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!