Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/312/11670

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 August 2003

Kick big business out of football

THE BEGINNING of the football season has been dominated by the news of the takeover of Chelsea football club by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. Chelsea have subsequently spent 70 million on players when other premiership clubs are having to sell players to survive.
JOHN REID assesses the state of play and calls time on the domination of football by millionaires and charlatans.

Football has been transformed from the people's game into a billion pound leisure industry. The founders of the Football Association in the late nineteenth century attempted to safeguard football from being used as a means to make vast profits and to asset strip clubs.

Rule 34 limited a director's income, safeguarded club grounds and preserved clubs as sporting institutions.

This all changed when Spurs' chairman Irving Scholar flouted rule 34 by creating a PLC holding company in the 1980s, which could be floated on the stock exchange.

Rule 34 was scrapped and since then football has become dominated by an even shadier bunch of characters than the small businessmen who had previously run it.

Football clubs are now seen as profit centres rather than sports clubs.

Millionaire speculators

THESE DUBIOUS individuals have made millions of pounds from relatively small investments. Ken Bates bought Chelsea for 1 and has made around 18 million selling his shares to Roman Abramovich.

The entry of Roman Abramovich into football could become the most significant event since the formation of the Premier League.

His 150 million takeover has wiped out Chelsea's 90 million pound debts and he has embarked on a multi-million pound spending spree which, while being good for Chelsea, could escalate a spending race between the big clubs on the transfer market, pushing clubs further into debt.

Only Manchester United can match Chelsea's spending ability without going into the red. Arsenal may be forced to sell prize asset players or abandon a move to their new 300 million pound stadium.

Serious debt

THE MAJORITY of football clubs are now seriously in debt - many in, or on the verge of, going into receivership. The PFA (the players union) have been called in to oversee the financial problems of Sunderland, who are having difficulty paying their players' wages and are involved in similar activity at up to 40 clubs.

Amongst the 72 Football League clubs (the leagues below the Premier League) many clubs are in a terminal state. Players are being laid off by these clubs as are club staff.

The number of players in the Football League has fallen from 1,727 to 1,395 in two years.

Roman Abramovich

MANY PUNDITS have called for an investigation into the finances of Roman Abramovich and his suitability as an owner of a football club. He is plagued by accusations of links with criminals and the Russian Mafia.

He has been investigated over allegations that he failed to pay 300 million in tax. His giant firm Russian Aluminium has been involved in a lawsuit alleging money laundering, bribery and fraud.

He is worth between $6 and $8 billion, money made from asset stripping publicly owned enterprises in the ex-Soviet Union, which left thousands of people unemployed and in dire poverty.

He is described by Russian business analyst Mikhail Krutikhin as "the real financial genius of the bandit capitalist epoch."

Open the books

THE 15 or so European mega-corporate football clubs now dominate world football. If they have their way they will eventually play out a European super league designed for and played out on television.

Already FIFA (the world governing body of football) are talking of cutting the premier leagues of the top European divisions to 16 teams, and this would pave the way for a European

League. The rest of the 76 clubs in England and Wales would either go semi-professional or go to the wall.

There needs to be an urgent investigation into the finances of not just Abramovich but of all football club owners. The founders of the league at least tried to maintain a semblance of equity between clubs.

The new breed of football owner is only interested in the quest for profit. Martin Edwards, ex-supremo of Manchester United, said at the outset of the Premier League that the smaller clubs were bleeding football to death and needed to be put to sleep.

Let us open up the books of football to find out who really owns and controls our clubs. Clubs should be taken out of the hands of these shady businessmen and should be run in trust by supporters as non-profit making sporting institutions.

The boards of all clubs should be democratically elected by the method of one vote per club member and fans should be entitled to become club members for a nominal fee.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 23 August 2003:

Guilty!

Hutton Inquiry: A can of worms for Blair

Spin, or the art of lying

Occupying forces face hostility

Dr Strangebush builds Nukes

BNP cash in on disillusionment with Labour

Postal Workers say: Time for action

Brazil: "Lula has betrayed us"

General strike in Chile

Kick big business out of football

Discussing a new Left party in Wales


 

Home   |   The Socialist 23 August 2003   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Football:

triangleWomen's football - Sampson allegations

triangleThings are changing: 20,000 sing for Corbyn at Wirral rock festival!

triangleUS: women ice hockey players' strike threat wins living wage

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Football - Reclaim the Game

Big business:

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleThe Tories must be driven out

triangleReject Starmer's Single Market u-turn

triangleRight wing attempts to use single market against Corbyn

State:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleRussia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangleShocking insight into Isis

Russian:

triangleOctober 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

triangleWarrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

Debt:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

Manchester:

triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

John Reid:

triangleSouth London tower block residents plan safety campaign

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

PCS

PCS ballots members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2