During the second half of his 22 years in charge at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger repeatedly called on football’s governing bodies to clamp down on the “financial doping” that he felt was ruining the modern game.
Football had been slow to react to the oligarch money that flooded into west London from Russia in the mid-noughties so when plans were put in place to launch Financial Fair Play regulations, he was optimistic they might help level the playing field again.
“When FFP comes into English football, everyone will appreciate the benefits,” he said in 2012.
“The history of the game in this country shows that smaller teams like Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and Derby won the title not so long ago. This could happen again if we did not have one or two teams working with a different budget.”
His comments were laced with urgency because news had already filtered through that Manchester City were using super-sized sponsorship deals (linked to their Emirate owners) to boost their coffers.
“The original plans suggested sponsorship deals have to be at the level of the market price, but if clubs use unrealistic deals as a way to get around Financial Fair Play, it will make a mockery of the rules,” warned the Frenchman.
“We need to make sure the rules are followed because they can be very good for the future of the game.”
Fast forward to 2020 and Wenger, two years after his departure from Arsenal and with little skin in the game, was clear that FFP had not balanced the game in the way he had hoped.
Nouveau riche clubs who had seemingly bent the rules had not been punished. And those same clubs, alongside the established elite – all happily entrenched at the top of the game – were calling for the rules to be stringently enforced to prevent others from following suit. It was the worst of both worlds in his eyes.
“I’m convinced that at the moment there is an evolution to be made in the way FFP rules are built at the moment. But, they are what they are, and you have to respect them. People that don’t respect them and are caught trying to get around the rules in more or less legal ways have to be punished. If it’s proven that this has been done on purpose you cannot let that go unpunished,” he said.
In an interview with L’Equipe, he added: “I am in favour of measures that reinforce checks around club management, over measures that restrict and limit. We should value quality management and encourage it. And I am in favour of opening things up to more investment, which FFP does not allow for.
“The clubs that dominate Europe today are those that were built and made investments during an era where FFP did not exist. FFP prevents emerging clubs who want to invest from doing so. That is not normal.
“These rules have fixed a hierarchy, the big historical clubs are bigger and bigger and, obviously, they are all fighting for FFP rules to be scrupulously applied to the others so that competitors can’t come through.
“Controlling club management rigorously yes, verifying where funds are coming from, yes, but we need to encourage people to invest in football. FFP must become more flexible and facilitate investment.”
His comments came not long after Manchester City had been banned from European competition for two seasons for seriously misleading European football’s governing body and breaking FFP rules.
Within a couple of months, that ruling was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on what many considered a technicality.
In light of Monday’s news that City have now been charged by the Premier League on similar grounds, Wenger’s comments have once again come to the fore.
It remains to be seen whether City will be found guilty or not and what punishment will be dished out and when. Having had a foot in both camps, current Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta didn’t fancy weighing in with an opinion.
“I’m not going to make any comment on that, I’m sorry,” was his only comment when pressed on the matter ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Brentford.
At the Etihad, Pep Guardiola, who has overseen a trophy-laden seven-year spell at City, went on the rampage, tearing into nine clubs, including Arsenal, who he accused of trying to take advantage of the continued inquest into his club’s behaviour.
“Nine teams: Burnley, Wolves, Leicester, Newcastle, Spurs, Arsenal, [Manchester] United, Liverpool, Chelsea [wanted] us out of the Champions League, because they want that position. To take that position that we won on the pitch,” he said.
He added: “What they have done to us be careful in the future because many clubs can be accused like we have been accused.
“That they are pushing to get rid of us out of the competition, that is obvious because they believe that we didn’t behave properly. We accept that but let us defend when we believe we did it properly.”
Guardiola’s decision to namecheck Arsenal certainly adds an extra frisson to the title race, especially with the Premier League’s two top sides set to meet on Wednesday. It’s a grudge match in more ways than one.
I am 100% sure city will manage to blame their shit on Arteta because he was there….and they will manage to get jesus and zinky involved
Either that or no consequences…
I understand what you mean.
Thank you heavenly
On what planet?
He is kind of implying, they will even blame it on the rain as their success is as fake as the Milli Vanilli.
I think it’s a planet called “sarcasm.” It’s kind of obscure and frequently goes about in disguise.
Comments of the month’s….Brilliant..
It doesn’t matter if you “win it on the pitch” when your position on that same pitch was achieved by lying and cheating. Pep knew what he was getting into when he joined city. The chickens are coming home to roost.
I genuinely 100% believe in the sentiment behind your post, but I fell quite sure that the worst that happens here is a fine and maybe a transfer window sanction. The whole game is corrupt. Start digging at the scab and they’ll realise the wound is infected with gangrene.
We will see what happens when it happens, but as someone who never really rated pep, this is great to watch the man cry like a spoiled child.
Never really rated Pep?! Come on bro, I love Arsenal as much as many of you on here but this is utter nonsense.
I suppose it is possible the EPL have spotted the gangrene and they are hoping that amputation of one limb will be enough to save the body.
I’m baffled how Chelsea still gets away with it though. Their matchday revenue isn’t that good. They only seem to get by the fact these last few years they managed to sell a few players off for profits, even then they’ve signed some really expensive flops as well (Lakaka, Werner, Havertz, Chillwell AND Cucurella, Kepa amongst a few). So that must mean there must be sponsorship deals which doesn’t make sense. Not to mention the 1.5M debt written off very conveniently when Roman sold the club. How come they’re not really investigated for this?
a few billions of Roman’s pounds have been already taken. All documents probably have been trashed.
Chelsea now is Todd’s. A new chapter. That’s why they dishes out unprecedent 8-year contracts.
I’ll repeat what I said in another forum; big fan of Guardiola, but I’m starting to think that his successes, to a degree, have been in no small part down to his amazing ability to activate humongous levels of cognitive dissonance.
That’s very well put.
But then I think it’s inherent to this business. Arsene didn’t cover himself in glory either with his recent comments about the World Cup.
Blogs is the only one to remain 100% pure <3
his biggest achievements from a managerial standpoint were in the spanish second tier when he actually had to develop and coach talent. since then he’s been reliant on unlimited money. effectively he’s mourinho with a better demeanor.
That’s taking it too far, you can criticise Pep for a few things but he’s never been or will be a Mourinho level c*nt, and his teams have always played actual football. And he didn’t have unlimited money at Barcelona, yes he did happen to inherit the best player in the world but you might remember Messi wasn’t scoring 40 goals a season before Pep came in, so he had a hand in that too
You forget a few other Worldy’s in that Barcelona team also.
And how the television revenue was allocated (not to mention the other financial crimes). La Liga is a 2 team competition.
Sure but they did pretty much obliterate the European competition too for 3 years aso (including us unfortunately sniff sniff) and they’ve always been a notch below Real financially, so they at least had to compete against richer teams and develop home grown talent. It’s a far cry from Mourinho’s Chelsea or present day Man City
Barca and Real were hoovering up all the best talent with their doped financial model long before city came along.
That they are now crying about it is delicious and the only funny thing to come out of the way football sold its soul.
The consequence of all this stuff is City winning the league 4 times in the last 5 years and the ballooning prices of players pricing clubs out of the market.
The actions of Chelsea, United and City recently have resulted in every half decent player being quoted as 100m+ now for example. Doesn’t seem very sensible or very sustainable.
Chelsea are the biggest c**ts in the last twenty years to distort the league City only came a long time afterwards.
Guardiola is a great manager but being an idiot. There is absolutely no need to tie himself this tightly to his paymasters. He could continue his career anywhere, which is excellent notwithstanding City’s ridiculousness. At worst he could leave it up to the suits to respond.
‘Football people’ like him need to remember what got them into the game in the first place – it cannot possibly be such an overpowering lust for victory that you’re willing to vocally defend anything, even things that no-one reasonably expects you to have controlled.
I am not a psychologist, but my impression is that Pep is convinced–has allowed himself to be convinced–that the club did not break the rules. He has tied himself so tightly to his paymasters, as you rightly put it, because he did in fact confront them in the past, they “explained” everything, including with “evidence,” and Pep chose to accept it. If he puts distance between himself and them now, then he was an idiot then, a gullible, self-serving idiot. And he does not appear to me to be a guy who wants to think that of himself.
It seems absurd to me that Manchester City of all places is where this generational genius of football has ended up for the longest tenure of his managerial career. Fair enough he got attracted by the Premier League and being able to play with City’s unlimited resources to create his dream team, but now it just seems like he’s stuck there mainly because he hasn’t won the Champions League and feels it’s some kind of failure in his resume or some kind of unpaid debt he has to the club. Which, maybe it is, dunno I feel like winning cups… Read more »
Maybe he should go back to Barca and take them back to the top of the European game.
I can see a sabbatical incoming.
He’s obviously a fantastic football coach, but he’s also a very good pr guy, especially for himself. This faux outrage is pretty indicative of how he manages public perception of his achievements. He also tested positive for doping in Italy and got off on a technicality, but has successfully managed that story out of the public consciousness. ‘Pep’ is a brand which is very well managed, image is everything, it isn’t enough to be successful, you have to be seen to be a genius even though you’ve inherited the best team in football history or are financed in such a… Read more »
He’s been bankrolled the whole time.
ifwhen City are found guilty, watch him drop them like a hot potato.
”So we go down just in case I never move from this seat tut tut tut tut tut”
What a load of old bollocks. 😂
Pep coaches a team owned by dictators who torture their own citizens who do nothing more than criticize the govt. Pep knows this but doesn’t care. He knows they weren’t found innocent by CAS. He would take a job for Putin if Putin would by Pep the best players.
He’s a prostitute except for the fact that prostitutes admit what they do.
He and Eddie Howe have made deals with the devil. Defend the club, ask no questions, and you will be showered with gold.
Great piece, one slight error. Unless a war has taken place Abu Dhabi is in the UAE so they are owned by Emirati’s not Saudis!
There are no saints and sinners.
Rubbish. In the summer of 2004 Wenger’s Invincibles were all set to rule the Premiership and Europe – and then Abramovich’s blood money turned Cashley’s stupid head and then proceeded to blow us and everyone else, with the possible exception of Utd, out of the water by buying up anyone who had ever kicked a ball (sound familiar?) And then cue Sheikh Mansour and it’s au revoir to Clichy, Adebayor and Nasri. And whilst we’re taking a gentle title-less stroll down memory lane, let’s not forget United for turning a decent Dutch striker into a Dutch skunk cunt. There’ve been… Read more »
Guardiola’s comments are a distraction from the real issues that his club have
been charged with.
Let’s see what the ‘Independent Commission’ comes up with – once it’s been appointed and done it’s job – then we’ll have a better idea of what may be in
store for City.
I really hope I am wrong, it is hard to stomach. Firstly, I think the oil state’s record on human rights and disregard for anything other than their wealth speaks for itself. Secondly, I am afraid their army of lawyers will squash any really consequence, so it will never get that far. I assume the PL have come under increasing pressure after the acquisition of Newcastle and the potential sale of MU to another state entity forced their hand even if it ends up being symbolic.
Not allow to comment, why?
I really hope you’re wrong, it is hard to stomach. Firstly, I think the oil state’s record on human rights and disregard for anything other than their wealth speaks for itself. Secondly, I am afraid their army of lawyers will squash any really consequence, so it will never get that far. I assume the PL have come under increasing pressure after the acquisition of Newcastle and the potential sale of MU to another state entity forced their hand even if it ends up being symbolic.
“What they have done to us be careful in the future because many clubs can be accused like we have been accused.” Many clubs? I don’t think so Pep. Two clubs have consistently and blatantly disregarded FFP since they’ve existed and it’s you lot and Chelsea. And both of you got to where you are by taking advantage of the fact FFP wasn’t there when the oligarchs and monarchs originally bought your clubs. Every time I read Wenger’s opinion on something I become so proud again that he was our manager for such a long time, what a combination of… Read more »
maybe ‘many clubs’ includes his former employers barca and bayern
“uncompromising decent values”
As much as I want this to be true of Wenger it doesn’t match with working for FIFA.
It’s the eternal dilemma, to try to change the system from the inside or simply not participate and hope it collapses on its own? I don’t think anyone has yet established which one’s more likely to lead to change. I guess Wenger thinks the former
We are where we are on FFP and there’s precious little that can be done (so far at least). Unfortunate, but there it is. As for City, it’s likely to take a long time before any verdict on the charges against them is reached. We need to see what actually happens before getting too optimistic any about major change. Pep’s remarks are probably part of a strategy to push back against the tsunami of negative City stories in the media. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of the same in the coming weeks. Whether it adds much to the… Read more »
Arsenal want City’s CL place? Has Guardiola looked at this season’s league table?
He was referring to when Man City got banned from the Champions League back in 2020.
I’m not defending Pep, I was just clarifying the statement.
He’s just being a cunt – and my respect for him is gurgling down the plug hole with every whinge.
I would have expected all of that “Poor Us/ Poor Me” bollocks from Fergie, Jose, Eddie Howe, Graham Potter – maybe even Klopp, but definitely not Pep.
Amazing what the threat of being made to look like a complete mug in front of the entire world does for the calmest demeanour…..
While I don’t agree with Pep, I understand that he is defending his team just like we will like our manager to defend us if anything happens. Agree with Conte or not, team owners and directors should be facing the media from time to time. Stop throwing managers under the bus. Financial doping in the game has been going on for years and you know it will come to a head one day. I’m not sure this is it but as Wenger has warned us, football apocalypse is coming. Be ready everyone. We need to ask ourselves, what were they… Read more »
Until the British press stops being sycophantic for wealth and royalty nothing fundamental will change. They care more for access than they do about being adversarial.
Two countries in the world give seats in the house of Parliament to religious figures. 1 is Iran, I’ll let you guess the other…
I doubt that Pep’s comments will really add much “frisson” to the title race as the article suggests. I wouldn’t think players take much notice of that kind of thing and Arteta has lots of other matters to concern himself with.
Arsenal need to concentrate on their performance on the pitch. A sub-standard “Goodison Park” effort against Brentford will do far more damage than the comments of another manager.
He was biting like the proverbial piranha. Rattled like an Eastern Diamondback.
Which is great news for us; the more he loses his shit, the better.
Arteta played a very straight bat to all the shit stirrers in the media; smartly done.
Fuck City. Bollocks to them. They’ve made their gilded four poster – they can now lie (no pun intended) in it.
Everyone outside the Emirates (and a few brainless individuals inside it) laughed at Wenger (or whinged about it) when he made those comments.
Rhetoric along the lines of “the old fool doesn’t know what he’s talking about” abounded in the media.
Now who’s laughing…..?
I am for a start. 😂
Well done, Arsene. Ahead of the rest, yet again. 👏 😂
I watched his presser and thought he was fairly salty. He could have come out and be dignified about it until the outcome of the charges were concluded but no he went the other way . He looked like he was trying to galvanize his own clubs mentality for the second half of the season .
He’s making himself and the presser the story so he can spin it to the players as a seige, and deflect criticism of the club and charges
The Lady doth protest too much
Man City are as guilty as hell – of course he is going to come out fighting. With regards to the UEFA charge they were guilty of that – why else would UEFA have fined them 10 million Euro’s. If it wasn’t for the fact that UEFA are a brainless bunch of moron’s who didn’t understand the statutory limitations of their own rules Man City would also have been banned for two years. No such time bars for the Premier League case against them and no Court of Arbitration either. The Premier League would never have risked their reputation and… Read more »
They will get off with a slapped wrist chalk it down
I don’t believe they will.
With one or two transgressions then yes I would agree,
113 suggests blatant disregard to the rules in place.
Whatever happens its not going to be for a while..
Not this time mate.
More than a 100 breaches? If they’re guilty of half of that – a quarter of it – they’re in some seriously hot water.
City should be regulated and Pep should have to stay down there, too. See how good of a coach he really is.
Hardly a challenge, I could ‘manage’ that City team out of the Championship!
Relegated lol 😂
Pep sounds like Trump: if they come after me, they can come after anyone! Nah bud, they’re after you because you broke the rules!
Think you need to differentiate between Pep and his club. Pep just said I’d like this player or that player and the club acted so not on him really.
i mean this statement specifically: “What they have done to us be careful in the future because many clubs can be accused like we have been accused”
Thats very Trumpian… everyone’s out to get me!
The classic narcissist.
It’s not really, it just alludes to the fact that modern football is an absolute cesspool. It remains faintly ridiculous that City are being censured and Chelsea aren’t when any reasonable person can look at the situation and conclude “ah, yes, chelsea sought an unfair advantage from the mostly unregulated football transfer market and bought success, or, to be a bit more thoughtful/less histrionic about it, spent money in a way that greatly mitigated the risk of failure”. Heck, arguably it was Blackburn that kickstarted this. Even Leivester’s title was “bought” to a large extent, just bought in a way… Read more »
You never know mate, the Premier League may be compiling another dossier on Chelsea as we speak…..
I’d argue the football business has always been a cesspool it’s just the numbers are an awful lot bigger now than previously
Let’s see if Pep gets under the table payments as has been rumored. Pep knows what’s going on at his club, he’s not a moron. If his employer says come out swinging, he’s coming out swinging. The ego and entitlement that comes with being an extremely wealthy despotic Sheik who tortures and kills LGBTQ cannot strategically cut a deal because the only reason they own a club is to enhance their shitty reputation. They have to defend because they are playing a different game, trying to polish a turd, but they are so corrupt they cannot see that this is… Read more »
Chel$ki & Newcamel shredding documents as we speak..
Wonder if Newcastle owners saw this coming. They’ve moved slowly for all their wealth.
“We’ve learned from the Emiratis. We will financially dope, but will be way more chill about it. Let’s kick things off with Dan Byrne as our left back. No one will see that coming!”
Whatever , let’s stomp those cheaters on Wednesday.
Pep earns £20m a year, who does anyone expect him to side with?
An immensely innocent Pep Fraudiola a check – book manager at the accused club City and he is saying all that what was expected of him as he is enjoying everything at Eitihad , the name , fame and a countersigned blank cheque – book in his pocket ! First of all one should take notice of the period 2009 – 18 for which the financial irregularities are said to be done by the innocent and honest club ManCity ! Now everybody knows Pep had joined City in 2016 ! Therefore the last two years of financial irregularities had been… Read more »
I would fucking laugh my head off if City got deducted a load of points. Pep would spontaneously combust 🤣
Anyone else annoyed at the ironic state of affairs that united will prob be owned by a nation state aswell soon. I wonder how neville spins it.
The thing is, they won’t be able to just spend with abandon now – this has been a watershed moment. Other clubs will quite rightly make sure that Utd are held every bit as accountable as the rest. Chelsea have spread out their payments, but they must be secretly shitting themselves – you can’t tell me that they’ve conducted their business entirely in an honourable fashion. Our self sustaining model, on the other hand, will stand us in good stead. We’ve borrowed a lot of money from Stan, but the Emirates Stadium will show that we pay our debts off… Read more »
Pep does have a great footballing brain though. If he wanted to join Arsenal as one of Mikel’s assistants, I’m sure we could find a space for him.
A week ago I might have said yes, but now? Bollocks to that. He can fuck right off.
We’re ‘one of nine clubs who want City relegated’….?
I’ve news for him – the whole of football want them punished.
Mikel is doing fine as he is, thank you very much.
If Arsene wanted to come back in some capacity, however, then that would be another matter entirely, but I honestly don’t see that happening.
Peps obviously a good manager but is he that good? He’s managed at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now Saudi City…. all clubs with big budgets. So a lot of his success has been built on the ‘Loadsamoney’ concept.