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Newcastle After Dutch Model As Well As Their Players

8 years ago
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While Richard Scudamore (Chief Executive of the Premier League) was bragging about Manchester City spending £1billion to buy, sorry…win, the Premier League, other countries have been doing something about the poison that has infected modern day football.

Some people talk about Financial Fair Play (FFP) as though it is some crazy pie in the sky idea whereas the bottom line is just about trying to get clubs to get close to living within their means.

Newcastle are currently one of the few major English clubs to be on course for ticking all the boxes to conform to FFP.

I believe this has come about purely by coincidence as Mike Ashley seemingly came to a decision not to spend a penny more on Newcastle than he had to when the team were relegated, which is perhaps understandable with the financial hit he had taken. This coinciding with FFP appearing on the horizon and an NUFC return to the income streams of the Premier League, combined with a very tasty £35m windfall for a homegrown player.

However it came about isn’t as important as where the club have ended up, a successful season a massive bonus and the fact it has been achieved without daft Michael Owen type signings is even better.

Whatever Ashley’s intentions, surely a business living within its means can be the only way forward because as we all know, there is really only one direction any extra money goes in if it flows into the Premier League.

Manchester City and Chelsea edge the top prizes but with players who are earning £10m each  in some cases: with the likes of Balotelli and Tevez behaving with contempt for both their club and football in general. At QPR Barton is handed a 12 match ban but on eighty grand a week with a four year contract, what kind of punishment would really hurt the modern day player.

The only way to reclaim the game back in some way from these players who see themselves as so untouchable now, is for the clubs/leagues to work together for the common good.

The end result would be that everybody would benefit, including the clubs themselves, instead of being held to ransom by individuals who have lost any grasp of everyday reality for fans.

In Holland in 2004, regulations were revised to include greater scrutiny of clubs’ finances and corporate structures to avoid bankruptcy, especially mid-season.

This system has been described by Max Van Den Berg, the Dutch politician and former MEP, as “intended to be transparent, sound and geared to clubs’ long-term solvency”.

Clubs have to submit financial information in November, March and June, including full-year results for the previous year, half-year results, financial projections, and budgets for the forthcoming year.

Other aspects of the Dutch licensing system include examining the legal structure of clubs to ensure no one individual can exercise an undue influence and that the administrative side of things is healthy.

If clubs are not up to scratch there are three potential sanctions; the most widely used being adherence to an economic action plan under KNVB direction.

However, there is also the possibility of being able to deduct points or impose fines, with the ultimate sanction being the withdrawal of a club’s licence.

This is what happened with Haarlem in January 2010, when they were declared bankrupt.

Despite being the oldest club in Holland, formed in 1889, they were excluded from professional football with immediate effect. A merged club now plays in amateur football.

If it, or any Dutch club, wants to move up the pyramid from amateur and semi-professional to the professional leagues, a solid business plan has to be approved by the authorities.

The KNVB licensing team ensures clubs must pay what is owed to employees, to other clubs, and into player pension funds.

It is also integrating the Uefa financial fair play demands into its issue of licences, to ensure that big clubs like Ajax can play in the Champions League without fear of Uefa sanctions.

The UEFA goal is that a club will not spend more than its own turnover, and not rely on third party financial injections.

Wouldn’t it be great if those running the game in England could embrace the idea of FFP and work together for the good of everybody, especially the supporters.

 

 

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