Arsene Wenger believes ‘strength in football has become an issue of financial dominance’ and ‘distance from fans’ is the price to be paid for growth.
“I like and respect Italian football. Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello made Italian football more attacking, more European, and we can see the results in the way the Azzurri play now under Roberto Mancini,” Wenger told La Repubblica newspaper.
“More or less all the top leagues play the same way nowadays. Strength in football has become an issue more of financial dominance and in that sense, Serie A isn’t as rich as it was.
“The influence of television rights has grown in the Premier League, many foreign investors have bought the clubs, and the distance between fans and teams has become enormous. Football is popular, but distant, which is the price of growth.
“When I arrived, Arsenal shares were worth £800, when I left they were worth £17,000. There were 70 employees and in the end there were 700.”
Financial Fair Play was also introduced to help level the playing field, but Wenger is unconvinced.
“The clubs that dominate in Europe now do so thanks to the money they spent before the limitations were imposed. It becomes easy to guess who will win, whereas the beautiful thing about football ought to be that it’s unpredictable.
“It also becomes difficult for new investors to make profits. We should open up the doors, albeit with closer checks. Governments also ought to have other priorities rather than helping football clubs. They can give them postponements on tax payments or some tax breaks, but not payments. This is a privileged world, even if it’s not fashionable to admit it.”