The small yet highly annoying International break is in full force. For us, we’ve got our 3 best players resting at home – Cesc, Van Persie and Djourou, so all eyes on two emerging players (well, although estabished, still relatively new internationally) – Walcott and Wilshere. They both line up for England (vs Denmark) and let’s hope the injury jinx avoids them!!
I had the luxury and privilege of attending yesterday’s AST meeting in Holborn along with some key members from the AST board and a member of the Premier League – as well as fellow WOA writer JAT (also known as @j1mm7t)…
The meeting itself circulated around several topics:
– The quality of refereeing
– The effects of the FFP
– The uptake and future of fanshare
Let’s run through each topic one by one!
The quality of refereeing
Recent bad performances by Lee Mason and Phil Dowd – both not in favour of the Arsenal have been noted and their performances have been analysed. The spokesman from the Premier League also mentioned that the influence of Premiership referees was brought up and discussed in parliament earlier in the day – not much further detail in that though.
One thing he did highlight is that the UK actually has the best set of officiating statistically – and to the point where the German FA are modelling their evolution of refereeing on the English one.
Apparently, we are the only league with professional referees (contracted annually full time) and our training, which includes pro-zone stats, game analysis and positional training is also the most sophisticated in the world.
Fair play in that respect – but the obvious point was then – what happens when referees get it wrong and how are they sanctioned. The examples of Lee Mason (ref for Everton) and his officials was brought – the Premier League spokesman clearly agreeing that the decision was wrong – but also pointed out that the referee wasn’t to blame but the linesman was at fault. Peer reviews and sanctions do take place – referees are promoted and demoted from the league based on their performance – and based on their consistency. If a referee is consistently bad, then action is taken.
Financial Fair Play Rules
Financial Fair Play Rules (FFP) are being brought into the game by UEFA and will be a requirement by the 2013/2014 season – the man from the Premier League made it clear that they will adhere to FFP where imposed, but will not impose it within the Premier League itself. There is no point to restrict money coming into the game as the Premier League believe it is good for their league – after all, it is a product which is sold – it is a business which wants to attract the best players – the Premier League don’t care if it’s fair or not but UEFA do. Why? Because UEFA are a governing body where the Premier League are not.
Questions were raised about Chelsea’s lavish spending in the window and in reality they can still pass the rules depending on what they do in the next few years.
One thing revealed is that Arsenal is one of twelve clubs who would conform to FFP if it was put in place next season – and the Premier League also hailed Arsenal as the best run club and the club to which financial stability and structure should be modelled on.
The AST revealed that Fanshare has the backing of Arsenal FC and the uptake has been very good – with the scheme buying an average of 4-5 shares a month. The premise is that fans can own the club and Arsenal are keen to support it.
A shareholder actually agreed a share sale in front of my eyes!
Personally, I think it’s a great initiative and kudos to those in charge – I could go on about it for ages, but I won’t – instead take a read yourself – www.arsenalfanshare.com.
And if you are based in the UK then you should sign up!!
All in all a great meeting to attend and some really interesting insight from the Premier League and from the AST board. I have a fair bit of literature to review and when I do, I’ll post some more of my thoughts!
Until later, party on!