BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Audio/Video: Programmes: Breakfast with Frost
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Programmes 

banner
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW
DAVID DEIN VICE CHAIRMAN OF ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB SEPTEMBER 10TH, 2000

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST
First to football, last night the Prime Minister intervened in the row over changing the rules in the transfer market, he said that scrapping the current system where clubs hold players under contract and can sell the contract to another club could undermine the whole way the game is organised. Fifa, the International Football Federation says that we're bound to abandon the current system and move to a free for all, there are also concerns where the number of foreign players, of course, now being drafted in to play for British clubs and I'll be speaking to the vice-Chairman of one of Britain's most successful clubs, Arsenal's David Dein after this.

[FILM CLIP]

DAVID FROST
Well we didn't need to show that goal but I thought everyone would like to see it again because it's such a great goal. They always measure, David, welcome.

DAVID DEIN
Good morning.

DAVID FROST
They always measure on the cricket, you know 87.4 mph, Darren Gough, or whatever it is, what speed is a shot like that, I've no idea.

DAVID DEIN
I don't know either but I could watch that all day long, I know that. I'm not sure Chelsea¿I'm not sure Chelsea fans could.

DAVID FROST
Time it, yes, Chelsea fans, we apologise for showing that goal again, to Chelsea fans, it was insensitive perhaps. Well it's great to have you wish us, let's start right there with what we were introducing there, how serious do you think, to the big clubs and to the small clubs, is the Fifa climbdown, the Fifa initiative?

DAVID DEIN
It's very serious and unless something happens immediately there could be serious problems for the clubs in the lower leagues, that's for sure, because they will be the worst affected.

DAVID FROST
They will be the worst affected because they balance their books by selling to the big clubs?

DAVID DEIN
It was £150 million worth of transfers last season alone between the clubs in England.

DAVID FROST
Between the clubs just in England, without¿

DAVID DEIN
Half of that in the lower divisions.

DAVID FROST
And, and so what do you do in terms of the big clubs, how will it be an inconvenience to Arsenal or Liverpool?

DAVID DEIN
Well if players can move at, at liberty it will be a disaster because that's what could happen.

DAVID FROST
Well they could move at a week's notice, no not at a week's notice?

DAVID DEIN
Well they're talking about a year's notice.

DAVID FROST
So what does that do in this area of uncertainty, I mean you've just paid £12 or £13 million for one player, I mean will people make those sort of investments until the situation's clarified?

DAVID DEIN
We hope, we wonder but we're very worried about it.

DAVID FROST
So what, what can be done, I mean Tony Blair seems willing to help, he's come out with very positive statements again overnight, what could you do, I mean what constitutionally can you do to stop Fifa?

DAVID DEIN
We're going to mobilise ourselves, everybody concerned, the FA, the League, we're all going to get together now and do something positive.

DAVID FROST
And you've got to persuade, like persuading the members to give a country the World Cup or whatever, you, you can't do anything unless you can persuade a majority in the Fifa luminaries?

DAVID DEIN
Well we have to get UEFA on side which they are and thank goodness the Prime Minister is on side, he's a football fan, so that's very important to us and his counterpart in Germany has come out today and most of all the football fans themselves, they're going to have to mobilise their own European MPs.

DAVID FROST
But I mean in this particular situation, do you, do you think there's a case at the other end of the scale though David, for a cap on fees, because here we are defending this system but before we started defending it everybody said prices had gone crazy?

DAVID DEIN
Well I don't think that would work, I really don't, because it's a free economy. I do think when it comes to the transfer we cannot have players moving at will every year, it would be a nonsense in the industry, the industry needs stability. The Premier League agreed unanimously last week that we were going to all join forces, hold hands together, we will have the PFAs, we will have the leagues concerned, the FAs in all of the 14 European countries and hopefully make representation very shortly through the European Union to try to stave off what can only damage the industry. Nobody has told us what is wrong with the present transfer system and there is nothing wrong with the present transfer system because the money does flow the alternative will be that the money will be that the money will go out of the system, will go ultimately to a few of the players pockets, not many, just the top echelon and a lot of them will be struggling, and indeed the lower division clubs will be struggling. I know a club very close to where I live, Barnet, right they have to rely on transfers every year, now if they cannot sell their players to, to the higher leagues they will go out of business and that is for sure, that is very damaging. And football needs stability.

DAVID FROST
So you could see out of 92 clubs, you could see 20 or 30 going to the wall?

DAVID DEIN
Absolutely, perhaps more than that. So we need to be, I wonder what's wrong with the system, nobody's told us what is wrong with the system and we think that football should be treated differently it is a sport, and as I say we have to and we will do, be now mobilising all our forces to ensure that over the next few weeks there is proper representation to the European Union to stave off what could be a disaster.

DAVID FROST
Well, that's right because we were talking about Fifa earlier on, but actually you've got to go one step higher, haven't you, you've got to in the end persuade the European Union to bring in a clause excluding football, or sport from these, from these clauses?

DAVID DEIN
We could not believe what Fifa said, the President¿, when he came out the other, other week to say that he felt that there should be a transfer, should only be for, may be for one year and players could leave at random after one year, that would be a disaster. With the job satisfaction for the managers of the clubs, with the stability for the fans, the fans that go out and buy shirts, that buy a David Beckham shirt if they're a Manchester United fan or maybe a Tony Adams or a Dennis Bergkamp Shirt if they're Arsenal fans. Well it can't be right and it takes years to build a team together.

DAVID FROST
Do you think there should be again, this would have to be legal, do you think looking at the number of foreign players there are sparkling away in the Premiership and see Sacha Distel a great French singer said, said somewhere yesterday that when asked what football team he supports he always says Arsenal because you've got at least half the French team there, playing there. But do you think there's a case for limiting the number of foreign players if it can be done legally in order to encourage the growth of British talent?

DAVID DEIN
Of course you can't limit on the EU, there is already a system whereby you need work permits for non-EU players so I think it is already limited but I think there is an argument, obviously, when you've got the Arsenal-Chelsea game the other day and you saw that out of the 22 players only six were actually English players on the field at the time of starting. Having said that the four goals were scored all by foreign players. But they have brought a lot of influence into the game and positive influence at that. You ask the chairman of Southampton about¿and he's a great star there. At Chelsea you've got Zola and team, every time have got some foreign stars and they have brought a positive influence to our sport.

DAVID FROST
Was there anything in that story that was in all papers, the Evening Standard on Friday and the Express yesterday and so on, that Immanuel Petit was saying no one had told him he was going to Barcelona, he didn't want to go, he would rather have stayed and this has punctured his friendship with you.

DAVID DEIN
That is not true, in fact he had obviously been saying for a little while that he was a little bit unsettled and for various reasons which we appreciated when the time came up he was approached and it was his decision. We didn't force him out of the club but that's a decision he wanted to take, he could have refused.

DAVID FROST
And you, you'll miss him but you've got a strong team anyway.

DAVID DEIN
Well we'd like to think so but as I said the burning issue of the day is the transfer issue and I can assure you that the football, the FA, the Premier League and indeed all the leagues and the PFA are working very hard and we believe that we are going to do what ever is possible to try to maintain the status quo.

DAVID FROST
And you've got two governments on side at the moment, the British and the German?

DAVID DEIN
We're very grateful for the Prime Minister, I have to say, who is a football fan.

DAVID FROST
Yes. Unfortunately he supports Newcastle but other than that he's fine, fine.

DAVID DEIN
There's no accounting for taste.

DAVID FROST
Exactly, thank you very much indeed David. David Dein gazing into the crystal ball of soccer there.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE











E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Breakfast with Frost stories