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Author Topic: EPL Clubs play 'big bank take little bank'... and Platini's not happy  (Read 1735 times)

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Offline Bakes

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European Soccer Challenges Free Market


November 27, 2008

By ROB HUGHES

LONDON — Michel Platini is about as close as anyone can get to bridging the divide between those who play sports and those who govern them. His vision on the soccer field lighted up France in the 1980s. Now, at 53, he is the president of UEFA, which represents Europe’s national soccer associations.

Platini has become a player in the political arena, too. This week, he is central to an attempt to bypass European Union law so that his organization can gain regulatory power to stop clubs from spending whatever they want on the players they want.

Platini is addressing Europe’s sports ministers in Biarritz, France, on Thursday. He believes that the free market has allowed wealthy clubs — particularly in England — to grow too mighty.

The arrival of foreign investors has injected so much capital into England’s Premier League that Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City can vacuum up many of the best players in the world and thus, some fear, stay beyond competitive reach.

The presence of three English teams in the final four of last season’s Champions League — the European tournament run by UEFA — seems to bolster this view.

European laws forbid the type of restrictions on labor mobility being championed by Platini. No country in the bloc of 27 inside the European Union can bar the free movement of workers from member states.

Platini has the support of Joseph S. Blatter, the president of FIFA, the world governing body. He and Blatter argue that soccer is a special case. Their word is “specificity,” and their view is that soccer should step outside European labor laws.

Blatter’s notion, more or less supported by Platini, has a nationalistic core. It would require that a minimum of 6 players in the starting lineup of 11 be born or raised in the country where the club is based.

Because players are now scouted from almost kindergarten age, the sports ministers are also being urged to endorse Platini’s plan to stop the recruitment of foreign players younger than 18.

Some newspapers have criticized Platini, claiming that he is trying to protect French clubs that are no match for the English.

But Platini will counter by having Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on his side in Biarritz. As a player, with Germany and Bayern Munich, Rummenigge was Platini’s contemporary and sometimes his adversary. He is now the chairman of Bayern’s executive board.

Rummenigge also heads the European Club Association, which last year replaced the G-14 as the organization that represents the interests of European clubs. He may not use the term “youth trafficking,” which has become common parlance in UEFA circles, but he does know a young player who is coveted by clubs wealthier than Bayern.

“We at Bayern Munich had the best player at the 2007 FIFA world under-17 championship,” he said. “He is Toni Kroos, and there were 20-odd scouts from England sitting there. Something must be done.”

Kroos was the star of that tournament, held in South Korea. He was the winner of the Golden Ball, given to the best player. Still, it is more likely that the English scouts had their eyes on the even younger Ghanaians, who, unless they receive big bids from English clubs, will end up being groomed by teams in France or Belgium.

There are markets within markets, and big fish swallowing the smaller everywhere.

Bayern Munich’s coaches, for example, did not develop Kroos. He came to them from Hansa Rostock, the eastern German club that had taken him from his hometown team, Greifswalder.

Greifswalder had Kroos under its wing from 1997, when he was 7 years old.

Why has Kroos moved to Bayern Munich? Because it is the richest and best-known club in Germany, one that not long ago invited a 14-year-old Peruvian to train at its youth center.

Nobody is breaking laws, just bending them to get the best players at the youngest age before even bigger clubs add them to their crowded rosters.

Soccer dominance by clubs from one country is not new. Before England, Italy had the soccer barons and attracted foreign icons like Platini to Juventus, the Fiat-owned team in Turin. And in the 1950s, Real Madrid’s president, Santiago Bernabéu, recruited Alfredo di Stefano, an Argentine, and Ferenc Puskas, a Hungarian, to star on his team.

Now it is England’s turn to be wealthy. Still, it is easy to see why in some quarters the Biarritz meeting is being presented as another France-versus-England contretemps.

France created FIFA. France envisioned the World Cup. In 1984, with Platini, it was the Eurpean champion. In 1998, with Zinédine Zidane, it won the World Cup.

Bernard Laporte, the former rugby coach who is now France’s sports minister, is busy trying to convince his European Union counterparts to support Platini’s vision. Pierre Mairesse, the European Commission’s director for youth, sport and citizenship, is chairman of the Biarritz summit.

And Frédéric Thiriez, president of the Ligue de Football Professional in France, has joined the debate, calling England’s Premier League a threat to sporting justice.

“To counter financial doping, we propose financial fair play,” he said, referring to the debts taken on by English clubs. “If we continue with soccer at two speeds, which sees three English clubs in the semifinals each season, the competition will lose interest.”

Whatever the sports ministers support, they will still have to sell it to the full Europe Union, which, with its predecessor, has spent decades building open borders to professional workers. Soccer may ultimately find that it simply is not important enough to jeopardize the Union.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/27/sports/soccer/27soccer.html?ref=sports
« Last Edit: November 27, 2008, 02:11:31 AM by Bake n Shark »

Offline acb

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Re: EPL Clubs play 'big bank take little bank'... and Platini's not happy
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2008, 02:48:00 AM »
there's nothing fundamentally different between this, and Blatter's attempt to restrict the number of players based on nationality.

It will be defeated. Prime Ministers and Presidents met here in the US just recently to discuss means by which to avert future global financial crisis, and one of the resounding things that came from it was free market movement and less restrictions on trade.

FIFA may not want government involvement in their business, but they also have no business in trying to circumvent the constitution of nations/ unions.
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Offline kev

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Re: EPL Clubs play 'big bank take little bank'... and Platini's not happy
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2008, 10:18:47 AM »
Its always been the case teh league that pays the highest wages gets the best players, with 3 clubs in the Champions League semi's it has got the attention.

I think they will fail with limiting free movement, but in business their are laws about uncompetitive practices etc.  I do think it would be better for football in general if limits were put on the bigger clubs hovering up all the talent.  The current rule for prem academy players is 1 hour traveling within the club, all the clubs do is move the families lock stock and barrel, mostly French, Spanish and African youngsters in the London Club Academies. 

A better way is to limit squad sizes as they do for the Champions League, only allowing players registered at the start of the season say 22 to play in all competitions, allowing transfers as they do now.  ( I am surprised no one has challenged the transfer windows yet as this is also against European Law, restraint of trade.)  They could also look at debt levels as a way to limit it or a salary cap.  This would rule out spending such as Chelsea (who would be bust if Ambramovich goes) and teh same with what is likely to happen at Man City. 

As it stands now it is marching slowly towards more uncompetitive leagues across Europe, Italy Spain, France and England there will become a point where the neutrel fans will just become bored with it all seeing the same teams play over and over again. 


 

Offline superoli

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Re: EPL Clubs play 'big bank take little bank'... and Platini's not happy
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2008, 10:26:00 AM »
not a chance of succeeding ! Platini is also forgetting his countries tax regime with top rate earners (as are most football players) paying up to 60% tax whereas in England the top rate is %40. Thats a big difference !
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Offline acb

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Re: EPL Clubs play 'big bank take little bank'... and Platini's not happy
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2008, 12:00:49 PM »
They could also look at debt levels as a way to limit it or a salary cap.  This would rule out spending such as Chelsea (who would be bust if Ambramovich goes) and teh same with what is likely to happen at Man City. 

Let's not forget Man U and Liverpool.

Let's face it, most successful clubs are not only successful on the field, but also thrive on incurring and managing debt - while being able to service it at a level many other clubs are not able to.

Kev, as a Sunderland fan, Im sure you will find it appeasing that Newcastle has failed in managing as such.

The big 4 in the EPL has successfully done it, while several other clubs have failed. Maybe the little ones need to learn a lesson or two from the bigger ones.
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Offline Blue

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Re: EPL Clubs play 'big bank take little bank'... and Platini's not happy
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2008, 01:19:16 AM »
not a chance of succeeding ! Platini is also forgetting his countries tax regime with top rate earners (as are most football players) paying up to 60% tax whereas in England the top rate is %40. Thats a big difference !

up to 45% soon! i will have to reconsider my plans to play professional football in england.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 01:25:35 AM by Ryan »

Offline PantherX

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Re: EPL Clubs play 'big bank take little bank'... and Platini's not happy
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2008, 06:50:01 PM »
I don't know if the problem can be fixed across mulitple leagues but within the EPL revenue sharing will go along way towards leveling the playing field.

It's works for the NFL and it used to work in English football until the rise of the Premier League.

Offline kev

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Re: EPL Clubs play 'big bank take little bank'... and Platini's not happy
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2008, 01:53:59 AM »
They could also look at debt levels as a way to limit it or a salary cap.  This would rule out spending such as Chelsea (who would be bust if Ambramovich goes) and teh same with what is likely to happen at Man City. 

Let's not forget Man U and Liverpool.

Let's face it, most successful clubs are not only successful on the field, but also thrive on incurring and managing debt - while being able to service it at a level many other clubs are not able to.

Kev, as a Sunderland fan, Im sure you will find it appeasing that Newcastle has failed in managing as such.

The big 4 in the EPL has successfully done it, while several other clubs have failed. Maybe the little ones need to learn a lesson or two from the bigger ones.

Not really bothered about Newcastle tbf, not one of those fans that hate them, spent the money and tried and fair play to them, we went from 1 extreme to the other and nearly bust until the present owners.  Creative accounting will catch up with most at the end of the day.

Big clubs, big crowds always will have an advantage, nothing you can do about that, however hoarding players, running uncommercially is bad for football in general.  I just think it would be better for the game overall if limits were put on and better for the longterm health of the clubs which is the main thing most sensible fans want.

 

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