Football Finances

I’ve written before in this column of the dangerous state of football finances around the globe.

This week we have news from France where AS Monaco have been relegated to the French second division following their recent financial problems. Monaco are a club that bring back fond memories – they are the side that Wynton Rufer scored against in the 1992 European Cup Winners Cup Final.

Though Monaco have appealed their de-motion, it seems that that appeal will be fruitless. France – like Italy amongst other countries – have strict guidelines concerning the financial management of their clubs. The FFF are to be applauded for their strong stance, as are the Italian Federation who banished Fiorentina to the lower reaches of the Azzuri football pyramid last season.

However the very fact that those federations have had to make these tough decisions is a major worry. Sadly it’s a world wide problem. In Australia the champions Perth Glory, despite their huge crowds (38000 last week!), regularly lose in excess of a million dollars per season. In Scotland the SPL clubs together are in debt to the tune of GBP165 million, though admittedly half this figure is owed by one club, Rangers. In fact just this week Rangers were forced to turn down the chance of buying Jardel – former Golden Boot winner and Brazilian international – because Sporting Lisbon wanted TWO million GBP and Rangers could only afford 1.5. This just two seasons after they spent 12 million on Tore Andre Flo!!!!

In England, Leeds United’s financial problems resulted in them being within two matches of relegation to the first division, whilst first division Ipswich have sold their golden boy Matt Holland to Portsmouth for just GBP750,000. In Spain Real Madrid are regularly bailed out by the Spanish Government. I wonder if they would do the same for Barcelona? But that’s another issue.

Football has serious problems and one can’t help but think that the players & clubs have killed the goose that laid the golden egg. How we laughed as Rugby League has found more and more ways of cutting its own throat and yet here we are taking the same path. How much do Campbell, Keane & Beckham earn again?

And what chances are there that they may agree to cut their wages in order to ensure longevity at their club? Or indeed for clubs lower down the pyramid?

Not much I’d say. Lets take as much as we can and sod the rest, right?


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