Financial Fair Play? Really?


Financial Fair Play? Really?

Uefa have announced the final punishments being applied to the teams that broke the FIFA financial fair play rules. If the powers that be decide that you have deliberately broken the fair play rules that means they have designated you as a cheat. In this instance that includes Paris St. Germain and Manchester City. It amounts to an official declaration that both the French and English champions cheated their way to the 2013-14 season title.

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They did so by abusing their almost limitless funds. So what is the main immediate sanction that UEFA apply to them? – A fine that they will both be able to dip into those limitless funds to pay without blinking an eye.

There is much bleating in the blue half of Manchester about the relative size of their fines and how much City have put into the community and spent on the club infrastructure. Manchester City won the title playing some attractive attacking football. At the final whistle of the last game of the season captain Vincent Kompany said that we should forget about all the money and focus on that.

How can we though?

If it was not for the overspend, all those players would not have been together at Man City and he would not have the same team mates. The team as we know it would not exist and they would not have won the Premiership. The only way they could do it this time was because their owners cheated. All last season I called them Moneybags Manchester City so that we did not forget how they were managing to do it. Much as I have admired Pellegrini’s methods and the way they have gelled into a real team, I might feel obliged to call them Manchester Cheaty from now on, lest we forget what Uefa found them guilty of. There should be an asterisk against their achievement in all the record books “* tournament won by abusing FIFA financial fair play rules. Club fined £50 million”.

Arsenal are probably the team that suffered most from Manchester City’s flouting of the rules. They could argue it cost them the title. They only lost the lead when their best players were out. City had a stronger squad in depth which enabled them to cope when top players were injured. Arsenal did not have the same quality to cover for Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott. Arsenal have the right to challenge the leniency of City’s punishment but said in advance they respect the ruling bodies and would not do so. Lucky City. Even Spurs might not have received two thrashings and that could have left us with enough points to qualify for the Champions League.

Tragically, Jean-Luc Dehaene, a former Prime Minister of Belgium and the head of the investigatory chamber of Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body fell down the stairs and died shortly after he had signed off the punishments.

City’s Punishments in Full:

  • £49 million to be withheld from prize money over the next 3 seasons. This will be reduced to £16.3 million if the club complies with imposed spending and break-even limits.
  • Champions League squad to be cut to 21 for next season. This summer’s spending to be limited to £49 million this summer.
  • A salary freeze has been imposed on the Champions League squad for the next two seasons.

Manchester City and England

Manchester City bought up much of the cream of English youth in recent years and then failed to give them regular first team football. It nevertheless ensured that they couldn’t play for anyone else, thus weakening their rivals. Now that most of them have failed to fulfil their potential or hold down a regular first team place, City are rumoured to be prepared to let them go in the immediate aftermath of the fair play decision. Jack Rodwell, Jolyeon Lescott, Micah Richards, James Milner… I hope the money was worth it lads and I do hope it’s not too late for you to find the success your talent deserved before it is too late. I wonder whether more of you might be flying out to Brazil with Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Raheem Sterling if you had spent the past season or two starring with a smaller team.