The Arsenal-Beveren issue raised so spectacularly by BBC Newsnight is finally laid to rest as FIFA clears Arsenal of any breach of club ownership rules over their dealings with Belgian side Beveren.
If you remember, this is the sequence of events that took place:
1. BBC Newsnight said Belgian police found Arsenal made an irregular £1m payment to Beveren. Arsenal fans are enranged, blame everything on conspiracy theories and dubious parentage of the BBC Newsnight crew (this is partially true – Arsenal fans did suspect a conspiracy, and in anger some unsavoury claims were made about the BBC Newsnight crew – however the fact that producer is a Spurs fan (reportedly) remains a very interesting footnote in this whole episode).
2. Arsenal vehemently denied the charge. Rumours circulate that the whole thing was a ploy to get David Dein voted off the FA panel.
3. Fifa ask the FA to probe further into the Arsenal-Beveren case. Cue more anger from Arsenal fans.
4. The Belgian police drop the case, saying that they found no evidence to suggest any wrong doing.
5. The FA clear Arsenal of all charges.
And now Fifa have stated that they will not take the matter further, saying: “There is no evidence or indication of any infringement of the relevant regulations.”
To be fair to Arsenal, this whole deal seemed more of a plot to throw mud on them rather than any actual wrongdoing. Arsenal have always maintained the £1m payment to Beveren was by way of a loan “to assist in stabilising the finances of Beveren” and have denied having a controlling influence over the club.
This is how Fifa’s statement read:
“After carefully analysing the documents and statements provided by the Football Association in relation to an alleged breach of club ownership rules by Arsenal and Belgian club Beveren, Fifa confirmed there is no evidence or indication of any infringement of the relevant regulations.
“The FA had already reached the same conclusion, having been requested by Fifa to investigate the case.
“Under the Fifa statutes, it is the responsibility of the member associations to ensure that neither a natural nor a legal person exercises control over more than one club whenever the integrity of any match or competition could be jeopardised.
“In view of these findings, Fifa does not see any reason for further investigation or for any additional measures to be taken in this connection.”
The Gunners have an arrangement with the Belgium club to play friendly matches and there is an option for players to be loaned between the clubs. It’s a similar arrangement to what United, Chelsea and Liverpool have with other foreign clubs.
Previous coverage of the Arsenal-Beveren case on SoccerLens:
- FA Clears Arsenal…Finally
- Arsenal-Beveren Case Dropped
- Fifa ask FA to investigate Arsenal-Beveren ties
- Dodgy link between Arsenal and Beveren?