Everton’s recent point deduction has renewed debate over Financial Fair Play regulations, but Arsenal has always adhered to a strict spending plan.
With regard to their financial regulations, the Premier League has seen some historic cases over the past year. The division declared at the beginning of 2023 that Manchester City had been the subject of a five-year investigation, with the seven-time champions allegedly breaking 115 different charges.
The decision to create an independent panel to investigate these claims and the possibility of sanctions for breaches proved to be a historic moment. It will probably take some time before the outcome of this complicated case—which City denies—is clear.
Everton, who was also referred to an independent commission this year for suspected FFP rule violations, is the subject of another case in the interim. After that hearing in October, it was decided in mid-November that the Toffees would be given a 10-point sporting sanction.
Everton said in a club statement that they are “shocked” by the result and that those docked points are appealable. Leaked documents and historical accusations against Chelsea related to the Roman Abramovich era are also brewing issues.
Recent reports have claimed that payments were made to former employees through other means than the club accounts, which would circumvent FFP. It remains to be seen whether there will be any concern regarding those allegations within the club, though it could spark its own worries.
With so much talk surrounding FFP and sustainability within football, many Arsenal fans may be questioning how their club are looking to avoid such concerns. Fortunately for the future, it appears as though pre-emptive measures have been taken to assure that they aren’t over extending themselves.
The first point to mention is the slow increase of money coming into the team, with this year likely to be the biggest boost in a return to the Champions League. For example, an estimate from Swiss Ramble has stated that Man City were predicted to make over £105million from the competition for the 2022/23 season – which includes the side making it deep into the knockout rounds.
Arsenal, who were in the Europa League, were predicted to make just over £22million from their Europa League campaign, less than a quarter of their rivals’ windfall. Given that huge increase in revenue, the side can naturally start to pay more in wages and transfer fees to keep themselves competitive, especially if they can repeatedly stay in the top four.
There’s then the contract strategy, which has seen key stars regularly tied down to new deals that has kept them earning well but at a gradual pace. Not only does it help the side keep pace with those around the top, but it allows them to make smart decisions with keeping players as well as the fact that a longer deal can mean more security in terms of a potential sale in the future.
Then there’s the transfer moves themselves to try and keep the team competitive with player recruitment without pushing it too far. David Raya was signed from Brentford on a loan deal in the summer, but with an option to buy rather than an obligation to sign him next summer.
It may seem a bizarre decision, especially given the fact that it seemed the Gunners have every intention of keeping the Spaniard when the time comes. However, it was a blatant one used to circumvent FFP restrictions as an obligation to buy would count against their FFP expenditure for this season, while a loan with an option means that once they trigger that clause next summer, it will only count against that year – thus giving them more wiggle room following a big expenditure on the likes of Declan Rice and Kai Havertz this summer.
Additionally, there should be general restraint in the number of players on the team, as sales will probably need to be met before additional players can join during the January window. Although there’s merit to giving it your all for the ultimate goal, being able to manage the club sustainably will spare them from any worries.