How Much Difference will FIFA's Financial Fair Play Make?
Will the biggest game be ruled by the biggest checkbooks?
We all know that the biggest checkbook dominates the success of any sports franchise, there is no exception when it comes to Soccer, or Futbol as it's known around the world. Teams such as Manchester City, Paris Saint - Germain, and Chelsea who are all owned by multi billionaire individuals who's ability to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase high profile players as easily as you or I purchase a slice of pizza. No team however is more notorious for their outlandish spending sprees than Real Madrid Football Club. The La Liga giants have shelled out an outrageous €965.3 million since the 2003/2004 season, €300 million more than their league rivals Barcelona FC.
While Madrid look to have spent the largest amount of money this last decade numerous other teams in Serie A, (Italy) Bundesliga (Germany) and English Premier League (England) have had their fair share of extravagant spending sprees.
These multi billion dollar teams have come under scrutiny on multiple occasions for their unfair spending advantages, that have ultimately allowed them to sign the best players in the world year in and year out, which in turn permits them to basically secure top spots in their respective leagues.
In 2009 UEFA initiated the Financial Fair Play Regulations to prevent these ultra wealthy football clubs from spending more money than they earned in their pursuit of success. The FFPR's second purpose is to cut teams spending in order to prevent financial problems that could threaten their long term survival.
While UEFA continues to hand out heavy fines to teams who don't follow the rules, some teams have found loopholes in the system. The same year the FFPR first started Real Madrid was back to their spending again having spent €257.4 million, while only making €169.9 million for that year. Clubs Such as Paris Saint - Germain, Manchester City, and Chelsea spending €212.6m, €234.3m, and €283.6m respectively.
While UEFA continues to be scrutinized by critics for not upholding and punishing teams who breach the rules and regulations, one story that has been circulating in the soccer world involves Chelsea supposedly making a world record bid for arguably the best player in the world. According to Chelsea assistant manager Steve Holland "When you see the numbers that have been mentioned around the Messi deal I would think it looks impossible under Financial Fair Play." Those numbers include a buy-out clause of $302 million, however the players wage demands increase the total number to an astounding $756 million.
This is obviously the most extreme situation, but it gives you the sense that while Chelsea are one of the few teams to have the resources to shell out that kind of cash, UEFA would never allow it. with the winter transfer window in full swing the question on everyone minds is how much of a difference can these new rules and regulation make on the worlds game, and whether or not it can indeed level the playing field?