Chelsea, Man City Oppose Spending Limits – Surprise, Surprise

The 20 Premier league clubs will meet next week to discuss the possible introduction of some voluntary spending limits, and for convenience for these meetings,  the teams have been split into two groups of 10 teams each on a geographical basis, and we expect Derek LLambias will be representing Newcastle United at this meeting.

Derek Llambias – Newcastle’s Managing Director

As we reported this morning, the UEFA Financial Fair Play rules will be coming into increasing effect in the years ahead, with the end goal (so to speak) being that clubs can actually balance their books, and hopefully gone will be the days when clubs like Manchester City can lose £197M in one season, as they did from 2010-2011.

It seems that most of the clubs are in agreement for some voluntary controls, but they will need to come to agreement on what happens if clubs don’t meet the agreed to requirements.

There are various proposals to be put forward:

  • UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Rules where clubs must break even over a given number of years – since English clubs will have to meet these requirements – this would seem to be a sensible approach
  • Clubs only being allowed to spend a percentage of their annual revenues on the costs of players – which would largely be their wages – Newcastle’s wages to revenue figure is one of the best in the Premier League but some clubs – like QPR – spend more on wages than their total revenues – which is simply crazy
  • Limiting the increases in players’ total wages to a maximum of 10% each year – this proposal is one coming from Sunderland owner Ellis Short
  • One option that is popular  is ensuring clubs can guarantee they can operate for several years in the future rather than just the next year (wow). So they would need to show they can generate future revenues to support players getting longer term contracts.
    Portsmouth went into bankruptcy when they simply couldn’t afford the play the wages of their players on long term contracts after a year or two

The clubs who are most opposed to any of these plans being put into place are Manchester City – that’s not surprising since they are in the worst financial shape of any other Premier League club, Chelsea, who like Manchester City are used to spending whatever Romain Abramovich wants to spend – and Fulham – which is a strange one.

Chelsea and Manchester City have basically spent their way to winning some of the Premier League titles over the last several years, since they have spent so much more than any other English clubs over that period.

Chelsea have spent in excess of £1B since Abramovich bought the club back in 2003 – when he brought in 11 players – a full team – over that first summer.

Is it just me that thinks this is simply ridiculous?

And Manchester City are trying their very best to spend as much as Chelsea, with over £800M being spent on players over the last four years.

The interesting thing will be if controls are put in place, and it looks like some level of controls can be agreed to, what are the sanctions for breaking them?

We were very pleased to see that UEFA President Michel Platini is serious in saying that if clubs don’t meet the Financial Fair Play rules, they will not be allowed to compete in Europe.

So next May, why don’t UEFA announce those clubs who have qualified for Europe, but will not be allowed to compete, because they haven’t put their financial books in order.

That would send a great message to clubs, and soon get them to see the light – hopefully.

But the time when clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City can spend money like it grows on trees, will soon be one for the history books, and the game of football will be so much better off because of it.

And we’ll be asking in the years ahead – why were they ever allowed to do that in the first place?

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117 comments so far

  • MagpiesFlyHigh

    Sep 22, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Comment #1

    So does Kets. We’d never be able to buy his Panini wishlist without a bottomless pit full of money

  • MagpiesFlyHigh

    Sep 22, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    Comment #2

    Seriously, I am more optimistic that the FFP rules will be enforced rigorously with the quotes coming from Platini…and that has to help us.. The financial regime here does make sense even if it is incredibly frustrating at times

  • darrenfletcher88

    Sep 22, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Comment #3

    What a load off crap!! If u have money spend it,if u don’t have it u can’t!! It’s like winning the lottery and not being able to spend it!!

  • FatmanJoe

    Sep 22, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    Comment #4

    I don’t know too much about the subject but as I understand it the clubs don’t have the money and are borrowing it to spend.

  • Big Pappa Cissé

    Sep 22, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Comment #5

    @ Darren

    So you want the same teams winning the title and getting in the Champions League every year then ? . The only way teams like us can compete is if we are taken over by some Arab oil tycoon that is willing to pump millions into the club, sad yes but hopefully this FFP will help

  • Marty-Toon

    Sep 22, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Comment #6

    We will see what happens,they’ll find a way around it I’d say n keep their spending at maybe a little lower than it has been.

  • kingkilkline

    Sep 22, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Comment #7

    It’s to protect clubs from doing a Leeds, Rangers, Pompey etc not sure if chelski or citeh fans would be happy if their owners walked away leaving them with untenable debts!

  • kingkilkline

    Sep 22, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    Comment #8

    Surprise surprise 2 clubs with a lot to lose objecting to the new plans that are meant to make football more financially realistic

  • belgrade fan

    Sep 22, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    Comment #9

    when was the last time when we conceded first and then win a game? this thing must be improved..

  • mattyNUFC

    Sep 22, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Comment #10

    so what happens when clubs DO have money to spend and they don’t?

    Oh right, I guess we’ll have to wait until the end of the season to see

  • mattyNUFC

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Comment #11

    belgrade fan

    i think it’s been like 26 games without a win

  • mattyNUFC

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Comment #12

    In principle FFP is great

    time will prove (imo) that it’s had little to no effect on evening the playing field.

    Platini said it clearly, sponsorships will be based on what the top clubs are earning with their respective deals so, hypothetically

    lets say barca secures a 10 year deal at 20mil a year with Fly Emirates. Newcastle, because we do not have the same fanfare and draw as a barcelona, would be incapable of acquiring a deal anywhere near that sum

    it’s so loose that the big teams will continue to win and the smaller teams will continue to push on, year after year in the seemingly forlorn hope of winning something worthwhile

  • toonincheek

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Comment #13

    Not a fan of the ManC way of doing things, but running a football club has NEVER been about making money, or even breaking even – ask any chairman!
    (grassroots and lower leagues excepted)

    Despite the excesses of (mainly) ManC and Chelski, do we really think it would be good for football if owners were barred from putting a bit of their own money into their club?

    A balance needs to be found, but the FFP goes too far.

  • MacToon

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    Comment #14

    I believed these rules were being implemented to stop clubs over spending with the potential of going bust, into receivership, “doing a Leeds” as we know it.

    It isn’t designed to make football fairer.

    So, if Man City or the Chelseas of theis world can afford to throw money away then why not…… I know it’s not fair but that’s life. There will always be richer clubs, that will never change.

  • MagpiesFlyHigh

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Comment #15


    But they don’t have the money..

  • 89Norcal

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Comment #16

    Agree with MacToon, this won’t necessarily level the playing field, but will ensure clubs remain solvent and follow some sort of stable business model. UEFA have been compelled to take action following the troubles of Malaga and Racing Santander.

    Even though La Liga has unique issues as opposed to EPL, there’s no denying that some owners in England subscribe to the “Big Spending = Silverware” theory, jeopardizing the clubs finances in return.

  • mattyNUFC

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Comment #17


    i think you’re right. I think the ‘fair’ in FFP was perhaps misleading me

    what a notion though, a fair playing field.

    The one thing that i would hate to see happen to football is what’s happened in american sport…..there’s hardly any loyalty when it comes to the players. they are off for the next big pay day with such frequency (and it is due in large part to the financial confines and restrictions each respective league has implemented) that it’s not uncommon for most players, even the ‘stars’ to play for five or six different teams in a relatively short period of time.

    there”s a lot more of that in football nowadays but there are no real juggernauts in american sports any longer. there are a few historical teams like the yankees or the packers or the lakers, but, save the lakers, most of the teams who win in their leagues finished in the bottom end only a year or two ago

  • MagpiesFlyHigh

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Comment #18

    or Doing a QPR as it will soon be known.
    How can wages in excess of gates plus a pile of TV money be acceptable ?

  • darrenfletcher88

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Comment #19

    They obviously do have the money or they wouldn’t keep spending it

  • mattyNUFC

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Comment #20

    basically what i’m saying is, it’s an even when we play the manchester uniteds and the arsenals of the league. i’ve appreciated the annual opportunity to get one over on them which makes when you actually do pick up three points all the better.

    there is a real way to preserve that level of history, where clubs like man u and arsenal and lpool remain the teams to beat without a club buying their way to it in a matter of a few seasons (man city, psg, chelsea, qpr), and the best part about it in my eyes is that, it has to be continual, ever evolving. arsenal has hit a rough patch but they’ll bounce back. the structures in place are solid enough to withstand temporary lulls, whereas a team like liverpool has deservedly fallen from the highest echelons and are now forced to claw their way back to the summit

  • mattyNUFC

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Comment #21

    an event*

  • spitfire_

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Comment #22

    @belgrade fan
    October 23th 2010… we will have a jubilee in a month.

  • ped

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    Comment #23

    didnt hear many complaints when one of the richest mffen in britain sr john hall draged newcastle from 3rd teir of english football to 2nd in prem another point man city have 30%/ greater income then newcastle champions/and champs league football which means better players and less hope of newcastle ever competing,seems like yuor only hope is a rich arab investor oh wait ffp has put payed to that welcome to years of medio sorry about spelling but you get the gist

  • 89Norcal

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Comment #24

    @mattyNUFC, great points..

    As an American, the prospect of a more or less level and unpredictable league like the NFL provides excitement, but the track records, history, and prestige of particular football clubs is a big part of my fascination with the beautiful game in Europe, that makes breaking up the top 4 all the sweeter; when it’s done with shrewd transfer policy, brilliant tactics, dedication and general wherewithal, much like NUFC are doing now.

    Teams like Man U may be big spenders themselves but earned that right through year after year of success (say what you will about how they got out of a few tight matches). That’s what a legacy is all about, laying the groundwork for success down the line.

  • 89Norcal

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Comment #25

    ..and to add, I think having established juggernaut clubs creates one of the many nuance elements that create an intense relationship between fans and their club’s players. When a player knocks in a winner vs a top side for the upset, they burn themselves into the memories of the supporters. There’s many other reasons there’s stronger connections in football, be it players who grew in extreme poverty only to become heroes, to local guys playing for their home club, to providing memorable and improbable victories. It’s part of what makes the game and the EPL so incredible.

    Anyways, getting into ultra-nuance type stuff but worth a note nonetheless 🙂 . UEFA can help matters but hopefully they know when it’s time to back off some.

  • Big Pappa Cissé

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Comment #26

    @ 89Norcal

    Have you seen Moneyball ? . I would rather we gained success the way they did in the film rather than Ashley selling NUFC to an oil tycoon and buying trophies. But is that ever really going to happen ? . The closest a team came was Blackburn a while ago but they still splashed some money out and won the title but look were they are now. Moneyball is an amazing film like, I know nothing about Baseball but I loved it 🙂

  • Gateshead-Mag

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Comment #27

    i dont know where i stand on this, i think the man citys psgs and the likes are spoiling football a bit but certain clubs have spent big in the past, look at blackburn when they won the premier league and US during the john hall/shepherd era

    i think the difference being the extremes, although we spent beyond our means it was nothing on the scale of these clubs. there must be some sort of middle ground, if theres money there to be spent then yes spend it but maybe a spending limit or something

    i dont really know what i would suggest but i think something needs to be done but i would never like to see anything like an american system where any team can just go out and win it, i think it would be worse for the game than these oil rich owners, sucesful teams need to be built and matured. history and traditions are built over years

  • mattyNUFC

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    Comment #28


    agree completely on all points. and to add, it’s quite clear things just aren’t sustainable the way they are. maybe this is hyperbole, maybe not but i’m no economist and can’t be bothered to research but it’s pretty said when La Liga seems to have larger revenue streams than the country it is playing in

    on another note, I’m trying to arrange a trip to Bordeaux for the europa league match. I’m an american and the only other time i tried to get to a game was home game (the 5under1and game, no less, and i was stuck in a london pub watching the match, rueing every second of not being there and getting a ticket in time )

    i know that in order to get a ticket for an away game i have to be a member, so i plan on signing up for that rather soon, but how far in advance will they put the tickets on sale? this is obviously a huge financial obligation between trans-Atlantic flights, accommodation, etc, not to mention the price of the ticket, so is there any close-to-sure-fire-way i can get a ticket for the match?

    any and all info would be appreciated. if you plan on going let me know too and i’ll send you my e mail or something!

  • mattyNUFC

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Comment #29

    Big papiss,

    haha, that is a good film. unfortunately i don’t think the same approach could be applied as accurately to football

    could be wrong. god knows there’s statisticians galore here

    come on then, that’s the plan. let’s devise an algorithm for a cut-price championship winning team

  • Harley

    Sep 22, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    Comment #30

    Big pappa

    It’s funny you say that as moneyball reminded me so much of Newcastle (not quite to that extent mind).
    It did show in some way what can be achieved on a budget if done right. However, like you I had no idea about baseball and every time they said “cos he gets on base” I was puzzled.

    Anyway, it would make my year if man city qualified for the champions league and platini wouldn’t let them in. It would send the greatest message ever!!!

  • Big Pappa Cissé

    Sep 22, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Comment #31

    @ mattyNUFC

    I wonder if there is an algorithm you could apply to football ? . In the film I think they took statistics like how the player batted and if they got on base. There must be so many more variables for football, enough to make your head explode 🙂

  • Tsunki

    Sep 22, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Comment #32

    Well FFP may not be perfect but its a start, after all. OK, it may be seen as a way to avoid the inevitable disasters of speculative borrowing and overspending (as has been mentioned in Leeds’ case) but there’s no reason it can’t be adjusted over time to remove the inequity created by ‘nouveau riche’ clubs like Man City. Bear with me on this, but many years ago in the distant mists of the pasts when I was a lad (yawn developing…) My dad, being a Mancunian and avid Citizen, tried desperatelytoget me to support his beloved team. My environment, friends and the massed ranks of unwashed I grew up in the midst of in Peterlee (I know, I know) ensured I would be a Mag. However I retained a soft spot for my ‘second side’ and watched them through the Kinkladze years, then slide until Nicky Weaver saved them from oblivion, through the years of ‘feed the goat’ and so on. But their current incarnation leaves me cold, its a soulless machine, and I fervently hope we never get a rich spoiled brat owner who buys us a cupboard full of silver. It goes against everything I perceive about a hard-working mans’ beloved team driven by regional pride, honest work ethic and building a successful team to be followed on merit.

    If the rich mans’ plaything is discarded as a business model, then each club will be a self-sustaining one with the same opportunities to win based on competition alone. Correctly, Man Utd are an ideal example, same with Arsenal, success from a legacy of prudent management. Thats what I would want for NUFC. Saying its lie winning the lottery and not being able to spend it (a la Abramovich) is short-sighted as it totally disregards the real purpose of a sporting institution. Sport by definition implies fair participation reliant on ability, skills and talent. Spending like City and Chelsea reminds me of a time when I queued for ages in Greggs behind a bloke who was buying lunch for his workmates. He bought all the remaining mexican chicken oval bites and caramel doughnuts, which is what I had gone in for. Caramel doughnuts I tell you!

    BTW I dont find Fulham’s objection strange at all. Fayed has the resources to sink pots of money in the club, and if CL came into view I doubt he would be able to resist going for the big pot. Plus he’s loco. He has a statue of MJ outside his ground, I mean…

    Welcome Ibiza, been some scare-mongering about you today. Can you clarify what all the panic is about?

  • 89Norcal

    Sep 22, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Comment #33

    @Big Pappa Cisse,

    ‘course! Oakland A’s are my team :). And I understand, in the end it DOES take a bit of spending but hopefully never enough to bring you to the brink of bankruptcy or folding!


    Spain has massive issues outside of La Liga, so it’s no surprise when you see the state the league is in. Everyone knows about advertising and endorsement money among the Big 2, and far too much is invested in those teams by their governments. Now of course Catalunya is pushing for independence.

    Btw good luck with your trip! Been wanting to go to Newcastle for a few years now but it will have to wait as I’m between jobs. But I did do some window shopping of course 🙂 and tickets + accommodation are definitely up there!

    Btw I would kill to be in a Newcastle pub during a match. But I understand being so close to SJP yet so far away!

  • FatmanJoe

    Sep 22, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    Comment #34

    Liverpool owners said they were applying the moneyball technique when they bought downing Henderson and Carroll. Seriously. They looked at the statistics of these players over all else.

    Great film like. I don’t know anything about baseball but the film is canny.

  • davis_toons

    Sep 22, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Comment #35

    Talking about the banner on top.
    To win games we need to score goals.
    And the top left group seems to have more goal scorer that can create something..

    With Ben and BA.

    While the Right side seems to have more decent defensive players….but who knows..

    They might play long ball and get Cisse & Obtan and run at it.

  • 89Norcal

    Sep 22, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Comment #36


    I agree with your point of avoiding a club ownership model that focuses on profit first. Obviously the owners are relying on the club to be a main generator of their wealth, and they derive intangible benefits from club ownership, status boost, etc..

    And clubs should be allowed to whip out the checkbook and gamble a bit, but it should still have it’s limits. That way big money transfers are better analyzed by clubs.

    This will prevent the sugar daddies from throwing £50m at a player without considering tactics involved with assimilating the guy into his system.

    It will also help from inflating players’ transfer fees just because a big club is eyeing them.

    If the gamble doesn’t pay off, you step back, analyze, and make it work or lick your wounds and try again.

  • Carryingcoals

    Sep 22, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Comment #37

    My preview for tomorrow’s game –

    Can’t see us turning them over.

    Re the moneyball comparison: I’d prefer to win a trophy doing it the Arsenal way (i.e. what we seem to be modelling ourselves on) building a team that way rather than pumping hundreds of millions in to the club risking its long term future. Having said that, god I miss Champions League nights…!

  • 89Norcal

    Sep 22, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Comment #38

    ^the owner’s *aren’t

  • FatmanJoe

    Sep 22, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    Comment #39

    Good article carryingcoals. Agree with a lot of what you say. Snodrgrass should be kept quiet and I think we’ll eventually overcome them. First time I’m at sjp for ages so well looking forward to it!

  • Carryingcoals

    Sep 22, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Comment #40

    cheers joe, I think we will get the win but not demolish them.

    I’m there to but in an unfamiliar seat in the Leazes end.


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