts are handled.


@Too drunk to be offside.

I agree with you. But, the Lacazette goal is onside and the system on field is also rigged.
So, technically we wouldn’t be in the so called “crisis” if the goal at Stoke wasn’t ruled offside.

Too Drunk To Be Offside
Too Drunk To Be Offside

I saw the game, and it was offside. JUST, but offside. Also a crisis doesn’t come because of one poor decision.

The crisis was after Anfield. Even if Arsenal had held on for a draw at Stoke, it would still be a crisis after Anfield.

The Blerch

If FFP were to be scrapped it might make Premier League clubs open to massive investment by owner groups- in which case, Stan’s lack of interest in ponying up would see Arsenal’s position in the league and share price tumble. He wouldn’t want to see his investment fail (I know we’re not doing well at the moment but from his point of view, at least the share price is stable)- so he’d be more likely to try and sell up. Convoluted, but not exactly a worse case scenario for Arsenal fans

Don Cazorleone

To a point, though the market value of his shares only matters for as long as he might want to sell. His model at the moment doesn’t look like capital increase through share value (otherwise he’d be investing to ensure that happens), instead it appears to be dividend payments from the business, which for as long as there’s cash flow being generated, will be maintained.
Now I’d have to check their annual report, but dividends usually aren’t paid as a ratio to their worth as much as a company will propose to pay X amount per share. So for as long has he has sheer volume of stock, he can receive large payments, the club just needs to keep that turnover high, hence the focus on top four, ticket price hikes, trips to Japan, etc etc

Crash Fistfight

But officially, Arsenal haven’t been paying dividends to shareholders, no? Unofficially, a £3m consultancy is a drop in the ocean in comparison to the value of the shares/Kroenke’s net worth.

I don’t get it, although I don’t profess to understand it. Why wouldn’t he try to increase the value of his investment – surely that would see a higher return than just milking off a tiny proportion of profits?


Nope, there are no dividend payments. His investment is all about asset value, which has nearly doubled since he became majority shareholder in 2011.

Crash Fistfight

I’d just assumed that he was happy for the share price to rise on the basis of the increased TV deals that keep happening, in which case it doesn’t matter if the team gets better or not.

Still, being more successful would increase the value of the club even more, and it’s not that difficult to make changes – just tell the CEO to do his job and remove the power from the team manager. I don’t see how keeping Arsene as manager was the easy solution – it’s not like Kroenke has to do anything himself, he can just delegate the process to other people.


Depends on who he sells to.


So how is football going to cope with any downturn? Just because things have shot upwards doesn’t mean that they will continue. Neymar’s transfer fee is crazy for example (plus Mbappe). Salaries are crazy.

When fans get sick of the richest teams/countries buying success, fans get sick of giving cash to overpaid stars they have no affinity with, owners and TV companies not pumping more money into teams, an economic downturn or similar the whole situation will go pop.

Just because things go up doesn’t mean they can’t head downwards.


Don’t see that happening any time soon. Don’t forget that the club’s have more and more reach day by day. For that to happen, it will take another decade or 2 at least.


Yeah, I would hope the money paying fan base gets disgusted by increasingly plastic football, but it might be giving humanity too much credit. I am thinking of dropping my modest ~25 gbp a month streaming account because I don’t consider watching Arsenal to be value for my money. With a little patience and media blackout I can watch it for free on Arsenal player the next day. I miss living in California where the time difference meant I could download the torrent and watch the game later the same day, those were the good old days when Arsenal were not yet a running joke.


The talk is that either Google or Facebook will come in for the worldwide rights for PL+CL football? they’re apparently monitoring our interests with A.I and seeing where? And how they can extract the most value from its interest worldwide?

I think football will continue to live in its own bubble, the popularity of this sport is going nowhere.

Once you get fans on your site? to a global audience you can then sell advertising whilst brainwashing the globe with whatever hidden agenda they feel like.

This is the way the worlds headed and there’s nothing we can do about it, so you may as well just get onboard, rather than bitch and moan about the amount of money involved.
FFP hasn’t worked because it involves removing free markets.
Removing these free markets won’t necessarily make things cheaper for the fans.
Owners will still try to extract maximum value from the fans because football is a business.
If players aren’t taking the money out of the game? Then greedy owners will.

And I’d rather some young kid with a dream+talent+dedication and who had nothing to begin with, take that money out of the game than greedy billionaire owners.


In the end it comes down to fans. If we stop going to matches, buying sports channels and replica shirts then it all goes pearshaped.

Arsenal fans seem more pained that most currently so we are more at risk.


That’s all very well and good.
But realistically? Can anyone honestly say they could turn their back on football?
At least 40% of my non-work related thoughts revolve around football.

The vast majority of my work conversations revolve around football.

My social circle revolves around going to football games, or going to the pub or friends houses to watch football.

When I’m on the internet and not watching porn, I’m reading about football or watching football.

There would be a pretty large void and one of the few and greatest pleasures removed from my life if I boycotted the game over some moral stand point.

Not to mention I believe in free markets and competition, so my moral viewpoint would be a hypocritical one.


Is there any way to sue Stan Kroenke?


‘Limp administration from the powers that be’
Snouts in the trough I reckon.

Crash Fistfight


David Hillier\'s luggage
David Hillier\'s luggage

Given we bet it all on FFP, I’m not sure why we didn’t play the political game when we had the chance. Surely being probably the biggest and most vocal club championing FFP’s worth at the time of it’s inception we could have wormed someone into a position of influence or made some powerful allies? FFP wouldn’t have restricted us employing a political strategist with a strong understanding of finance – they’re not on £7m a year, they’d be on real world salaries, less than what a young professional football earns.

Instead a club who were doing fuck all when FFP was being introduced (PSG, finishing 13th in the league) are calling the shots. Sure Ivan is on a UEFA committee now, but only to represent the group of major clubs interests including PSG, City and the like.


The only way forward is caps on transfer fees and wages.
Make it a balanced sport rather than trophies brought which is the case now.
But then again for all their billions PSG and Man City won fuck all last year.
Many be throwing money at a problem is not a solution either…


They can’t under EU law restriction of trade is illegal.

Alexis Signitplease

If Wenger knows there are legal ways to get around FFP, why isn’t Arsenal exploiting them, like our competitors?


Stoke and Wesbrom know how to get around it?


Because other clubs have sponsorship deals that are through their owners, so well above market rate.


I think we rolled the dice on FFP hoping it would allow us to compete in a fairish manner. There is an argument that still that a club like Arsenal can spend more than they West broms or Burnleys of this world even under FFP.

However like in real life its easy to circum-navigate through loop holes or whatever so, I agree its either strictly enforced or removed entirely.

Al Gilmore

We can all be wise after the event.

When we decided to move to the Emirates we fully believed it would put our revenue and therefore spending power on a level footing with most major clubs. It wasn’t a fanciful idea.

But shortly after the plan was irrevocably set in motion, CFC were bought by a Russian oligarch and football has never been the same again. And again we can all seem very clever when we say Arsenal should operate like Chelsea, etc.

But here’s a bit of perspective since RA bought CFC they have won pretty much every thing there is to win. But in the 13yrs since he bought them they have made a profit on one season…and that was the season PSG inexplicably bought Luis for 50mill. Originally their plan was to be be self-sustaining within 3 yrs. Then it was 5yrs. Then 10. And now they don’t talk about it, and every time they win the league RA seems to suggest that surely now is the time when they don’t need to buy where they can operate with the same squad plus some of the many dozen of young players they have plucked from everywhere….and then dispatched elsewhere on loan. And every time he suggests It, his head coach tells him the opposite that the league win was the team at its peak and now players are past their peak and need replaced- by players at or approaching their peak.

And so the constant buy high sell low circle continues and the aim of self-sustainability disappears into the distance. RA is a businessman. No one is telling me he has no interest in CFC being self-sustaining. He is bound to want it. But no. A new stadium development is now needed to help that aim. More investment required.

Then again- rich as he is – RA is not a country unlike the owners of Citeh and PSG. They have even deeper pockets and there is talk of philanthropy at Citeh. All well and good. But meantime the main effect of them entering the football owning business is a massive inflation of transfer fees (bad but at least most of the money stays in football) but more worryingly wages (and agents fees) which do not stay in football.

And it is these wage demands that are killing any chance of Arsenal competing. It is wages that ironically have seen us fall foul of the FFP regs and have essentially caused the chaotic transfer window we have just had. We have the money to buy a £100mill player. Always have had and actually never said otherwise. What we don’t have is the revenue to afford giving that player 200k/wk+. We have always been clear on that but it confuses many fans and indeed pundits.

And the math is simple. If you spend most of your money in the bank in one window AND give contracts to your players that will mean you won’t make any profit for that season, it means you won’t have much money in terms of cash in the bank AND even if you did then you don’t have the wherewithal to agree to another contract that will put you further in the red.

That is not to say we haven’t made mistakes. That’s not to say we haven’t been too cautious. That’s not to say that if Kroenke really wanted Arsenal to bloom that he should have invested some money during our austerity phase so that when we wouldn’t be so far behind. So no I am not absolving the current regime of blame and it is clear that each summer the horse trading and lack of focus in our transfer dealings is actually costing us not saving us money.

Then we come off like naive newcomers to football when we champion FFP knowing that these rules are almost impossible to enforce and then stating that players keeping their contracts and moving for free will be the new trend. Maybe it will. But why do we have to be the white knights that try to keep a wantaway and cost ourselves 60mill in doing so? And in the end we didn’t seem like white knights because we had a price in mind for Alexis. So why not say that price to whoever was interested and have his replacement bought for 50mill and move on. It’s getting to be that we have fallen from that second tier of teams – who can have world class players but will always lose them if a Madrid or Barca come calling to a team that will lose players of about 7 or 8 other teams come calling.

And it isn’t all about money. The players are wanting to leave because they can smell the coffee. They can sense we aren’t serious about competing. We aren’t really adding a couple of top class players every year..we buy one (of we are lucky) but lose one or two. Or worse. This year we have lost 2 but one hasn’t gone…he is still there in body….but will he be there for us when it matters. Or are we wasting his time and own.

We have seen so many philosophical decision. The youth project. The British spine. The youth project benefited the teams that bought those players. The British core is all but gone. Why the philosophy wasn’t- let’s try to buy a very good player for every position and back that up with good players are cover, the odd talented youngster and hell even the odd worldie that is suddenly not wanted at their club. But no.

But in their defence football ownership now demands that an investor sinks the guts of a billion quid into a club with the expectation of maybe getting their investment back in nothing under a decade.

I don’t think any other industry including the entertainment industry would be run like that and yet, Kroenke and any other businessman who owns a football club is pilloried for not forsaking every business principle he ever has and sink endless money into a football club in the hope of winning a trophy, the prize money for which wouldnt pay the transfer and wages of one of the best players.


Interesting read. I also find the way arsenal deal very bad. The constant need to haggle and leave things to last minute has always come to bite us (bar the ozil deal). We’ve over paid transfer price wise and wages for second/third choice players and then we have trouble offloading them. See Perez for example. If only we acted faster on Lemar…


Why is this man always shifting the blame of his failings to other places?…it is never AW’s fault.

Jack Action

Isn’t it fairly simple what needs to be done? Outlays on player transfers/salaries has to be capped at 70-75% of team revenues, the revenues composed of match-day ticket sales, tv money, player sales, prize money i.e. Champions League and merchandising… no sponsorship money because that’s how City and PSG can lie about financial earnings. If you do that then big teams can stay big, but smaller teams have a route forward as well.


We have been naively led up the promise path

Why not

As much as some extra investment would be good and so. I think a sustainable Arsenal goes beyond the FFP ideology and im fully behind it

I hate the idea of having Stan as a suggar daddy though.