Financial Flimflammery-The Beautiful Game
As I pointed out the other day,it’s a long time since we saw Celtic play. Seventeen weeks tomorrow,to be precise. And while some leagues have returned solely to finish off their seasons behind closed doors,they’ve only done so in order to avoid paying out hefty sums in compensation to their paymasters,the TV companies.
Football is nothing without the fans,as Jock Stein so memorably and accurately stated over fifty years ago. Yet for years,the clubs have treated the fans with utter contempt,believing that the income derived from them was so dwarfed by income from TV that they didn’t matter.
Heck,most clubs could easily allow the fans in for free,so minimal was matchday income in their great scheme of things. Instead,many of those clubs have alienated a large proportion of their fans.
Oh yes,they’ll still turn up,still buy their season ticket. But there has been a lingering resentment building in the support of many clubs at the ownership,and the cavalier manner in which they are dealt. As an example,Valencia fans are a tad miffed with their club,and particularly with its ownership and how they run things. The daughter of their Singaporean owner Peter Lim soon reminded them of their place in the pecking order.
‘Here again. Some Valencia CF fans are scolding and cursing at my family and I,’ Kim posted on Instagram, in a post which was later deleted. ‘Don’t they get it? The club is ours and we can do anything we want with it and no one can say anything.’
And so it goes. Wigan Arhletic revealed during the week that they will enter administration,and the newly-appointed administrator has already stated that there are a number of interested parties. Up to twelve,depending on which report you read. Surely then,the current owners would have been better appointing someone to find a buyer? After all,they are on a terrific run of form which has seen them midtable in The Championship after last year’s promotion. A twelve point penalty roots them in the relegation zone,about six points from safety.
Surely this has nothing to do with reports of large bets being placed on their relegation,despite that run of form and mid-table safety? I sincerely hope not,but I think that football associations the world over need to tighten up their regulations. The game has never been murkier. That’s what happens when money becomes the ultimate goal.
Where there’s brass,there’s muck,you might say…
Up here in Scotland,where the paying supporter is much more important than in most countries due to our pathetic TV “deals” we can fondly claim to be trailblazers in the sport. Just like back in the day when we showed the world how to play-Google “The Scotch Professors”-we can also proudly say that we’ve been contemptuous of our support since time immemorial. A few instances over the years spring to mind. Rangers offering to play a mini-tournament in aid of victims of the first Ibrox disaster in 1902 then throwing a wobbly when the winners actually kept the trophy! Or the same club trying to use the donations for victims to pay off fines after the 1971 disaster-Google “Foul-Falling Masonry” or our lot filling the ground with imaginary priests to avoid paying tax on income-while denying having the funds needed to buy players.
Or Wallace Mercer trying to buy Hibs,just to close them down.
Now we have the unedifying sight of Rangers trumpeting their new deal with Castore,and how it breaks with the loathed-by them,I’m a big fan of Ashley(!)-Sports Direct. Their hordes buy the season tickets,order up the new shirts in huge numbers-and huge sizes,btw-only to find that their tat can only be bought from…
The same outlets as before,because Mike Ashley hasn’t gone away. And neither has the court judgement he still holds over them.
Or our lot. A few days before the finalandwemeanitthistime deadline for season tickets,they release a statement thanking supporters for the uptake so far. And reminding everyone of a waiting list for people who do not have a ticket,but would like one. Subtle,eh? Again,treating us with contempt. Thinking we can’t see through the application of the thumbscrews.
Just to apply the pressure,they announced that the fabled 10,000 long list of wannabe season ticket holders had mushroomed to 17,000. Just like that,a pandemic phenomenon. As the cost of being on the list is £10 per person,I look forward to seeing that £170,000 in the accounts. Especially as it should be in an escrow account. Still,at least we don’t charge £50 a year,like that other mob.
But the ultimate in contempt from the clubs isn’t actually shown towards the fans. We aren’t important enough for that. Oh no. It is saved for UEFA and in particular its attempts to regulate spending in the game. Many of you will remember the fun we used to have wondering which method of financial flimflammery Minty would use to boost the balance sheet at Ibrox when it was clear to all and sundry that they were trading while insolvent. Fortunately he knew the answer. You really should read this link,btw. It’s from 2003!!!
Well,Juventus and Barcelona seem to have found a way to BOTH make a profit of around €50-60m from a transfer deal,and which they can use to offset against Financial Fair Play regulations. Miramel Pjanic moved from Juventus to Barcelona. Artur Melo moves in the opposite direction for a similar fee of about €80m.
As both are on four year deals,the annual cost to the clubs of each player is a quarter of the fee. That lovely word,amortisation.
Income,however,is booked immediately.
Voila,a huge profit for both clubs,and more vickies to UEFA.
A one-off,just a coincidence,eh? How about this,then?
“Juventus have confirmed the signing of Portuguese winger Felix Correia while Pablo Moreno joins Manchester City.”
I’ve never heard of either of them,and I’m pretty sure few of you will have. But they’ve booked fees of €12m,so there’s another €9m to play about with. For both clubs. And all three clubs have existing FFP problems. Some coincidence. I wonder if Man City will buy a player from Bayern to cancel out the fee involved for Sane?
Oh,and the best laugh about the Pjanic move? Barcelona put a €400m release clause on him! I think they’re safe there,but it inflates their balance sheet again.
It’s all very well and good to bring in rules and regulations to preserve the purity of the sport and to prevent corruption,but when those rules are being bent or broken with impunity,then UEFA have to up their game. This pandemic may be occupying the attention of everyone for a while,but the opportunists have never downed tools or gone on furlough. They’ve upped their game,and UEFA need to be wise to it,as do we all. This isn’t being ripped off for a face mask that you never EVER expected to have to wear,this is the remnants of integrity in the game we are talking about.
Above article by BMCUWP. Even talking about the above,I wanted to mention something else,much more pertinent to our club. I’m holding that one while a few details are confirmed. Meanwhile,send us an article of your own,we always publish!