Monday, 25 October 2010

Portsmouth- a warning for all of football

On Saturday it seemed that Portsmouth FC would go into liquidation, a threat which has been looming over the club for many months. Fortunately, the club have been able to negotiate a takeover which has secured their future, but it looked as if a club with over a century of history, who only five months ago were playing in the Premier League, would go out of business. It's been coming and this must surely be the wake-up call I believe football so desperately needs.

Leeds' sharp decline from Champions League semi-finalists and League One in just a few years should have acted as a warning to clubs about over-spending, but since then many clubs have gone into administration. Twice Cardiff City have had to fight a winding-up order, while on the very day England's 23-man World Cup squad was named Crystal Palace were only minutes away from going out of business. Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter talk the talk about getting tough on clubs with massive debt, such as Manchester United and Liverpool, but it seems to be just that, talk.

I have no doubt that under the current situation within the next two or three years a league club will go out of business. It happened to Blue Square Premier Chester City last season and has so nearly happened to three clubs currently playing in the Championship. During the Five Live commentary of Blackpool v Man City commentator Alan Green quipped: "Blackpool's sponsors represent one of the biggest problems in the game today, too much Wonga". While the comment was made in joke, it is a serious point.

To find a solution to this problem we may consider taking a leaf out of the book of the Bundesliga, yes I really did suggest we follow an example from Germany. Bundesliga rules state that all clubs must be 50.1% owned by shareholders. No clubs in Germany have major financial difficulties. A coincidence? I don't think so somehow

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