Date: 29th August 2008 at 5:22pm
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Following an announcement by Michel Platini in Monte Carlo that an investigation is to be launched into club debts and inequality between rich and poor teams Arsene suggested drastic action to bring clubs into line when responding to a question raised on the topic at a press conference today.

In a period when increasingly frustrated fans can be heard urging their clubs to spend big and in some cases ‘break the bank` or get anyone of a number of different players ‘no matter the cost` Platini pointed to the situation in Spain where Celta Vigo and Valencia have over reached themselves and risk collapse. Seeing big budget deficits as a form of cheating Platini is keen to create a more level playing field saying “European football must be clean and transparent and we do not want clubs buying success on credit.”

“We have to find the golden mean, the right balance,” Platini said. “There have always been rich and poor clubs, the rich get richer and the poor want to take their place. We should have more balance, and we will see what can be done. But we will do it calmly and coolly, with the whole football family.”

This is a theme that Wenger has championed in the past believing that it distorts competition. It is a practice he has described as financial doping.

Responding to a question as to whether he welcomed the investigation Arsene replied:

“Very welcome – and I think the clubs who have deficits should be kicked out of Europe – personally”

In a clear reference to the £1.5bn combined debts of Chelsea and Manchester United the questioner pointed out that there were clubs in England that didn`t balance their budgets annually.

“I don`t know,” said Wenger “personally I think the only way to go is that there is a control over all Europe. And I think we’ll go that way. You like it or not but I would bring in a control of the management of every individual club. Every individual club will be controlled because it is very important for the fans of the competition first and it is very important that every club lives with the resources he has available.”

Warming to the theme he continued, “…doesn`t speculate for one year and then after cannot pay the salaries for the next 2 or 3 years. Or the transfers – you know because every transfer nowadays in Europe is paid over 3 or 4 years. It is compulsory that without controls the commitment of the club is right because if that doesn`t happen it can collapse very quickly.”

When asked if he would wish that all transfer fees be paid immediately his response was “I personally prefer but you go to the numbers right now that nobody can do that anymore. You cannot say who is a club in Europe that can pay £30m cash?” With a big grin on his face, referring no doubt to Fiszman`s earlier revelation, he said, “I know one – but only one!”



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