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Nov 23, 2011

Wenger fears City spending

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes UEFA may lack the power to implement new financial fair play regulations as clubs such as Manchester City post record-breaking figures.

Wenger expressed his fear after City announced a £194.9 million loss earlier this month, with wage costs soaring to £174 million. The likes of Manchester City and Paris St Germain, though, have risen to the top of their respective domestic leagues on the back of their vast wealth, and Wenger says such clubs will ultimately have too much influence for European football's governing body to resist.

"Will they [UEFA] have the legal power to force it through? I question it," he said. "In other countries, you have as well Paris St Germain, Malaga. Once they represent a force together, it will be difficult to fight against.

"When I see the numbers announced by Manchester City, do you really think [UEFA's financial fair play regulations] will work in 2013? I cannot see it when the wage bill is bigger than the turnover. Frankly, that cannot happen in one year."

Elsewhere, the Court of Arbitration for Sport are set to hear a dispute between UEFA and Swiss club FC Sion, who responded to their exclusion from the Europa League by mounting a civil action. Wenger believes such litigation and the collective power of the top clubs could eventually soften the stance of UEFA towards how they implement the new financial restrictions.

"Secondly, with what happened with Sion challenging UEFA, they have lost a lot of power. There is also the statement of [European Club Association chairman Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge against UEFA, representing the hundred clubs who are in there.

"We live in a world where any decision made is challenged. Europe has a little bit created that and we see how far Europe has gone. The authority of the legal affairs is challengeable everywhere."

Meanwhile, Wenger's Arsenal side will look to secure safe passage through to the knockout stages of the Champions League with victory over Borussia Dortmund at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night. The Gunners head into the tie having recorded a fifth straight Premier League win when they beat Norwich 2-1 at the weekend.

It is some turnaround in fortunes following a trying start to the season which saw the Gunners slump to 17th at one point. With Chelsea now struggling for consistency, Tottenham have found themselves London's leading challengers to the Manchester duo.

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, currently out injured, has vowed to donate £3,000 to charity should the Gunners finish behind their north-London rivals in May. Wenger, however, wants his squad to focus on themselves rather than any bragging rights.

"At the moment Spurs are fighting for the top four like we do. At the end we can both be in the top four, and we will try everything possible to be in front of them, but that is not enough for me. With or without Tottenham what we want is to be in the top four, that is our target.

"It is a long way to go. I don't believe we have to focus on Spurs, we have to focus on us improving. It is important that we don't get confused about what we want to achieve. What we want to do is improve and play better.

"We have come from far. You could see from the game at Chelsea has helped the team to improve. Our consistency has helped the team improve, and qualifying from the Champions League group will give us a lift again," said Wenger.

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