UEFA financial rules: Adopt Arsenal model, eschew City like spending

Michel Platini has made financial reform his signature theme. The danger has never been so keenly felt before with a glut of clubs facing an existential crisis because of living beyond their means.
Clubs will have to clamp down on debt and start breaking even from the 2011-12 season for a three year rolling period or otherwise face potential bans from European competitions. The look back period will be enforced from the 2013-14 season.
Which is why Arsenal is getting some special love from the UEFA bigwigs. They want more clubs to adopt Arsenal’s financial model which incorporates prudent spending with maximizing different revenue streams.
“Ten years ago Arsenal reported less income than Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle,” Infantino added. “Now it is more than those clubs and in 2009 more than double Newcastle’s.”

“This shows what is possible with good management and careful investment.”

Arsenal turned in £300m a year in revenue and made pre-tax profit of £35m for FY 2009. These figures are an exception to the more grim statistics confronting more and more clubs. UEFA are now monitoring clubs on their overspending and have placed Chelsea and both Manchester clubs in a high risk category. The most vulnerable is City whose appetite for high spending so far remains unchecked. However, they too seem to be getting the memo and Roberto Mancini recently made some noises indicating a halt to their spending activity.
Of course, this is subject to how UEFA strictly adheres to its enforcement of these financial rules. On the other hand there are legitimate ways and means a club like City can adopt that gradually steer it to financial equilibrium. But this maybe more a unique case of City having the wherewithal to pull it off. These financial fair play rules are not meant to even the playing field between the bigger clubs and smaller clubs because they are not scalable. Living within your means still means that big clubs will get the players they want because there is no salary or transfer cap.

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