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Wenger: Billionaire Ownership is Bad for the English Game

Foreign investors are swarming all over English Premier League clubs, leaving Arsene Wenger to fear that Arsenal would be left "dead" as a competitive force if the trend continues. Next month, investors backed by a Dubai-based billionaire are expected to complete a takeover of Liverpool, which would make Chelsea-like funds immediately available to the Reds. Unlike some Premier League managers, who may just feel they're simply helpless to do anything about it, Wenger believes foreign ownership at Arsenal would have "dire implications" for his team, because ultimately, pouring money into transfers and wages without any care for the club's balance sheet is a risky enterprise. In an attempt to boost the club's financial muscle, Arsenal moved to a 60,000-seat stadium this year, but Wenger conceded that it this simply isn't enough compared to the funds that would be made available to Liverpool. "At the moment the income [at Arsenal] basically is the gates, television and sponsorship. If the income [elsewhere] is gates, television, sponsorship plus private gifts, then we cannot compete," Wenger said. Once there are three or four clubs in the same spending league as Chelsea, Wenger says it won't be possible for smaller clubs to compete and the EPL could fall apart. Chelsea has absorbed unprecedented losses under Roman Abramovich's reign, even though the club intends to break even by 2009. Wenger points out that most clubs cannot be so lucky as to have an owner willing to pump nearly a billion dollars into them without any return.

Read the whole story at The Guardian »

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