Times Are a Changing....
Tomorrow we see Portsmouth entering the courts, shady characters in tow, cheque-books probably not, where they will be told what will happen to the football club that they have driven to the ground. Whilst there, they will give proof and evidence of what they are intending to do with the rotting carcass that has become Portsmouth F.C.
Portsmouth are going to have to step up to their responsibilities, something which the Premier League is going to have to manouevre into doing sooner rather than later.
Why I say that is simple. Portsmouth, although many of their problems are of their own making, the Premier League has for too long buried it's head in the sand, hoping that the football clubs will carry its own weight, sort their own houses out and correct their own books, which in essence is true, but a great deal of that responsibility has to be placed at the door of the Premier League.
In the last few weeks, we have seen grumblings from various Premier League Chairmen including Wigan's Dave Whelan that a debt cap needs to be introduced. Under his proposals, borrowing would be limited to a quarter of their turnovers. A novel idea, something which can be explored.
I fear though that this will fuel an expansion in the wealth of the big four, with their incomes and eventual turnovers far exceeding one of the smaller clubs, say Wigan for an example.
Capping borrowing is something Liverpool and Manchester United should of listened to a while back. Both clubs have huge incomes, and can take out loans on the back of that. However, the age of aggressive expansion and global brand awareness drives that both clubs have pursued has turned them into businesses and not football clubs. With the purse strings in dire need of being tightened, and banks and creditors asking for some proof of returns, some resemblance of credit, these clubs are in desperate need of being reigned in.
Regulation is the only real viable option for the Premier League. An independent watchdog that rules on finances, advises on club ownership and cap debts incurred by the clubs or the league. Of course The Premier League, Football Association and Football League would be outraged at this proposal.
However, it really should be out of their hands. They have baulked at times of asking to look at ways of correcting footballs finances. They have refrained from regulating a market place that resembles a free for all.
And it beggars the question, If these football clubs insist on being treated like businesses, then why shouldn't they be open to scrutiny, regulation and restriction like any other business in the world.
I fear it will take the death of Portsmouth FC for anybody to see it.
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