There have been rumours floating around over the past week or so about UEFA scrapping Financial Fair Play rules, and although it’s yet to be confirmed officially by European football’s administrative body, it does look like an announcement is imminent.
However, given the astronomical amounts of money already available to elite teams across Europe, will this create an even bigger divide in football?
Take the Premier League for example, there is a substantial gulf between the wealthiest and least wealthy (I can’t bring myself to even write the word poor because they’re far from it). Manchester City’s owner’s wealth is a reported £23.3bn, as opposed to Burnley’s for example, who clock in with an estimated net worth of £62m – so just the £23,238,000,000 worse off than their sky-blue counterparts.
The sheer difference in these two figures is precisely the reason why Financial Fair Play was introduced, it was to stop the richest clubs buying whichever players they wanted and paying them whatever was deemed necessary. This would then go someway in helping teams to compete on a more ‘even keel’, ensuring the leagues across the continent retain their entertainment value. It would also keep tabs on each team and make sure they ran economically, trading at a profit, not a loss, because at the end of they day and even though as fans we often forget, each club is a business.
Few things probably sum up the effect money has on the game more than a recent interview with Pep Guardiola. The Spaniard’s exact works were: “Not just one journalist but many say the only reason why we win is because of the money, it should be true, we can accept it. There are other clubs that spent and have higher budgets than us. When United won it was because they spent more money than the other ones the same with Barcelona and Madrid.”
Then in another interview he said something similar: “When people say Manchester City win because Pep spent money, I say this is true. Absolutely true. Without intelligent players, good skills, good quality, it is impossible”.
This is coming from a manager considered by many as the best ever, and even he says without money success at the highest level is not achievable, and let’s be honest, he definitely he has a point.
Don’t forget Financial Fair Play has now been in play for ten years, which means all the elite teams across Europe were able to assemble their current squads with it in place, so imagine what they will be able to do without it! If no rules are imposed on spending then who really knows the teams we will see in the future. Who’s to say we won’t see the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland playing for the same team, because if one club has the means available to buy them and pay their wages, then why not?
It’s going to be interesting to see how all this unfolds and if FFP is removed completely will it be replaced by a new law, or will it just be a free-for-all with millions being thrown around left right and centre with no repercussions? Let’s wait and see.
By Sam Wright