Man City decision proves that UEFA is just a toothless lion.
What's the point of FFP?
UEFA repeatedly promised severe punishments to teams who flouted the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, including expulsion so it was surprising to find that Manchester City were let off so lightly last month considering they missed the deadline by almost £90 million.
A €60m fine; a €60m net transfer spend and their squad limited to 21 players for this year’s tournament and the first two punishments were hardly an inconvenience considering the overspend of the last two seasons has allowed City to assemble the deepest quality squad in world football.
The €60m fine, was pocket money to an owner with bottomless pockets, but the subsequent announcement that €40 of the 60m was to be suspended, made the decision even more laughable.
The only real inconvenience to City was the rule which requires eight of the squad to be home-grown. City are reported to be chasing Bacary Sagna, Eliaquim Mangala and his Porto team mate Fernandho, presumably these players will not consider signing unless they are guaranteed a place in the Champions League squad, which would leave only 10 spots open to non home-grown players. Quality players such as Negredo, Garcia, Nastasic, Demichelis and Pantilimon would face the possibility of missing a place in the 21 man Champions league squad, spreading dissent amongst the players, probably resulting in them asking for a transfer to a club in the Champions League.
Today’s decision that Manchester City will only have to name five home grown players instead of eight defies belief. Now the chances are that only one or two of those high class players will be sold, a situation that actually works in City's favour considering the£49 million net spend restriction.
Joleon Lescott has already departed and Micah Richards, Jack Rodwell, Gareth Barry and James Milner apparently all want out, which would leave only three home-grown players. Prior to today’s decision City would have needed to include players such as John Guidetti, Marcos Lopes and Karim Rekik, who have one league appearance between them.
City flouted the Fair Play rules to the tune of just under £90 million pounds, giving them a huge advantage , not only over their Premiership rivals in qualifying for the Champions league over the past two seasons, but also a huge advantage over Chelsea and Arsenal in the race for the title this year. City illegally strengthened their squad over the past two seasons, while Chelsea and Arsenal abided by the rules. Ask yourself the following questions: Would they have been able to cope with injuries to Agüero, Kompany and Silva if they had abided by the rules? if they not been allowed to sign Fernandinho and Negredo would they have won the title this year?
Flouting the rules was an exercise in risk management; City gambled on getting off lightly when the financial fair play sanctions were announced and it has paid off handsomely. Whether it is fair play or not is another matter entirely.
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