Break even or else, says soccer boss

IVAN GAZIDIS, the chief executive of Arsenal, has told City A.M. he is firmly behind Europe-wide proposals to force all football clubs to break even.

Clubs would have to balance the books over a three-year rolling cycle, starting in 2012, under so-called financial fair play rules discussed by leading sides and European governing body Uefa last week.

The move is an attempt to address growing concern over the financial management of clubs, intensified last month when Portsmouth became the first English top-flight outfit to enter administration.

“The essential objective is to make the football business more sustainable and stable, and I think that’s a very desirable goal,” said Gazidis.

Clubs who fail to break even face European bans.

Despite their revenues being at an all-time high, many Premier League clubs are hugely indebted.

Doubts have been cast doubt on the ability, and eagerness, of some teams – notably those with rich benefactors, such as Chelsea and Manchester City – to meet Uefa’s requirements.

But Gazidis added: “I sit on the panel with Chelsea’s finance director. I think even those clubs are looking to become self-sustaining. There are a lot of details still to be worked out, but in terms of the general principle there is a very, very broad consensus.”