Is FFP starting to bite?

Shake it up Platini
The (not so) new Financial Fair Play rules will be familiar to most of you by now, and to be honest they are a set of rules that have caused controversy amongst football fans.

Essentially they are UEFA’s flagship attempt at trying to address the financial issues in football by trying to ensure that a club runs itself with the money it generates.

This is of course common sense and is something that Newcastle United are trying to do as Alan Pardew has mentioned recently. In fact if you go further back than Alan Pardew, the plan has been for the club to run itself for quite some time. The problem is that when only a handful of clubs abide by the rules or if a handful of clubs can get around the rules then invariably the rules mean the sum part of nothing.

Which is why it’s nice to see that UEFA have already taken action against 23 clubs and have chosen to withhold prize money from them. Perhaps the most notable name on the list is current Europa League and Super Cup Champions, Atletico Madrid, who have been given punishment number four of an eight stage punishment mandate. Those eight stages are as follows.

1 – A reprimand or warning
2 – A fine
3 – A deduction of points
4 – Withholding of revenue from UEFA competitions
5 – A ban on registering new players for UEFA competitions
6 – A restriction on the number of players that a club may register for UEFA competitions
7 – Disqualification from a UEFA competition already in progress
8 – Exclusion from future UEFA competitions



No doubt the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Paris St Germain and Zenit St. Petersburg will be looking onwards to see just how far UEFA would be willing to go after their lavish spending over the last few years.

Really that is the crux of the article. The whole notion of Financial Fair Play hinges in whether or not UEFA will enforce the punishment. If they don’t then what is the point in having the rules in the first place? I remain sceptical about them in truth so to see them taking action against clubs gives me a bit of hope.

The next question is how far they will go against the so called “big boys” of Europe along with the ones who have owners who seemingly aren’t overly bothered about breaking the rules.

The answer to that question will also answer the question of whether or not our own “break even” policy is the way to go, or whether it will just leave us, and a lot of other teams, trailing in the wake of a few teams in the Premier League and beyond.

Even just “breaking even” is a risky strategy in business. What is the point in owning a shop if all you ever do is make enough money to pay everything leaving nothing for yourself? Yet in football it is different and is seen as some form of holy grail by those in power.

Which is wrong really, but I guess that’s just the way it is!

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

30 thoughts on “Is FFP starting to bite?

  1. We all know that a number of clubs can easily afford not to play by these rules, so fining them would be a bit pointless.

    They should just dive in there and deduct points so they cant win leagues, and cant make Europe.

    Then its not worth their rich owners ploughing millions in with no return.

    Quite simple really, doncha think?

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  2. All Uefa will need to do is nail one big club early. Set the hardline tone and clubs will fall into line.. If they feck it up and let a big club off lightly, the whole sheebang will fall apart..

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  3. Out here in the UAE the driving is unbelievably bad. Local kids are doing donuts, burn outs and I have on a couple of occasions been overtaken by 4WDs that were up on 2 wheels.
    The punishment? Local authorities confiscate the car for a month.

    They all have 3 or 4 cars, so it just means they have to go out tearing up the streets in the Mercedes instead of the Lexus.

    Can you imagine the affect it would have on Man City if they were fined 50,000 Euros because they overspent by 100 million?

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  4. Take points off them Archie, easy done.. or ban them from European football… like I said, the first club that really steps outside of the rules needs to be made an example of!!

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  5. Aussie….therein lies the problem IMO, I can’t see them having the balls to take on a big club…be nice if they prove me wrong like.

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  6. Yes really looks like its starting to bite! Chelsea, Man City and even Sunderland spending way more than they earn.

    Never has there been a more pathetic rule in football. If and that’s a big IF it even works it would only make the gap bigger between the top clubs and the others.

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  7. To even things up a bit I always thought that Instead of having an international break they should play the league matches at the weekend and the Internationals midweek.

    Then the likes of Chelsea and City who field 8 or 9 internationals would have to field a weaker side because all their megastars are all shagged out after playing midweek. :mrgreen:

    A kind of a handicapping system.

    But now that I’ve counted how many Internationals we have now, I dont think its such a good idea!

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  8. I really can’t see it working and have said that all along, the big boys and the big money men don’t live by rules, and they’ll find a way around them. If they can’t find a way around them they’ll just tell ueafa that they’re not playing and take their ball away.

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  9. Don’t man city recieve something like 300m a year for stadium name rights, well theres 300m a year the club generates itself to spend on players

    Theres always a loophole

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  10. Man city aren’t actually breaking the rules are they? they aren’t being lent the money, they are given it, either outright or through sponsorship. So they are spending within their means.

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  11. What i am worried about is these massive (money wise) clubs Man Citeh ,Chelsea ,PSG , Zenit and couple of others from Russia will get together to form their own Super league and invite the likes of Real Madrid ,Bayern Munich, Man utd and Barcelona too join them . If that happens then club football as we know it is gone . The only thing the TV companies will concentrate on is the new league with the big names ,tv money and advertising would be non existent for the domestic competitions . Believe me the new mega rich owners from Russia and the far east dont give a damn about tradition they only want a expensive toy to play with and earn from . Thats why Platini’s noble efforts to bring football back to a level playing field will fail .

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  12. ST – Yep. Thing with City is that sponsorship deal includes the ground, the shirts, the training facilities plus a new sports village that they are planning on building, which comes under infrastructure and wouldn’t be counted.

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  13. (THIS IS A GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING. THIS POSTER IS LIABLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR POINT OF VIEW. ONLY ENGAGE IF YOU AREN’T SENSITIVE AND  DON’T TAKE HISSY FITS)

    @WM&TTM

    I think it’s important to note that around the time Ashley was making all those cock ups, he was trying to sell us for an unrealistic price as he realised he had bought something which he couldn’t afford.

    The fact he didn’t do DD resulted in him trying to offload us but the greedy bastard didn’t just want what he paid for it he wanted £400m!!!

    It was round that time, the now Man City owners were looking for a club and Ashley tried to rip their eyes out! It backfired.

    We might now be Premier champions if it wasn’t for his greed by him wanting all his losses and more back.

    I believe Ashley  failed to conduct DD as he knew FFS was not fit enough to fight the takeover and wanted to rush the deal thru before he recovered.

    He bought into a North East institution not a house or a yacht but something that thousands of people invested time, love and money in.

    In the early days he treat those people with contempt and all I ever asked, for him to put the club up for sale for a reasonable price.
    If nobody showed any interest in buying us then none of us could complain. We would know we had the best on offer. But he didn’t. The greed got the better of him.
    That’s what rankles with me.

    Fortunately he has turned things round and a great deal of luck was involved in bouncing back from relegation first time. Had the players rebelled then who knows where we would have ended up. Even more debt and another Leeds Utd.?

    I’m not praising FFS, but many say we would have gone out of business if he had stayed. How does anyone know that? Like every club, FFS would also have had to cut back on spending but not to the drastic extent Ashley did. He came in and realised he couldn’t afford to run the club and threw out all his toys from the bath including the plug all in one go.
    Relegation cost us tens of millions adding to our debt.

    FFS always maintained he had debt but was manageable. It was on a mortgage. The ground covered a huge part of their debt. It was necessary debt. It wasn’t a great situation but he too would have had to restructure payments, wages and transfer policies. FFS had vision and had demonstrated this with the huge expansion of the ground.  He had further plans to extend it to 60k.  It was to incorporate a property development on the land adjacent to the Gallowgate end.  This would have assisted with the clubs finances. 

    Most clubs had to make cost cutting actions around the time Ashley took over. Ashley isn’t the only club chairman doing that. It’s not a new phenomenon. FFS would have had to have done the same. Ok, we may have had a huge interest payment to make but FFS deemed it was manageable. I don’t believe he would have made all those catastrophic mistakes Ashley did.

    To the present, Ashley seems to have come thru the rocky period but is a long way from safety. One good season does not mean you’ve made it. Look at FFS reign. We can crash and burn with ease.

    The test has yet to come. FFS was in charge for 10 yrs or more. Ashley half that time.
    We had two great runs in the champs league and numerous cup semis and finals.

    Let’s see what this season brings and see if he can keep it together as a few cracks seem to be appearing on and off the pitch.

    FFS was a lot of things and made huge mistakes IMO when appointing managers (not all) .  His legacy is often criticised on here whilst Ashley is  applauded. 

    But for a bit of guidance when appointing managers then FFS policies could have been successful long term. 

    Just a different slant on FFS and a reminder that Ashley has forgot about his little hobby that he so wanted.  😯

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  14. (THIS IS A GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING. THIS POSTER IS LIABLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR POINT OF VIEW. ONLY ENGAGE IF YOU AREN’T SENSITIVE AND  DON’T TAKE HISSY FITS)

    Just whilst the craic is drying up i wanted to remind those critical of FFS legacy that things may have been different if Ashley hadn’t taken over. 
    Who knows;

    I think it’s important to note that around the time Ashley was making all those cock ups, he was trying to sell us for an unrealistic price as he realised he had bought something which he couldn’t afford. He initially came in claiming this was his hobby, a football fan and would invest £10-£20m
    Per season to finance it.  However the recession hit and Ashley lost half his fortune.  Understandably he announced the club must be self sufficient.  He panicked and tried to sell us in a hurry. 

    The fact he didn’t do DD resulted in him trying to offload us but the greedy bastard didn’t just want what he paid for it he wanted £400+m!!!

    It was round that time, the now Man City owners were looking for a club and Ashley tried to rip their eyes out! It backfired.

    We might now be Premier champions if he had offered the club at its market value.  But it was greed which made him want more, much more.  

    I believe Ashley  failed to conduct DD as he knew FFS was not fit enough to fight the takeover and wanted to rush the deal thru before he recovered.

    He bought into a North East institution not a house or a yacht but something that thousands of people invested time, love and money in. 

    In the early days he treat those people with contempt and all I ever asked, for him to put the club up for sale for a reasonable price.
    If nobody showed any interest in buying us then none of us could complain. We would know we had the best on offer. But he didn’t. The greed got the better of him.
    That’s what rankles with me.

    Fortunately he has turned things round and a great deal of luck was involved in bouncing back from relegation first time. Had the players rebelled then who knows where we would have ended up. Even more debt and another Leeds Utd.?

    I’m not praising FFS, but many say we would have gone out of business if he had stayed. How does anyone know that? Like every club, FFS would also have had to cut back on spending but not to the drastic extent Ashley did. He came in and realised he couldn’t afford to run the club and threw out all his toys from the bath including the plug all in one go.
    Relegation cost us tens of millions adding to our debt.

    FFS always maintained he had debt but was manageable. It was on a mortgage. The ground covered a huge part of their debt. It was necessary debt. It wasn’t a great situation but he too would have had to restructure payments, wages and transfer policies. FFS had vision and had demonstrated this with the huge expansion of the ground. He is a property developer.    He had further plans to extend it to 60k.  It was to incorporate a property development on the land adjacent to the Gallowgate end.  This would have assisted with the clubs finances.  It was to be on the same lines as the Chelsea Village.  It was to bring in private development which would finance the expansion and future growth of the club. 

    Most clubs had to make cost cutting actions around the time Ashley took over. Ashley isn’t the only club chairman doing that. It’s not a new phenomenon. FFS would have had to have done the same. Ok, we may have had a huge interest payment to make but FFS deemed it was manageable. I don’t believe he would have made all those catastrophic mistakes Ashley did.
    Ashley even admitted after taking us down, he fell woefully short at being a club owner. 

    To the present, Ashley seems to have come thru the rocky period but is a long way from safety. One good season does not mean you’ve made it. Look at FFS reign. We can crash and burn with ease.  We are financially better off but who knows how FFS vision may have worked out. 
    A 60k state of the art ground called St James Park financed by a huge development of leisure and business.  We now have a multi coloured cheap looking warehouse called the Sports Direct Arena with a capacity the same as when Ashley took over, only now it’s not always full. 
    In Shepherds era you struggled to get tickets for games and every premier game was sold out. 

    The test has yet to come. FFS was in charge for 10 yrs or more. Ashley half that time.
    We had two great runs in the champs league and numerous cup semis and finals, runners up twice and crowned the countries entertainers. 

    Let’s see what this season brings and see if he can keep it together as a few cracks seem to be appearing on and off the pitch.

    FFS was a lot of things and made huge mistakes IMO when appointing managers (not all) .  His legacy is often criticised on here whilst Ashley is applauded. 

    But for a bit of guidance when appointing managers then FFS policies could have been successful long term. 

    Just a different slant on FFS and a reminder that Ashley has forgot about his little hobby that he so wanted.  I’m wondering when he is going to revert back to the club being a hobby and now his wealth has returned and he is richer than ever he will start to invest £10-£20m of his own money in like he stated when he took over. 

    So far he has only done it in the form of a loan.  Loans need paying back. 

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  15. The only way I can see this hurting them is that it will make it harder for teams like Chelsea and Man City to win the champions league, or they will benefit less from it fiscally. The only way I can see that helping responsible teams is if they then share out the money among the teams that have passed the rules. In terms of the domestic leagues and the sweet FA; it isn’t going to really make much difference is it. The premier league has become the Juggernaut that it is by being inefficient and allowing foreign owners basically ‘no questions asked’ (despite the posturing about responsible owners, look at Portsmouth). I can’t see the FA ever imposing anything like this whilst they have their face in the trough of the premier league gravy train.

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  16. These rules are designed to prevent upstart new money competing with established old money. I’m happy for the status quo to change. It’s too long since anybody did a Wimbledon.

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  17. Talking about money things i have just read that Sports Direct are on the verge of taking JJB sorts over and it could happen as early as monday . Not only is that a kick in the family Jewels for their and Wigan Athletics owner it puts our owner into a very strong financial position .He would have a monopoly in the British sports wear retail . That could be good for us in the context of FFP the more Businesses Ashley owns gives him more room for Advertising . Advertising money from one of his own Businesses into one of his other . Now that is being self sufficent , He could then sponsor the Benton Training ground and academy as the JJb academy for example .

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  18. I don’t believe the fair play rules will make a blind bit of difference tbh. How can an corrupt organisation control big money clubs with questionable finances going on in the background. These super rich clubs will tye them in knots and probably have the means to dig up all sorts of skeletons in the cuboards of uefa members, which let’s face it most likely wouldn’t be too hard . 🙄 .

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  19. PREMANDUP @ 20. You could be right, this may hurt anybody who has plans of being the next Chelsea, rather than it will actually hurt Man City or Chelsea. I think the stable door is wide open and the horse bolted a long time ago tbh. This is now more a case of putting a leash on things and trying to keep things in check. If we are hoping that these rules will significantly benefit us and teams like us I think we are wasting our time until they really do 1. deduct league points. or 2. disqualify from Europe, so that we could finish 6th and get into the champions league for example. Does anybody think that they a) have the balls, b) even could make this happen? I don’t.

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  20. Cant help but feel that Man U at Liverpool will only benefit from these rules. They both generate sooo much money from their overseas fan base that they will fund big transfers, overtaking the big spenders that don’t generate as much money ie City, Chelsea, Spurs and QPR. This could of course mean that the top 6 in 5/6 years could look like
    Man U
    Liverpool
    Arsenal
    Newcastle
    Everton
    Southampton(possibly)

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  21. Andy do you really believe that City and Chelski won’t find a way round this, and will fall away 😕
    I think theres more chance of us doing the double with the prem and champs lge than the FFP rules making the difference they are supposed to

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  22. [email protected] i get were your coming from regards FFS , one thing though whilst the economy at the time of the stadium rebuild was at a boom , we are now in recession and as you state the debts at the time were in the mortgage of the stadium . Wonder what the interest % on the mortgage was and was it a fixed interest . If it wasnt we would probably now be well fcuked . Ashleys loan is interest free .

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  23. much to do about nowt,i agree with dave if push came to shove they would take the ball home,the top clubs have to much money and wont worry one bit about this even the smaller clubs will follow there lead as they wont miss out on the money they get by playing the bigger clubs,plus fifa ect dont have the back-bone to carry it out imo

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  24. Reading are awful, they are making an average Spuds team look like world beaters. End of September that is a game we should be getting points from, away games against the likes of Reading and Southampton.

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  25. Dave
    I may think FIFA & UEFA are run by a bunch of spineless wankers but for some reason I still have faith the FFP will come good. When/If they come good, within a few years the city’s and Chelsea’s WILL start to drop back, it will be at this point their investors get bored that they can’t do what they want and leave the clubs, this is why they won’t be at the top.

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