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Oct 6, 2011

Gazidis: Arsenal can cope without UCL

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis insists that the club could cope without the revenue from playing Champions League football and says that anyone who relies on that cash every year is "foolish".

• Van Persie non-committal'

Arsenal earned £26 million from European football in 2010-11 when they reached the last-16, but their poor start to the Premier League campaign has led many to suggest that they will struggle to get back into the competition next season.

The Gunners have lost four of their opening seven matches to lie 15th in the table, but Gazidis maintains that they do not need to qualify for Europe to stay afloat financially.

"We would rather qualify for it but we have a really sustainable model that can cope without it. Not just cope, but we can do well and compete," Gazidis said at the Leaders in Football conference at Stamford Bridge. "It would be very foolish to build a business model that relied on being in the Champions League for perpetuity and I don't think any clubs do that and, if they do, then they probably aren't being run as responsibly as they should be."

The club are viewed as a financial model which others should follow and announced a £15 million pre-tax profit this week. Indeed, Gazidis is pleased that the future looks bright.

"Every club has the temptation to think that money is the answer to issues and 'if we only spend just a little bit more, it would push us over the top of a curve' and that is what drives the cycle of spending that you see in the game and that is not by any means always what is successful, actually," he said.

"It is tempting to think that it is. It relieves pressure for a while but actually builds long-term pressure in other ways. We will continue to act with discipline to make sure we have got a good short-term and long-term future."

With Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Cesc Fabregas leaving this summer, many have suggested that Arsenal lack the financial might to compete in wages with other clubs. However, Gazidis claimed that there was no limit to what they could offer.

He said: "We don't have a salary ceiling. I don't know where that story comes from. We have a very sophisticated business model that looks at what we need to do to compete today and what we need to do to compete next year and five years from now. I'm comfortable we will be able to be competitive in whatever environment is created.

"We are not looking for credit for being a self-sustaining club. I do think it is the right model for us. It gives us stability and the ability to look forward with confidence without worrying too much about the ups and downs, the competitive cycle or the economic cycle."

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