Hoeness hits nerve over Premier debt
A BLIP or a seismic shift in the tectonics of European football? That was the question doing the rounds yesterday after English clubs' failure in the Champions League this season, with Uli Hoeness, the Bayern Munich president, declaring that the elite of the Premier League are paying the price for their financial excesses.
Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager, preferred to ascribe the absence of an English semi-finalist for the first time since 2003 to a "blip," but even if the expectation across Europe will be for Premier League clubs to strike back powerfully next season, Hoeness undoubtedly touched a raw nerve when he cited the economic factors that restricted the spending power of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United last summer.
"I think English teams will now find it more difficult to succeed in the Champions League because the financial crisis will lead to a situation where English football will not play the same role as before," Hoeness said after Bayern had beaten United on away goals after a 4-4 draw on aggregate.
"The pound is down 25pc and the taxes in England are going up, so that means the English clubs and their owners do not have the same money as before.
"If you ask me do the English clubs deserve this, then I say yes. With the new rules that are to come in over the next three years, the big loser will be English football. If you build all of your success on debt, I think it is not OK. In Germany, you simply do not get a licence to operate if you lose too much money in your own league. I am not talking specifically about Manchester United, but many English clubs have built themselves up on debt and that is not correct." (© The Times, London).