Date: 27th June 2008 at 10:44am
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Scanning this morning’s Arsenal-related news, what do see, but a new piece of insightful wisdom from everyone’s favourite gallic goon (no, not Raymond Domenech, and no, not gooner…), Michel Platini.

Platini, it would seem, is hellbent on kneecapping the Premier League. He doesn’t like the fact we take kids from other countries. He doens’t like that more english kids don’t get an opportunity. He doesn’t like our dominance over Europe’s other leagues, both on the pitch and on the bank statement. And now he doesn’t like the fact that some of our clubs have debt.

So much so that he has said UEFA are planning to ‘regulate’ this. He said

“Uefa is going to fight to regulate access to its competitions for clubs who are in debt.

I am not just talking about United and Chelsea, who got to last season`s Champions League final with a big debt, I am speaking in general.

If a club has money and wants to invest in a player it has every right to do so.

I am more worried about a club that is in debt and spending £10 million on a player. We are going to regulate this.

Now, i saw this article on Setanta’s website, and they’ve been a bit mischievous, as they’ve tied Arsenal in with all this, which i think is ludicrous.

Their thinking behind this is that the mancs, the chavs and the mickey mousers have huge debts because of player acquisitions and wages; and takeovers, which have been refinanced back onto the clubs themselves, courtesy of the new owners. And Arsenal belong in the list because they are ‘currently repaying loans for the funding of Emirates Stadium’.

There’s a slight difference in the two situations here. Arsenal’s debt is due to increasing capacity for fans and revenue streams, not because of reckless / over-the-top expenditure on player purchases. In contrast, we are relatively conservative in our outlay on transfers, spending less than the barcodes and the spuds in recent seasons (the past five, i would wager).

So surely any talk of taking action against these debt-ridden clubs should not concern Arsenal. If it does, and if Setanta’s proclamation about said clubs being banned is correct, i fully expect to see Real Madrid banned from the Champions League also. Were it not for Madrid being the beneficiary of some dubious land-acquisition by Madrid’s city council, who bought Real’s training ground back off the club a couple of years ago for TWICE the going rate, thus wiping out Real’s huge debt in the process, the Spanish club would be fully submersed in a financial quagmire. And if they do go ahead and complete their proposed £80m-or-so purchase of Ronaldo, they surely will be again.

Whatever the true story here, it certainly appears that Platini has a serious issue with the Premier League, as he seems to continually look for new ways to peg the Prem back and stop it’s emerging powerhold over the rest of Europe. As has been mentioned before, this was never a problem when Italian clubs were dominant in European competition. And surely it is a far worse crime to actually cheat by bribing referees and the like (mentioning no milanese or old ladies).