Platini Wants Better Financial Controls at Clubs


An excellent article in the Guardian today, on the financing issues of major European clubs, especially those in England.

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Platini targeting Man United and Chelsea, because of their huge debts


Michel Platini, the UEFA President wants to reform the finances of Europe’s top football clubs, who are in huge debt.

Platini, a great player in his time, also understands this is as much an issue in Spain and Italy, as it is in England.

But two clubs he has set his sights on are Chelsea and Manchester United in England. Together, according to their most recent financial accounts, owe together £1.5B to their creditors.

That’s just ridiculous, and no way to run a business.

Platini had the G14 set of clubs disbanded, and will replace it with the ECA (European Clubs Association), which will have a full 103 members, one of which will presumably be Newcastle United.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is the chairman-designate, and he will be confirmed when the body convenes for the first time next July 7th and 8th.

The former German striker told Kicker magazine last week.

“Football is sick.”

“I read a statistic which says 85% of all professional football clubs are running at a loss.”

85% football clubs running at a loss!

As it turns out the latest figures available had Newcastle United in the black, as it turns out for season 2006-2007, according to the latest Deloitte & Touche report.

Rummenigge recommended the percentage of revenue (turnover) spent on wages should not exceed 55% for any football club, and only yesterday, Platini agreed that was the kind of limit he could fully support.

Chelsea’s wages, which are £133M a year, stand at 70% of their £190M of revenue, although Manchester United’s wages of £92.3M, are only around 43.5% of their huge £212M revenues.

The debt seems to be what Platini doesn’t like about the Manchester United financial situation.

The Red Devils owners are the Americans, the Glazers family, who also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the American Football team.

In England, there are several clubs who have let wage costs run out of control and at Newcastle our wage bill last season was around £72M of our revenue of an estimated £103M.

That wage figure is close to 70% of revenues, the same as Chelsea’s, and it’s something the business savvy Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is trying to reduce, and get under control.

If Platini gets his way, all these clubs will have to reform themselves and reduce their wage bills.

This is a form of a salary cap that we had discussed recently on this web site.

Certainly some financial limitations have to be placed on clubs, so that clubs are more competitive.

And we cannot again allow a Billionaire to come in and spend £300M on new players as the Russian Roman Abramovich did a few years ago at Chelsea.

Platini seems not too unhappy with the spiraling transfer fees paid for players however, and said:

“If Real Madrid pay €100m for a player that’s OK if they have the money,”

“If they don’t it’s a worry.”

Maybe a first small but important step would be to limit the total wage bill at clubs to 55% of their total revenues.

That would at least be a good start in attempting to get a more level playing field, (excuse the pun), because if we don’t do something soon, there will be fewer and fewer clubs able to compete at the top level.

Newcastle United are finding that out right now.

Comments welcome.



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75 comments so far

  • Frankieboy

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:26 PM

    Comment #1

    Massive changes afoot for EPL if introduced and the end of the “big 4”

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  • Nev

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #2

    chelski arnt in debt arnt they ? :S
    i just thuaght they run at such a loss ambramovic just pays it off to even the books

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  • HeronMag

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #3

    Platini should just leave the big clubs to their own devices. The clubs that manage their finances well will survive, the clubs that over-invest will end up bankrupt. I for one would love to see Man Utd and Chelsea in financial crisis.

    If we are irresponsible with our finances we would also deserve to pay the price. However, Ashley seems to be moving the club in the right direction. 🙂

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  • Tom_Toon

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:34 PM

    Comment #4

    Nothing would give me more joy than to see Man Utd go bankrupt, i dont mind Chelsea though.

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  • DAvies

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #5

    Nev, Abramavic hasn’t given Chelsea anything. It’s all loaned to them. If he decides he wants his money back, the club will go bust.

    I think they owe him around £500m. Laughable really. The top four will change drastically when he decides he doesn’t want to play anymore…

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  • gorskino10

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #6

    Platini is only jelous that he knows the French teams cant keep up with the wages so he missed great players in the French league.
    But a good point is how we are our out of being in the red and trying to cut strupid wages we had like Owen at 110 and Carr etc… so were getting there in a small way.

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  • NUFCAl

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #7

    Their debts may look massive, but they are easily managable for high earning clubs like them.

    Where was Platini, where was UEFA, when Real Madrid got so far into debt thanks to their irresponsible spending that the Spanish Government used other clubs’ supporters’ taxes to finance their expensive new training facilities?

    Just another excuse for him to pick on the Premier. He just hates all things English, bitter Frog w*nk biscuit.

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  • Faustino

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:40 PM

    Comment #8

    I think people who know didly squat about big business should think before they speak. Then still say nowt.

    Does anyone here know how much the USA [the biggest of all businesses] owe?

    I have a mortgage for 115k which is a damn sight more than I earn a year but Im not financially crippled. Honestly Platini should stick to what he knows which is either not very much or harbouring racist opinions about English football.

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  • Faustino

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #9

    Davies – spot on…it called a directors loan. And the figure is close to 750 mil. by all accounts.

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  • Faustino

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #10

    Tom Toon – one good reason why Chelsea over Man U? I have a million reasons to hate Chelsea and their fans in particualr but can’t think of one for Red Nose and crew.

    There’s a many reasons to hate many teams but I never got why some Toon fans hate Man U. so much.

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  • DAvies

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:44 PM

    Comment #11

    What ever Platini says about revenue and wage percentages is busybodying. The problem is that many clubs are in danger of going bust when their creditors demand a return. There are a lot of ins and outs, and it isn’t just as simple as saying, “right, I want my money back”, particularly in the Chelsea situation, but the problem is huge.

    Liverpool are in the shit and so are Man Utd. I don’t know what the deal is with Citeh. Not sure if Sinatra is investing or loaning.

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  • HeronMag

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:44 PM

    Comment #12

    It’s like the property market – over investment and speculation led the market to become unaffordable – hence the massive fall in house prices.

    Football clubs will not be immune to the credit crunch. We have already seen a very quiet summer so far from most clubs. I don’t expect this to change. The transfer fees for mediocre players are ridiculous now – way above the rate of inflation. Small clubs are finding it impossible to invest, while the big clubs are talking about unreal transfer fees (£70m for Ronaldo!).

    The bottom will soon drop out of the transfer market and I reckon we’ll see some very good players moving for surprisingly low fees in the coming season.

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  • Tom_Toon

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #13

    Fergie gets on my wick.

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  • ObaFan2

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #14

    Platini is a prat, he’s been bitter ever since the CL final involved 2 EPL clubs and look ohh he mentions Manu U and Chelsea……..

    Sour grapes just like the 5+6 idea which will never go through either because of European law.

    The EPL is probably the best football league in the world and generates probably the most in sponsorship money too.

    So quit ya whining and stop trying to effect our league by red-tape.

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  • Bill F SPLASH THE CASH ASH

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:48 PM

    Comment #15

    No wonder ManU want to get a big fee for Ronaldo but that begs the question as to Real Madrids finances. The over hyped transfer fees and wages are not just down the to English clubs. Fees have been going up and up for years and just like the sub-prime housing market there had to be a reckoning at some point. I would bet that over the next few years that any club that does not get a grip of thir finances will do a Leeds. At this moment (with no malice) I would put the Spuds well up that list even if they are successful. At least MA seems to have his head screwed on in that respect.

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  • Nobby's Dad

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:50 PM

    Comment #16

    NUFCAl // Jun 26, 2008 at 13:39

    Their debts may look massive, but they are easily managable for high earning clubs like them.

    =============================================

    Simply NOT true!! Put Manchester United debt into google and read !! Their debit is increasing by also £100 million each year.

    Despite their success last year they spend huge amounts of their income on the debt payments – hence the media reports that they won’t spend much this year.

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  • Davies

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:50 PM

    Comment #17

    Shame nobody thought to stick a few million into Gretna. Really. Gutting to see one of our pre-season friendly venues go down the sh1tter for lack of funding.

    This could happen in the premier league. I can understand that part of Plattini’s criticism. It is a genuine concernt. We are among a handful of clubs that are out of debt and just about self financing at the moment.

    Whatever anybody has to say about Mike Ashley, he has fixed our beloved club’s biggest problem. Now let’s just hope he’s ready to go the extra mile on solving the other problems.

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  • Jim

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:51 PM

    Comment #18

    “And we cannot again allow a Billionaire to come in and spend £300M on new players as the Russian Roman Abramovich did a few years ago at Chelsea.”

    Why not? What business is it of anyone else’s! Football sold it’s soul a long time ago.When individuals or syndicates bought clubs, what did we expect them to do.

    This article masks the fact that clubs are followed by the supporters but it’s the owners who are the true masters, not the towns and cities.

    Frankly, it only our hope that Ashley guides HIS club to greatness, not our North Eastern birthright to dictate, ’cause he doesn’t have to listen. Only by voting with our feet would any change be made and who is willing to turn their back on the Toon.

    Short and curlies spring to mind.

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  • Faustino

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:51 PM

    Comment #19

    Heron Mag – they will be immune mate as long as they keep earning more and more money a year. They are exactly the kind of busniess who will be loaned more and more moeny as they can afford the interest where as not many others can.

    The problem with the little folk credit crunch is that no one really erans anymore now than they did 10 years ago but there in ten times as much debt.

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  • beye the great

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:52 PM

    Comment #20

    log on to toonultras.com

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  • ObaFan2

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:54 PM

    Comment #21

    Sorry but his 2 examples of Man U and Chelsea show what a prat he is, neither of these will be in any financial trouble but:

    “If Real Madrid pay €100m for a player that’s OK if they have the money,”

    Double standards imo as both EPL clubs mentioned have the money.

    If it ain’t Blatter it’s Platini….. stop whining and improve referee’ing would be the best thing you could do IMO.

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  • Faustino

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:54 PM

    Comment #22

    Man Untd just won the Champ League and the Prem and tbh should have won the FA Cup to had it not been for a woeful referee. I think they’ll be alright you know.

    Ronaldo had a great season cos of the rest of the team. Not because he’s as good as he seems to think he is. He will do nothing at Real imo.

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  • NUFCAl

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:56 PM

    Comment #23

    Interesting, I thought it was all investment at Chelsea, not loaning. They obviously are in the shit in that case.

    I never was the defining authority on financial matters.

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  • gorskino10

    Jun 26, 2008 at 1:57 PM

    Comment #24

    Faustino “No reason to hate man u” what are you stupid no reason they are the most luckest and annoying teams ever i was glad when Chelski took over number 1 spot and how man u were like little kids crying about it there fans are the worst too and they always hammer us there ya go plenty of reasons oh i forgot old man fergie another reason…
    Both clubs are in massive debts so im glad were not anymore.

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  • Nobby's Dad

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:01 PM

    Comment #25

    ObaFan2 // Jun 26, 2008 at 13:54

    Sorry but his 2 examples of Man U and Chelsea show what a prat he is, neither of these will be in any financial trouble but:

    “If Real Madrid pay €100m for a player that’s OK if they have the money,”

    Double standards imo as both EPL clubs mentioned have the money.

    ===================================================
    ObaFan2………as I’ve suggested earlier put ‘Manchester United debt’ into google. They certainly DON’T have the money ….it’s almost all borrowed and the credit cruch will not have helped.

    OK they won’t go bust because someone would come in and buy them – but it’s no way to run a football club and despite their great players and success I wouldn’t want the Toon run by the Glaiziers.

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  • Faustino

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:02 PM

    Comment #26

    No ones saying love them…I’m saying Chelsea are scum whereas Man U arent. as a toon fan Idont like any of em. I just dont have a reason to ‘hate’ Man U and a load to’ hate’ chelsea as the kid was knifed by their fans at monument would no doubt atest.

    BTW, every reason you come up with applies to Chelsea 10 fold over Man U.

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  • valle

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:03 PM

    Comment #27

    I cant see how it could happen, but allot of restrictions would benefit world football and the EPL, like for instance these massive debts and the 6 + 5 rule… This sport is getting more and more far out by the year, the worth of a player these days both in fee and salery are beyond any reason and the leagues are getting less competitive by the year… We have “English” teams using 11 foreigners in their starting line up and players such as Ronaldo who is apperently worth enough to feed a starving country for years… These restrictions would be great, but they are never going to happen.

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  • NUFCAl

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:05 PM

    Comment #28

    I agree with Faustino, I hate ManUre but I hate Chelski more. At least Man United have some right to be where they are, they’ve earned their position at the top, Chelski have just benefited (for now) on the back of sheer circumstance. They were a good club – but by no means title challengers – before Abramovich.

    They have no right to be where they are whatsoever. I HATE Chelsea and their fans are arguably more plastic than ManUre’s.

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  • geordiegraham

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:07 PM

    Comment #29

    MAN UTD R SCUM!
    CHELSEA R SCUM!

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  • Faustino

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:07 PM

    Comment #30

    Nearly 80% of Man Us debt is attributed to the actual Galzer takeover. A very clever and in essence sickening business technique.

    As a business they’ve been run in a way most other clubs would dream of.

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  • ObaFan2

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:14 PM

    Comment #31

    Nobby’s Dad, I hear what u r saying but these 2 examples he gave are way off the mark.

    1stly Man U built a team up from their youngsters and have kept a good few of these over the years and continually added to them over the years and have proved very succesful with it.

    Also they are EPL champions and CL champions.

    2ndly, Chelsea have one of the richest men in the world happy throwing money at the team to reach his own dream of winning the CL.

    I cannot see either of these 2 clubs folding due to money in the near future.

    It’s a bit like a “rich” guy owing money on his house/car etc it’s just a way of life but he remains bouyant.

    Newcastle being £0 in debt is most unusual for the EPL or most football clubs imo.

    Also Man U apparantly have 43.5% of their huge £212M revenues paid in wages……… wouldn’t we be over the moon with that?

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  • steve

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:17 PM

    Comment #32

    @geordiegraham – very articulate, we could do with more constructive points like that

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  • gorskino10

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:18 PM

    Comment #33

    GeordieGraham got it right, and add Liverpool too oh and Sunderland and Middlesbough lol

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  • Nobby's Dad

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:20 PM

    Comment #34

    Also Man U apparantly have 43.5% of their huge £212M revenues paid in wages……… wouldn’t we be over the moon with that?
    =============================
    ObaFan…these examples are not way off the mark. Only Chelsea have the mega rich owner…most of the other clubs have huge debts to service – bought by rich blokes out to make money – Hicks/Gillette etc.

    and something like 60m goes on paying the debt. Man Utd have to win things to pay off the debt.

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  • valle

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:24 PM

    Comment #35

    Dont forget Spurs on that list

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  • natedawg

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:28 PM

    Comment #36

    dont madrid get prtialy financed by the goverment or somthing , seem to remeber hearing that or something

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  • The Entertainers

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:31 PM

    Comment #37

    I’m sorry but i believe Platinis view are xenophobic and many of the hierarchy at UEFA and FIFA are towards the English Premier League inparticular, because it is so wealthy and succesful.

    a) Chelsea are not in debt!
    b) A few years ago when Real Madrid were sweeping everyone before them, were comments made about that team from anyone at UEFA or FIFA?
    c) Real Madrid made a mockery out of the transfer window and ‘legally’ tapped up players for unbelievable amounts. World record after world record were being broken. Again silence from the governing bodies. Real also dont own there own ground the cities council does, so its their revenue! Real rely on sponsorship (Remember Beckham!)
    d) Players will go where the better money is full stop! Platini should know this he turned down Spurs after appartently verbally agreeing with them to join. The chose Juventus as they offered more cash!
    e) Regarding the foriegn players in the league and our poor state of football, which gets mentioned regulary at UEFA and FIFA. Well Mr Platini, look at your own national team when it won the world cup and euro cup. Desially, Viera, Makelele, Trezeguet, Karambeu….forgive me if i’m wrong but were these players born in France?

    I’m sorry but UEFA and FIFA do seem to come down hard on the English game and yes these latest comments appear not to single out the English, unlike his last ones, where he stated that Chelsea and Man U cheated there way to the final.

    I’m no Man U and Chelsea fan, but i’m even less a fan of UEFA and FIFA and the idiots that run them.

    Look i know the system needs looking at and a revenue cap may be the answer. Platini is not however!

    RANT OVER, SORRY.

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  • HeronMag

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:32 PM

    Comment #38

    Faustino comment 19- agreed.

    The nature of the market at the moment means that due to the biggest clubs spending – Real, Barca, Man Utd, etc the gap between the rich and poor is widening.

    Clubs outside the premiership have no way of matching their larger, well sponsored and financed counterparts.

    Nevertheless I don’t think a cap is the way forward. We all saw Leeds United collapse, despite being a well established and well financed premiership side, playing Champions League football.

    If one of the big 4 underachieves even for just 2-3 seasons financially this could be crippling. It’s waiting to happen to one of the big 4.

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  • Ex-pat MAG

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #39

    Ed,

    I have to disagree with you with regard to the 55% wage cap. All this would serve to do would be to increase the gap between the big clubs and those not so big, for example:

    Man Utd revenue = 212 Million x 55% = 115 Million on wages.
    Chelsea revenue = 190 Million x 55% = 104 Million on wages.
    Newcastle revenue = 103 Million x 55% = 57 Million on wages.

    This would mean we would either have half the squad size or pay our players half as much, neither one sounds like a pleasant prosepect.

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  • geordiegraham

    Jun 26, 2008 at 2:39 PM

    Comment #40

    gd point. SCUM LIST:
    SUNDERLAND MAN UTD CHELSEA LIVERPOOL SPURS BORO have i missed any1

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