Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughFinancial problems engulf those at the top - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Financial problems engulf those at the top - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Financial problems engulf those at the top

Ever since the creation of Europe’s ground-breaking Premier League that saw football announce its name on a global stage with record-smashing television deals being the order of the day, the sport has undergone a kind of unravelling megalomania that has seen it swell, in some cases, beyond its means and often beyond accessibility to the type of working-man supporter that were regularly found on the terraces before the commercial revolution set in.

As football has evolved into a sport that embraces all corners of the globe through the mass appeal of clubs like Manchester United that pioneered the movement by dominating the early years of the cash-cow Premier League, so have revenue streams with oil billionaires, media tycoons and even processed chicken groups all involved to the extent that a multi-million pound takeover is now part of everyday news. That Manchester United, a club riddled with masses of debt following the takeover of the Glazer family, can demand a sponsorship deal with car company Chevrolet to the tune of £27 million to smash any previous shirt deal is indicative enough of the commercial appeal that top level football now commands.

Sheikh Mansour and the Eithad group are the most transient example of an outside investment with one aim to deliver quick success by way of expenditure that borders on the obscene, and clubs in Paris, Getafe, Makhachkala, Nottingham and Malaga have all yearned to follow in the footsteps of the “invest a lot of money to sign top class players and watch the trophies flood in” mantra that is proving to have the deepest of dark-sides when it is miscalculated. Manchester City have got their self-serving crack at the big-time spot on in ensuring the piles of cash are outlaid before UEFAs sanctions of Financial Fair Play come in and at the other end of the scale, to warn of the dangers of the ideology that may accompany such lavish spending, are Malaga.

Outside investments can be very dangerous things regardless of any optimism that may awash the supporters when their club possess the power to shell £30 million on a talented striker, for they are essentially a billionaire’s play-thing until he can prove, like Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich has done to his unique extent that his heart is behind the bank-notes. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nassar Al-Thani, a member of the Qatar Royal family, bought Malaga, then a humdrum La Liga club, in 2010 for a modest (to Al-Thani) sum of 36 million euros. Two years later and he has decided that the overhanging cloud of the Financial Fair Play ruling is a hamstring too much and has withdrawn his interest in the club. After being transformed from relegation candidates to Champions League qualifiers within two years by way of large fees and bumper contracts for the likes of Jaoquin, Jeremy Toulalan and Ruud Van Nistelrooy, they are now haemorrhaging money with an uncertain future in store as Al-Thani jumped at the chance to put the club up for sale.

Such a fate has long been billed for Chelsea, but Abramovich has reaffirmed his commitment to the future by shelling out £65 million on improving his Champions League winning squad this summer. This won’t please Michel Platini and his regulations, but it is a model that Malaga, and to a degree PSG, can only dream of replicating. The Premier League’s pioneering legacy has bought all of its successful clubs to the fore of global exposure, providing them with unmatched revenue streams similar to the world-wide appeal that Manchester United enjoy that allow them to operate on £690 million worth of debts. Malaga, a club in the backwaters of European football, marginalised by the Barcelona and Madrid shaped shadow of La Liga before Qatar noticed a potential do not have that and Al Thani has quickly realised.

Arsene Wenger, whose time at Arsenal has been accompanied by a renowned commitment to frugality and a cautious transfer budget, has been adamant that football operates in its own financial bubble in that as a business, it remains unparalleled in terms of cash-flow figures and it’s his team that such regulation will put at an advantage. His stubborn refusal to outlay some of the cash that Malaga and the like have enjoyed over the past years may be a blessing and a prominent reminder that if you get the spending wrong when at the top level, it can back-fire dramatically.