What The Papers Say - October 9
The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
In the deeply ironic location of Stamford Bridge Uefa last night stepped up its assault on the debt culture of English football. David Taylor, the European governing body's chief executive, warned of a future in which clubs would be barred entry to the Champions League if their finances were not acceptable. "There would be forms of communication, even warnings or reprimands, before one got to a situation of exclusion but it is absolutely possible," Taylor said. "There is concern, particularly in an era of financial crisis."
His hosts Chelsea, their balance sheet propped up by Roman Abramovich's loans, are obviously in Uefa's firing line. Earlier this year Michel Platini, Uefa's president, said in reference to the debt burden incurred by Chelsea and their Champions League co-finalists, Manchester United: "It's the clubs who cheat that are winning. European football must be clean and transparent and we do not want clubs buying success on credit." The 2005 Champions League winners Liverpool, with their debt issues, are another probable target as are some clubs in Spain and, in particular, Italy.
Taylor's threat followed Tuesday's warning by FA chairman Lord Triesman, also speaking at the Leaders in Football Conference, that the Premier League's cumulative £3bn debt-mountain represented a "tangible danger".
There is clearly a desire among the game's regulators to rein in the Premier League clubs, who have begun to dominate the Champions League and are increasingly being taken over by foreign owners, some with independent wealth, some using the banks to finance their control. "Our conclusion in Uefa is we cannot leave things as they are," said Taylor. How it can be done, and whether it is either desirable or achievable, is another matter.
Owners: B Kenwright (37.2 per cent), R Earl (34.6 per cent)
The latest club to ask sell-off expert Keith Harris to find them a billionaire buyer.
English clubs were last night threatened with the harshest of sanctions if they do not cut down their massive debts – a ban from European football.
Just a day after FA chairman Lord Triesman warned that the global financial crisis could tear open a catastrophic £3billion black hole of debt that is lurking within the English game, European football’s governing body threatened their own decisive action.
The stark warning came from UEFA general secretary David Taylor, but it was clear yesterday he was only delivering a message from his own hard-line president Michel Platini, who has been outspoken in his criticism of the big, indebted clubs for some time now.
On Monday, UEFA will begin a working party at their Swiss headquarters aimed at finding a way of putting the squeeze on European football’s big guns, whom they regard as succeeding only on borrowed money.
Yesterday Taylor suggested that, theoretically, even Europe’s biggest clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United – last year’s Champions League finalists and both massively in debt – could be thrown out of Uefa competitions if their debts were not drastically cut or at least brought under control.
“We cannot let things stay as they are,” Taylor told the Leaders in Football conference in London.
Fabio Capello has been told Gary Neville can solve his problems at right back nearly two years after his last appearance for England.
Neville has returned for Manchester United after a prolonged spell out with an ankle injury and is eager to add to his 85 caps.
He missed the win over Blackburn on Saturday, and but for that brother Phil believes he would have been in Capello's squad.
"Without a doubt I expect Gary to be back in," he said. "If he'd been fit against Blackburn I'm sure he would've been in this squad because he's still the best right back in England."
Everton's keeper Tim Howard and Fulham winger Clint Dempsey are competing to be named America's player of 2008.
David Beckham's LA Galaxy team-mate Landon Donovan is the other candidate.
The days of an England squad containing the Neville brothers is just around the corner again - if Everton skipper Phil has anything to do with it.
He and Manchester United full-back Gary have been out in the cold under Fabio Capello.
Yet Phil, who has won 59 caps, has not given up hopes of a return.