Between the Lines

"Of all unimportant subjects, football is the most important" – Pope John Paul II

Hypocrite of the Week: Roman Abramovich

Posted by hakanrylander on August 28, 2009

I couldn’t have made this story up if I tried to. It’s too ridiculous. It seems that Uefa president Michel Platini wants to impose a rule that would force all Champions League entrants to balance their books by 2012. And that one of the main backers of this scheme is Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

I’m not too keen on the idea in the first place, but I suppose you could make an argument for limiting the spending or borrowing by clubs. But for Abramovich to push for this kind of rule is hypocrisy in the extreme.

The over-spending that he now wants to curb is exactly the kind that he himself has been practising ever since he took over Chelsea in 2003.  Since then Chelsea have amassed losses of about £700m. The most recent accounts show a loss of £67.5m. The intention at Chelsea is to break even within the next couple of years and then to start making profit. While trying to stop any other club from following their example.

And how about this: Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon welcomes the idea and is quoted as saying “I don’t think anyone could disagree with the broad principle”. Well, it certainly isn’t a “broad principle” that has been close to the hearts of Abramovich and Kenyon. Until now.

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