Like many, I don’t often agree with most of FIFA’s or UEFA’s bright ideas. But in the wake of Edin Dzeko becoming Manchester City’s latest multi-million pound investment, UEFA president Michel Platini has outlined his plans to call time on clubs spending money they haven’t got. Europe’s top sides have been told they must ‘live within their means’ meaning huge debts should become a thing of the past. The new rules may be cause for concern for some of the bigger spenders, but surely at long last, common sense has finally prevailed?
In UEFA’s bechmarking report, more than half of the teams in the top divisions around Europe all made a loss and contributed to a collective record loss of £1.2bn. We have seen firsthand what happens to teams who gamble with money; only now are Leeds starting to return to former glories.
Interestingly, if clubs must only spend money they generate themselves, questions have to be asked as to how the likes of Manchester United and City will manage their wage bill. Players like Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez have recently realised the potential of their player power and have both been rewarded with massive pay increases. Will they have to take a pay-cut? Will clubs have to make player sacrifices to compensate? The Eastlands club in particular face a massive restructure of the way they pay their players. Surely they cannot continue to pay every new signing they make £200k a week under these new guidelines? Their recent declaration of an annual deficit of £121 million tells you all you need to know about City’s spending.
So what if they do continue to pay over the odds and rack up major debts? Platini has threatened expulsion from European competition. The riches which accompany Champions League football cannot be underestimated so it isn’t likely we will be seeing these rules broken too frequently.
As harsh as this may seem, Platini is merely using a scare tactic to make sure every club around Europe abides by the new rules. In the last few seasons, football has been dominated with talk of debts carried by the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool in particular. Football has been in danger of seeing some of the best sides in the world going under financially, but finally we have a structure which will protect the long term future of the game we love. Better late than never, eh?
With foreign owners coming to the Premier League and treating clubs like their new, incredibly expensive toy, clubs become in danger of losing their history. Quoted in the Guardian, Platini seems keen to end this novelty and return to the days where the best team won fairly, not the richest:
“Our objective is not to put clubs into financial difficulty. Financial fair play is to help them escape from this devilish spiral and have a viable economic strategy in the long term. We have no wish to see clubs that are part of the heritage of football disappear because of bad management. We want to protect a certain type of football that is fairer and more ethical.”
Clubs like Man City won’t be pressing the panic button yet, but before the rules come into action next season, they certainly have a lot of work to do. With life so good at the present time, people forget the future and the ramifications they may face should the owners become bored of throwing money at their new favourite hobby.
Will we be witnessing the quietest summer transfer window in years this coming close season? Only time will tell. But unless clubs start making a massive improvement on their annual finances, it seems football will finally be looking to secure the future instead of living a quick-fire success story with dangerous consequences.
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