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Is lavish “spending” ruining the Premier League?

Money is slowing tearing the fabrics of the beautiful game, destroying its competitiveness. Man City have spent an incredible £537,670,000 on transfer fees in last 5 seasons and just sold £100,555,000 worth of players since 2006.  In anyone’s mind that is a serious and impressive investment made by their multi-billionaire owners, it acts as a statement, to the world of football, a statement which has been played on the pitch by Man City in the last three seasons.

The ‘Holy Grail’, in many respects, was City’s dramatic Premier League title win in May which acted as a real statement to the world of football, that Man City are building a legacy in football, a legacy built on wealth. Is the lavish spending by Man City, ruining the ‘greatest league’ in the world? Some will say the catalyst for spending was put in place by Chelsea who spent millions, in many respects started the trend, which brought Chelsea into a mega rich club in 2003. Chelsea new owner in their first season, spent a staggering £153,450,000, which acted as the real catalyst, having only spent £500,000 in the previous season in 2001-02. The money has brought Chelsea plenty of success on the pitch they won all four major club trophies; Champions League this year, Premier League titles in 2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10, FA Cups in 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12 and Football League cups in 2004–05, 2006–07. However this success was the result of serious spending which to put into perspective, in Abramovich eight completed seasons in charge, Chelsea spent an incredible £642,584,000 on buying players — and then a mindboggling £1,170,591,000 on paying them. That makes an eye-watering total of £1,813,175,000. This brings to question is Man City’s and Chelsea’s over lavish spending ruining the Premier League?

According to Gary Cook, City’s CEO, the club’s spending is unsustainable. Putting City’s spending into perspective compared them to their bitter rivals United, City have spent £90m more in the last four years alone than Ferguson’s spending over his entire 25 years at Man United. This stark comparison is quite shocking and does bring into perspective the recent spending by City and more importantly how their spending is affecting the Premier League. Arsenal under Arsene Wenger have only spent £92.25m in transfers since October 2008 which is small percentage, compared to the £411.75m spent by City in same period. Arsenal have fallen behind, the Premier Leagues heavyweight spenders, in recent years and its shown, but if you look at it philosophically Man City and Chelsea have the wealth of billions, to back their legacy. Arsenal spent as little as £92.25m but in last 15 years or so and in that time under Wenger, built a legacy, winning the league unbeaten, a feat which still not been achieved, having secured two FA Cups and previous league title in 2001. Money didn’t dictate the game than as it does now. Which is why I question, is money ruining the beautiful game?

Man City aren’t the only team who have been spending lavishly in football, in Spain, Real Madrid have spent in the last three years a total net deficit of £230m which only falls short of £12m less than the total net deficit spent by Man City in same period. Madrid spending over three year period brought them very little success too with their rivals Barcelona winning most of the major honours. It’s obvious in keeping up with the times, football has revolutionised and modernised, playing to money and revenue in last 10 years or so. Its sad state of affairs to see, money ruling over the game.

Such financial largesse spending by Man City risks them falling foul of UEFA’s new Financial Fair play regulations, which require that clubs only spend what they earn.  Man City are over spending on their net income and are running risk of falling foul of the new UEFA Fair Play regulations.

I believe that the beautiful game needs an overhaul as the spending of millions by Man City in particular is ruining the game and making it an unfair playing field for teams like; Everton, Aston Villa, Fulham, Stoke etc to compete financially with the big boys with the rich foreign owners. To prevent the spending of millions on wages and new signings we need wage caps to be enforced and also a fair wage structure. Man City, who are over-inflating prices and making it impossible for the smaller clubs in the league to compete, isn’t football is supposed be a fair and level playing field?

Former Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, said to BBC Radio 5: ‘I think money has poisoned our national game.

‘Our game has rampant commercialism. We have put money before the sport and we are reaping the dividends of that.

‘Since the Premier League was created we’ve had commercial forces running riot across our game.

‘We have seen fans priced out of going to football, we have seen money going out of the top of the game and not benefiting the grass roots or the lower divisions and I think it’s got to change.’

In my opinion I suggest an overhaul of the game; we need make it a fair game again on all playing fields. How would this be achieved? One way would be to cap spending, so clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea can’t spend say £100m in the summer. Every club in league should be on the same playing field; limit spending for every club to £50m every transfer window, so likes of Stoke City or even to an extent Arsenal can compete financially and fairly with the financially rich clubs; Man City, Chelsea even QPR in the recent times. If radical change doesn’t happen sooner, than the Premier League, dubbed the “greatest league” in world football will lose its cutting competitive edge, we will just see; Man City and Chelsea competing for the league title, because other teams in the respected “top 4” won’t compete with their financial, lavish spending. What makes the Premier League, “greatest league” in the world, is its cutting edge, competitive style. Money will eventually ruin that.

Success in football should be earned and not brought by the richest owners who have money to burn.

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