Monday, May 20, 2024

Report: Uefa keeping tabs on Arsenal spending

According to The Times (£), Uefa are keeping a close eye on Arsenal’s spending as the club attempts to manoeuvre through the transfer window without breaching the governing body’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

On the back foot since falling out of the Champions League at the tail-end of Arsene Wenger’s tenure, the Gunners’ financial situation has been significantly impacted by the Covid pandemic with post-tax losses spiralling to record levels in the last two years.

In February, the club announced a loss of £107.3 million for the year ended 31 May, 2021, more than double the loss of the year before, £47.8m. Cash reserves that were the envy of world football have dried up like an oxbow lake in a heatwave.

Despite matchday and commercial revenues taking a hit, the club have attempted to reboot the first team with significant investment in the transfer market across the last two summer windows.

While figures are estimates, net spend on players in the last three years tops £200 million and, if reports are to be believed, we’re open to spending even more.

Uefa’s current rules allow only €30 million in losses over a three-year period although there are plenty of caveats baked in, including ‘healthy’ spending and Covid-related flexibility.

If that limit stayed as is, we’d probably be in for a slap from Aleksander Ceferin but the rules are due to change next year and the limit, thanks to the phased introduction of new ‘squad cost control’ regulations, will increase to €90 million.


For the time being, football finance expert @SwissRamble believes we’re on the right side of the regulations, although he admits estimating Arsenal’s profit and losses for the next couple of years is “a bit of a mug’s game.”

Signing off on a typically epic Twitter thread, he concludes that Arsenal “have had to show some fancy footwork off the pitch to remain competitive during their extended Champions League absence, especially after being hit particularly hard by COVID, but they would appear to have just about managed to do so while still complying with FFP rules.”

Obviously, after years of playing the good guys under Arsene, it’s somewhat galling to countenance that we, of all clubs, are sailing close to the wind on the FFP front especially when blatant rulebreakers (Chelsea, City etc.) haven’t faced any meaningful sanctions.

We should point out that plenty of other clubs are also being monitored and a select few will be punished for previous breaches which include transfer bans. That said, just to underline how laughable the marshalling of FFP is, Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid are just letting the letters pile up on the doormat because they are still in a legal battle with Uefa over their involvement in the breakaway Super League plans.

Let’s hope Arsenal’s spending pays dividends on the pitch.

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Brady’s bunch

Beyond laughable


European football, hopefully CL next season, should make a difference.


Yeah it’s seems laughable but our spending has been up there with the highest, think last summer transfer window we were top spenders? With no CL football. Although I don’t know how Chelsea aren’t getting sanctioned, they’ve spent silly money this window.

Alan Sunderland

Chelsea seem to be able to pile up debt like Barcelona and never a word about it. It looks like they could end up spending 300 million this year.


Honestly wouldn’t surprise me if Chelsea have been paying someone off.

A Different George

First, of course, Chelsea were in fact sanctioned with a transfer ban–which was fairly serious, though not as much as they deserved. Second, Chelsea’s secret was both simple and no longer relevant: Abramovich was willing to “lend” the club literally a billion and a half pounds, without any interest in getting it back (nor any interest in interest). The new American owners, like our own, might be willing to lose money for a while, but only in order to make money in the long run. Chelsea, in my opinion, in a couple of years (when the legacy wealth of their… Read more »

Woolwich Tiern time

Teansfer ban had nothing to do with FFP. Was something to do with some player. Cant quite remember… but absolutely nothing to do with FFP..

Crash Fistfight

They also receive money for their players.

Emerson to West Ham was supposedly £15m, and he’s dog shit. I’m sure he wasn’t on low wages, either, so that excuse for Arsenal being terrible sellers doesn’t apply there.

They got nearly £20m for Guehi (who had never played for them) and over £20m for Tomori (who had played a handful of games, no doubt in the cups where he was playing against chumps), whereas we can’t get anything for AMN, who has played for England (yes, I know those 2 players mentioned have, but not before leaving Chelsea).


Uefa should just focus on FCB!

Johnny 4 Hats

It’s fine. The irony is, we can always bribe our way out of this sort of trouble.

If we give them enough in the brown envelope, they can put in a good word for us to host a North London World Cup.

They’ll even supply the slave labour.


unfortunately we are not Barcelona or Real Madrid billions in debt both but UEFA see that as ok because they are part of the EU , 20 yrs now and Barcelona and Real Madrid are still billions in debt ??? and UEFA say nothing ?????

It Is What It Is

Sorry mate, little rant….on this topic of sports washing and slave labour….we just had the common wealth games, ancestors of some participants would have been part of the slaves that built our port cities amongst many other key infrastructure of the time. At the same time we’ll still keep international relations sweet for oil. It really depends on who, where and what’s in it for us. I’d like to know how many hospitals, roads, water treatment/electrici schools and worship houses we have destroyed, and rebuilt in areas where we have sent troops. The ratio can’t be great. Bet a lot… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

Some really valid points here and you’re absolutely right. None of us have moral immunity when it comes to the origins of wealth and infrastructure.

But to take accounting lessons from a proven corruptible system is just a little too Kafkaesque for my liking.


You can feel guilt if you want. My family was too busy living in crowded, insanitary inner London housing, working ridiculous hours for very little money which had then, in turn, to be paid in rent to the same people who owned the industry in which they were working. It may come as some surprise that the native working class weren’t t all living high on the hog off the profits made on their Caribbean estates. For most of them, the only estates that were seen were the housing estates on which they lived for their hard, short, unhealthy lives… Read more »

A Different George

The English (and British) working class did not grow rich from colonialism, nor from the modern exploitation of the “third world.” But the *owners* of English football clubs are not nearly as innocent.


The Slavery Abolition Act was passed in 1833.
The oldest football club in Britain was formed in 1857
Arsenal was formed in 1886.
It’s football clubs were formed by groups o& workers at local factories.
Who they are owned by now is a total irrelevance.

A Different George

I was trying to make a distinction that was not based on nationality nor on the historical origins of a football club. None of the clubs are cooperative undertakings of fellow workers now. And if “who they are owned by now” is irrelevant, than we should not be worrying about the owners of City or Newcastle, or the recent owner of Chelsea. If those issues do matter, however, then it is entirely appropriate to also think about the social role played by other owners, including our own.


For which, as a Briton, I am not responsible.
but feel free to feel ersatz guilt.

Johnny 4 Hats

So, you’re saying there were a few entitled fuckers getting super rich while everyone else worked their arseblogs off to survive?

Phew. So glad that’s all over.


We do benefit now though. Higher standards of living etc. Even while there’s still a massive disparity between rich and poor in this country.

Guns Up

Don’t wanna delve too far into a sensitive topic, but you make quite a few assumptions in your rant, like Johnny being okay with Abramovich investment, destruction of hospitals, roads, etc. Without knowing him personally, I think there’s a decent chance those things also bother him.

It also seems reasonable to me to examine historical slavery practices through at least a slightly different lens than present day slave labor. Do you not view the Great Pyramids and Colosseum differently than the newest stadium in Qatar?

Mayor McCheese

UEFA can fuck right off. Financial Fair Play has been done nothing to make the play fair. Going after Arsenal, now, after years of letting financial doping work wonders for other clubs? Please. Fuck. Off.

Brady’s bunch

They’ve watched the soul being ripped out of football while we held the morals and ethos of the club for decades while others continue to make a mockery, from match fixing to sports washing then look at Uefa and fifa themselves to see how corrupt the game is 🤬


Worth pointing out we aren’t the only ones being looked at, but this is ridiculous

You’ve got Barcelona buying players they can’t register. Owing players wages they haven’t paid, but hey, look at Arsenal spending some money and getting better at football!


totally agree UEFA FIFA all of them are corrupt as hell.. Billions in debt are barcelona and real Madrid yet nothing said 20 yrs of debt far past that of any other clubs yet its ok because it barcelona and Real Madrid !! and these are the facts !! disgusting !!


This is just a subtle way of telling Arsenal board to bring their own brown envelope…


Thanks for checking in UEFA, very kind.


Seriously … think they need to keep an eye on psg and Barca first 😂😂😂


I think Barca needs a good sniff at. They are well beyond the eye stage


One of the clubs that rarely gets mentioned when it comes to FFP breaches is AC Milan. Their rebuilding process led to them winning Serie A last year, but back in 2018 or 2019 they blew 200 million euros and were banned from the Europa League for one season for breaching FFP. Reportedly the new owners at the time, US-based hedge fund Elliot Management, saw the ban as a price worth paying to make AC Milan’s playing squad competitive again. That’s the status quo for many clubs today. We were the good guys for years and look where it got… Read more »


The way we are accumulating young players, I think they are foreseeing a transfer ban and already have a counter measure in place . That would be epic

Eazy Deezy

Yeah it’s amazing to think that this young squad should just be better next year, we’ll barely need to spend (especially if we get Tielemans and Neto now)

I’m thinking a marquee DM will be the main signing next summer

Woolwich Tiern time

Dont need Tielermans. Bellingham next summer


Almost as if this is payback for the ESL move.


I would have assumed that UEFA keeps an eye on all clubs spending during transfer windows, and that domestic football associations do exactly the same.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to any professional football club.


Ceferin and his cronies are whiter than white of course, what an absolute joke they and UEFA are.
Of course the same people owning two clubs in the same league (Chelsea and Newcastle) escapes any interest eh, don’t wanna get involved with their lawyers do ya?


Thank you for your interest in our affairs


Feels a bit like that time Arsene thought there might have been some drugs cheating going on with some of our opponents in the Champions League, naturally causing UEFA to spring a surprise whole squad drugs test on us.

Giuseppe Hovno

thank you for summarising swiss ramble’s tweets. i found it bamboozling. The TLDR to me seems to be: FFP is a joke

Boy Bastin

UEFA have a reported 20 European clubs on their “watch list” so they clearly aren’t picking on Arsenal. Yes, the likes of Barca and a few others are at greater peril from FFP rules than we are, but it is a warning light nevertheless. We’re clearly spending a lot of money we haven’t generated in income. Also, although Arsenal have removed a few high wage players recently, Auba and Laca for example, we’ve brought in a lot of others albeit on lower wages. We’ve also failed at raising much revenue from sales, certainly compared to our large expenditure. We shouldn’t… Read more »

Quentin Quarantino

Does anyone know where our money is coming from ? Is it accumulating as debt on the club?

El Mintero

Good question.

Spanish Gooner

We are fully owned by the largest sports company in the world, Kroenke Sports Entertainment. To put their financial power into context, they 100% privately financed the building of a $5 billion stadium in LA for one of their other teams, which has now been finished. We have money.

El Mintero

You’re not answering the question though…

Quentin Quarantino

So we’re having a free lunch or we owe the money plus interest. It’s one or the other?


Precedent has been set by other clubs appealing sanctions, ffp never stood a chance


Burn it all down. Philippe Auclair gets it.


oh but what about Barcelona and Real Madrid for the last 20 years??? oh its ok for them because they are part of the EU.. thats what it looks like to everyone.. Biased Uefa as old same old.. allow foreign clubs to run billions of debt but english clubs only 30 million euros losses allowed !! what a joke !!

Boy Bastin

But reports say UEFA have 20 clubs on their watch list. A few of these are in England but the vast majority are on the European continent. It’s really got nothing to do with the EU. Of course Barca are a prime suspect but that doesn’t invalidate including other clubs on the list (including us, unfortunately).

Giuseppe Hovno

What a lot of tosh you’ve clearly not even scanned the Twitter thread.

Emi Rates

What fills me with such comfort about UEFA keeping tabs on the club I support is knowing what an incredibly honest and ethical organisation it is.


Howthe heck are United not falling foul of ffp?

Eazy Deezy

It’s their huge commercial revenues. The owners are actually taking dividends our of the club, not putting their own money into the club


They let Barcelona get away with murder fiannacially and yet we are under scrutiny. Should look at Spurs as well.


It does make me laugh considering how Man City, Chelsea, Real Madrid & Barca have got away with cooking the books over the years & UEFA constantly let them get away with it, Arsenal have a bad couple of years and we are under ‘scrutiny’.

I guess the difference is we don’t bribe UEFA like the ones above do.

Considering how much merchandise Arsenal must shift with adidas I really
Can’t see how we would break FFP rules.

Boy Bastin

I doubt that the sales of Adidas merchandise are a major factor for us. They would be a bigger component if we were, say, Real Madrid or another massive club because they raise many, many times more in merchandise than we do. For example, it was thought that Real Madrid recouped the transfer fee paid to Man Utd for Ronaldo (about £80 million) through shirt sales – and that was over ten years ago! Arsenal have been towards the bottom of the so-called “big six” PL clubs when it comes to commercial activity (including merchandising) for quite a while I… Read more »

NB Gooner

Lazy journalism from The Times.

Public Elneny

FFP could have been great for football, but it’s dead in the water now

Eric Blair

Yep. UEFA had their chance, but they didn’t have the will to properly enforce it and it is now unenforceable.

Eric Blair

Having said that, thinking about how we find ourselves in this situation brings a tear to the eye, perhaps hundreds of millions of pounds wasted in transfer fees and contract extensions that provided no real sustenance on or off the pitch, former Directors of Football not withstanding.

Thank goodness we finally have a transfer strategy in place.


Interestingly, Raul Sanllehi is now a Director of Football at Barcelona, which is a bit of a head-scratcher…

Eric Blair

I wasn’t aware of that, but they’ve certainly been making some ‘interesting’ deals this transfer window.

If he has any honour he will offer us a few quid to take Pepe off our hands!


He isn’t. According to TransferMarkt he’s a director at Real Zaragoza. Good luck to them with him ripping them off.

Ted Reese

Capitalism’s impending collapse (since automation is abolishing the source of profit, capital’s theft of commodity-producing labour’s labour time) demands socialism and fan ownership:


The only people reporting this are the DM FootballLondon The Star The Mail all owned by Reach who have an Anti-Arsenal agenda read Untold Arsenal’s comments on this story


100% we will be the first club to be proper sanctioned. uefa are a joke

Naked Cygan



The only reason we are being looked at, is because of the poor management in previous years to transfer signings. Chelsea get around this because they sign young players for £3mill, loan them for 3 years and sell them for £15-£20mill so they can blow £96mil on Lukaku and loan him out (unfortunately). The difference now, is that IF (yes a big IF) we were going to sell a first team player, it would be for a handsome profit. We have done great now to put a young squad together who are very very good players, and their valuation will… Read more »

Boy Bastin

Yes, I agree with a lot of that. Chelsea (and Real Madrid as they’ve been mentioned quite a lot in posts) buy big but sell well, on the whole. There was research a little while ago (I’ll try and dig out the link) that showed the transfer spending of the bigger clubs – 25, I recall – across Europe over ten years, against their transfer income. The best (lowest net spend) were at the bottom, the worst (highest net spend) at the top. Barca and Utd were at the top (worst) and we were around 7th or 8th, I think… Read more »


I’m actually really impressed how our senior execs have managed to keep us just on the edge of FFP while still managing to spend so much on the squad, and after the pandemic. Well done to Vinai and everyone. We’re one of twenty clubs that UEFA is looking at because of our high spending, there’s no way they’ll have anything to sanction us for, we’ve become a very well run club both on and off the pitch.


Swiss Ramble’s work on this is beyond excellent. His points in particular regarding the release of player’s on free transfers and the mechanism that creates in order to shift costs that would have otherwise been amortised in future periods is something that I don’t think a lot of us would have ever considered in assessing the merits of our transfer business out. Clearly it doesn’t change the fact it would have been preferable to have got some or better transfer fees in a lot of instances, but it does highlight why in a lot of cases the club couldn’t sit… Read more »

Patrick Fabio Vieira

Before we point fingers at others, make sure we look after our own backyard first.

As long as we’re not in breach of anything, I cannot care less about Chelski, Manshour Sheikhy, FC Broke, PSG or Madrid. Or even UEFA for that matter.


I’m keeping tabs on UEFA’s spending.


The whole point of FFP in the first place was to maintain the status quo for the ‘big’ clubs at the time and to stop anyone else buying in to that exclusive group, people often forget that.
Arsenal were always on the fringes of that, neither fully in or fully out.. whole thing is a farce, we just have to play the game within the rules set out and on we go.


UEFA, Ceferin and FFP is beyond a joke. What did they do for the last 2 decades, live in a parallel universe?


Ah UEFA, how they look upon us spending yet manage to turn a blind eye to Barca not being able to afford to register the players they have bought. And come on, if City and PSG have never had a meaningful sanction is there that much to worry about? Weren’t City thrown out of the Champions League for like 2 days before UEFA buckled?


All clubs made a massive loss during COVID.
Arsenal pay its players and do not leave new signings out in limbo because their employer’s financial irregularities preclude them from joining their teammates.
Obviously this “tab keeping” will also include all the teams from the major leagues.
FFP is not worth the paper its printed on considering it was engineered by the teams who wanted to break away to form a super league..

Boy Bastin

That’s not really an answer though. There are a reported 20 clubs on UEFA’s list of which we’re one so it isn’t directed specifically at Arsenal.


How to be a journalist at the times:
Step 1. Let Swiss Ramble do genuine technical analysis
Step 2. Stick a bad misrepresentation of one very small part of that analysis behind a paywall to try and get clicks.
Step 3. Profit??? Maybe. Hard to say. I aint paying.

Lazy journalism but that’s not exactly a surprise.


This piece may offer some clues on how the ownership plans to deal with FFP –

With the caveat that American leagues’ cap-and-trade systems, with their flaws, still make more sense than whatever nonsense FFP is.

Boy Bastin

I’m still surprised at the number of posts here that seem to think that our inclusion in UEFA’s list is some sort of FFP plot directed against Arsenal or that because some other clubs are much worse we should just ignore it. 1) We’re apparently one of 20 clubs on UEFA’s list. It’s not “personal” against Arsenal. The list is the list, it’s just being reported. 2) Of course there are worst cases – Barca is the obvious example, and some others. So? Do you say to a bank “I owe £x, but the guy next door owes £y” and… Read more »

Giuseppe Hovno

It’s sad but even on here, one of the more reasonable parts of the arsenal internet, (a few trolls notwithstanding), it’s impossible for most fans to see past tribalism (which is inherent in the game and great fun on the pitch but I’d love it if fan clubs could come together to wield their power for good)


Can we use a fake commercial account to show greater revenue than we actually have? Asking for a friend


What if Arsenal had an automobile sponsor? Or we separated our game day jerseys from practice jerseys? What if we didn’t just hit renew everytime the Emirates deal comes up for renewal? It would also be cool to have a dugout seat sponsor. If our commercial team took these steps, we would increase commercial revenue by 30-50m per year.

Once, twice, three times el neny

To be honest Stan Kroenke’s internet search history would be really interesting


Financial fair play is a joke and has nothing to do with fair play… If it was a way to make sure the richest don’t spend 10x more to by the best players, why not.

But it’s just a way to make sure the richest spend 10x more only if their revenues match it. But guess what ? If you pay hundreds of millions for Neymar, Messi and Mbappé, revenues will follow too…


We could sue Rampaging Raul to recoup some of our losses


The irony

Lord Bendnter

Hey UEFA….shove it!

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