Just how fair is Michel Platini's financial fair-play ruling?

Joss

Member
Nov 23, 2009
7,028
0
0
www.arsenalreport.com
Just how fair is Michel Platini's financial fair-play ruling?
  • Uefa's well-intentioned new ruling on club spending may merely serve to help the rich get richer


Michel Platini deserves great credit for pushing through Uefa's financial fair play rule, but will it have the desired effect? Photograph: Octav Ganea/AP

When Barcelona's passing masters play Sir Alex Ferguson's latest Manchester United reinvention in the Champions League final on Saturday, the lavish occasion – with its £225 match tickets – will illuminate the two faces of Uefa at a critical watershed for the game.

This is the final showpiece match before "financial fair play" is introduced from next season, Uefa's prescription for wrestling restraint into a sport overeating money. With this innovation Uefa – whose organisational vision states its commitment to grass roots, "a united football family" and "clubs run democratically by their supporters" – is determined to save the game's soul from plutocrats and free‑marketeers.

On Saturday Uefa's other guise, the prestige-event organiser, will take over Wembley, charging shameless prices for the final of a competition whose TV and commercial rights it sells for £900m a season. For all the talk of "solidarity", the distribution of this cash to the competing clubs – £40m to the beaten quarter-finalists United last season; £28m to Chelsea; £29m to Arsenal; £25m to Liverpool, £43m to José Mourinho's winners Internazionale – hugely cements the wealth and dominance of a few already rich clubs.

This football contradiction is there in Michel Platini, the Uefa president, who first breathed football as the people's game in his father's smoke‑filled bar in the French mining town of Joeuf, then proceeded to captain France to European Championship victory in 1984 and Juventus to the 1985 European Cup.

Platini, leading a Swiss-based international football governing body untainted by the kind of corruption allegations sweeping over Fifa, seems genuine when he says "we must protect football – from business", yet he loves the big European finals nights and the feel of a silver trophy.

Barcelona and Manchester United also embody identity crises. On the one hand United, the great club on which the American owners, the Glazer family, have loaded the £500m debt and ongoing costs (£350m so far) of their own takeover, yet where Ferguson has again proved himself a master of classic football management.

On the other hand is Barça, still member‑owned but whose success is fortified by Spanish football allowing individual clubs to sell their own TV rights, hence Barça's and Real Madrid's earnings far eclipsing the rest of La Liga. And with even that income no longer enough, from next season the club which represents Catalan pride will wear across its shirt the name Qatar, the tiny state which is buying branding across world football.

With financial fair play now upon Europe's clubs, who must seriously rein in their spending to comply with its break‑even requirements, it is not clear whether Uefa has quite thought through two of its potentially negative consequences.

The first is that if clubs are no longer permitted to rely on owners putting money in, then those who make the most income without owners' help could become even more inevitable winners of the game's prizes. The second is that clubs will seek to further increase their income, leading to yet more expensive ticket prices, as is happening in England, with rises announced at United, Arsenal and Liverpool.

This is a race in its way as unsustainable as players' wage inflation, one in which if every club, to compete, believes it needs a huge, expensively built new stadium, with extortionately priced tickets, to stage a sport Uefa states really belongs to the fans.

Financial fair play, then, may have to be only the start of reshaping the game's financial landscape, with more equal sharing of the money to come. The rules were introduced, with admirable political skill and nerve, as a practical solution to football's financial overkill.

When Platini became Uefa president in 2007 he railed against over‑commercialism, "ultra‑liberalisme" (free‑market zeal) and what he called "financial doping", but his executives, led by the general secretary, Gianni Infantino, came to realise they could not regulate purely against debt which, unlike the Glazers' financial vandalism, can be both well-managed and necessary for investment.

Uefa identified that the problem it needed to address was players' ballooning wages, which it now illustrates with an annual report showing that 50% of Europe's top‑division clubs make losses and that in the greatest commercial boom the game has known.

Boldly following its logic and, unlike our own Football Association too often, being confident in its constitutional authority to set rules, Uefa decided it could not allow clubs to make huge losses, even where they have unfeasibly rich owners prepared to bankroll them.

There were two solid reasons for this. First, if clubs become so dependent on their owners, they fall into existence‑threatening trouble if the owners leave or lose their fortunes. That happened at Portsmouth, when Sacha Gaydamak's money dried up, West Ham United when Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson's Icelandic billions melted away, at Manchester City under the fugitive corruption convict Thaksin Shinawatra, and at many other clubs at all levels.

Second, even when a club is backed by an owner as unshakeably wealthy as City under Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi, Uefa argues the money pumped in inflates the wages all clubs have to pay. That spiral is absolutely evident in England where, as revealed in the Guardian, the Premier League clubs last year made a record £2.1bn but spent an average 68% on wages, and 16 of the 20 clubs made losses, £484m in total.

Hence Uefa's rules, which allow clubs to lose only €45m (£39m) in total from 2011-14, and not rely on owner funding, or they could be excluded from its competitions.

Platini can rightly congratulate himself on a major governance achievement in seeing those rules introduced, but the likely problems of financial fair play are already coming into view. United, with £286m, had the highest turnover in England last year, third in Europe behind Barcelona, with £346m, and Real Madrid, who achieved £382m. Champions League income, as Uefa points out, is a small part of the richest clubs' overall income, but it does reinforce their separation from the rest.

Uefa is surely right that allowing owners to take punts on clubs is not sustainable as a means of encouraging competition, but it will have to find another way. The £500m Mansour has spent in three seasons has helped City to move six places up the Premier League from the ninth they were in when Thaksin went missing, and win the FA Cup. Other clubs cannot and should not have to compete with that sort of owner investment just to make it into Europe.

One senior football figure complained this week that he feels very safe predicting next season's top six – the same as this season's, those with the highest incomes: United (who earned £60m TV money from the Premier League in 2010-11), Chelsea (£57m), City (£55m), Arsenal (£56m), Spurs (£53m) and Liverpool (£55m). A major reason why the relegation battles are more last-day and unpredictable than the title or top-four challenge is that the smaller Premier League clubs are more financially equal and therefore competitive with each other.

So after Platini, at the £757m Wembley stadium, has handed that famously outsized trophy to the captain of Barcelona or Manchester United, his financial brains may need to consider how the rules, well-intentioned as they are, can be prevented from solidifying European football into a victors' parade for those with the most money.
 

ajt09

Nice Guy Gramps
Oct 23, 2009
15,215
0
0
45
It's well know I've critisiced Platini in the past for different reasons, but I do have to give him some credit for trying to implement a rule that will benefit football, but I did have a feeling there would be problems trying to implemet them. He does care for football a lot more than Blatter which is obvious, but I just have a feeling there will be clubs who will find a way around this system unfortunately. But (seeing that I'm not the most intelligent being I admit) if Everton were bankrolled by a businessman, and it suddenly went **** up, how would that affect my club? Wold it make things much worse? Like I mentioned, when it comes to these sort of things, I'm not very clued in lol :$Very interesting read.
 

Joss

Member
Nov 23, 2009
7,028
0
0
www.arsenalreport.com
It's well know I've critisiced Platini in the past for different reasons, but I do have to give him some credit for trying to implement a rule that will benefit football, but I did have a feeling there would be problems trying to implemet them. He does care for football a lot more than Blatter which is obvious, but I just have a feeling there will be clubs who will find a way around this system unfortunately. But (seeing that I'm not the most intelligent being I admit) if Everton were bankrolled by a businessman, and it suddenly went **** up, how would that affect my club? Wold it make things much worse? Like I mentioned, when it comes to these sort of things, I'm not very clued in lol :$Very interesting read.
Not sure it would matter, really. Everton aren't getting into Europe any time soon ;)
 

ajt09

Nice Guy Gramps
Oct 23, 2009
15,215
0
0
45
Not sure it would matter, really. Everton aren't getting into Europe any time soon ;)
Meanie. True though. Quite relieved we're not in Europa too. With the number of games, and the size of the squad with some questionable fitness on some players, we would have been crippled. Still, stranger things have happened..........
 

CJACKO11

Member
Dec 16, 2009
15,996
0
0
31
Exacly what i said the other day, this rule will make sure the big clubs stay being the big clubs forever and ever.
 

willow1293

Member
Oct 31, 2009
668
0
0
While the whole financial fair play rule is going to make football more sustainable in the long run and is therefore a good thing, I dunno about anyone else but actually like clubs being bought by stupidly rich people like has happened at Chelsea and Man City because its facinating to see who they buy next or where they are going to finish or whatever, I like the fact that Man City have come in and disrupted the top teams in England by bringing something different to the table so we don't have the normal certain Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal title fight in the future. Yes I think that financial fair play is almost certainly needed and a good thing but I do fear that although they have said it wont stop teams spending money on new players, my fear is that teams will be to scared to spend money incase they spend to much or whatever and that in the future football just becomes boring with the same teams winning everything all the time. But credit to Plantini for actually going through with the whole thing which is more then good old Blatter would do.
 

Joel`

Member
Jul 23, 2010
8,166
0
0
Exacly what i said the other day, this rule will make sure the big clubs stay being the big clubs forever and ever.
And doing nothing about it would make sure they have even greater ability to stay big.
 

CJACKO11

Member
Dec 16, 2009
15,996
0
0
31
And doing nothing about it would make sure they have even greater ability to stay big.
Not really no, take Malaga for instance they are going to keep rebuilding and buying but when/if they get the chance to play in the CL they wont be able to will they. Im not saying dont have a rule i just dont think this is the right rule.
 

Joel`

Member
Jul 23, 2010
8,166
0
0
Not really no, take Malaga for instance they are going to keep rebuilding and buying but when/if they get the chance to play in the CL they wont be able to will they. Im not saying dont have a rule i just dont think this is the right rule.
Malaga are a horrid example. They've been taken over by another Sheikh, and spending far beyond what they should be able to. That's exactly what the rules don't want. It's perfectly possible to break into the CL in the long run, (I know, I know - such a foreign concept for you), without huge financial investment at once.

If you didn't have these rules then it just enables clubs to laden themselves with debt to create barriers to the lower teams not able to flex as much financial muscle. If you didn't have these rules then the mega-rich teams would be able to spend care-free to astronomical levels that the lower teams couldn't even dream of spending. And yet you're suggesting that letting teams run financially wild, super rich owners blocking out any sort of competition to their place by a lower team by pure finance isn't allowing them even greater consolidation of their place? What planet are you on?

If a team has a large enough fan base, then over time it can cater to expand revenue through sensible investments. Since under FFP the rules force revenue to equal expenditure, and expenditure is roughly proportional to success, this allows them to grow to eventually challenge in the long term. As it stands, there's no link between revenue and expenditure, so teams outspend others. And you're suggesting FFP is helping the big teams more than without? What a surprise you're a Chelsea fan.
 

Joss

Member
Nov 23, 2009
7,028
0
0
www.arsenalreport.com
While the whole financial fair play rule is going to make football more sustainable in the long run and is therefore a good thing, I dunno about anyone else but actually like clubs being bought by stupidly rich people like has happened at Chelsea and Man City because its facinating to see who they buy next or where they are going to finish or whatever, I like the fact that Man City have come in and disrupted the top teams in England by bringing something different to the table so we don't have the normal certain Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal title fight in the future. Yes I think that financial fair play is almost certainly needed and a good thing but I do fear that although they have said it wont stop teams spending money on new players, my fear is that teams will be to scared to spend money incase they spend to much or whatever and that in the future football just becomes boring with the same teams winning everything all the time. But credit to Plantini for actually going through with the whole thing which is more then good old Blatter would do.
But isn't it MORE exciting to see the Underdog story? Or at least - the story of the Underdog, minus financial corruption (Must refrain from this word - Uncy Roman is NOT corrupt, he is an excellent businessman just like Thaski Siniwatra and Carson Yeung) and Sugar Daddies?

Also - your point about teams being "scared" to spend money is ridiculous, to say the least. They all have financial accounts which will (for the most part) be constantly revised to make sure they're up to date and correct - It's not Football Manager where there's a screen that you don't actually need to pay attention to called "Finance". Clubs will KNOW their limits - they're not going to go out and spend £200m and then think: "****, we've gone over our budget". They can spend money, just so long as their revenue = expenditure.

Finally - some people seem to forget that this will help lower teams in more than just that they force big clubs to spend less. Teams like Birmingham, Notts County, Portsmouth will be more cautious when it comes to takeovers: Prospective billionaire owners can't just spend whatever the **** they like and run the club into masses of debt that they will never be able to recover from. (Notts County, although not especially likely to be in European contention any time soon, is a good example considering what their owner did, but Birmingham is probably the best one).
 

Mike.

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2009
31,891
31
48
Enough of the chelsea bashing. Cjacko was just making a point. If you want to deconstruct his argument, do so without the jibes
 

CJACKO11

Member
Dec 16, 2009
15,996
0
0
31
Malaga are a horrid example. They've been taken over by another Sheikh, and spending far beyond what they should be able to. That's exactly what the rules don't want. It's perfectly possible to break into the CL in the long run, (I know, I know - such a foreign concept for you), without huge financial investment at once.

If you didn't have these rules then it just enables clubs to laden themselves with debt to create barriers to the lower teams not able to flex as much financial muscle. If you didn't have these rules then the mega-rich teams would be able to spend care-free to astronomical levels that the lower teams couldn't even dream of spending. And yet you're suggesting that letting teams run financially wild, super rich owners blocking out any sort of competition to their place by a lower team by pure finance isn't allowing them even greater consolidation of their place? What planet are you on?

If a team has a large enough fan base, then over time it can cater to expand revenue through sensible investments. Since under FFP the rules force revenue to equal expenditure, and expenditure is roughly proportional to success, this allows them to grow to eventually challenge in the long term. As it stands, there's no link between revenue and expenditure, so teams outspend others. And you're suggesting FFP is helping the big teams more than without? What a surprise you're a Chelsea fan.
Whats me being a Chelsea fan got to do with it?? Nothing thats the answer and its lame of you to use that. If i believe in somthing i will say it whether its in favour of my club or not.

Ok say if Malaga never got took over how many years would it have taken for them to reach the level of Valencia/Seville/Atletico let alone Madrid and Barca. Not all owners have one thing in mind and Roman is an example of that, how many years have opponant fans/media been going "Roman wants out he is bored" bla bla bla. The man loves Chelsea and has made us one of the most fiered teams in Europe. Football is the most watched sport in the world and with good reason and there is no need to change this wonderfull thing.

Plus i live in Portsmouth who as you know is a team that have struggled in recent times but everyone i know (who supports them) take the good with the bad and they went to Wembley 5 times (winning a FA Cup) and played in the Uefa cup for the first time in the clubs history and this is somthing they will talk about for the rest of their lives.
 
Last edited:

Sulsey

Member
Dec 12, 2010
1,288
0
0
28
Whats me being a Chelsea fan got to do with it?? Nothing thats the answer and its lame of you to use that. If i believe in somthing i will say it whether its in favour of my club or not.

Ok say if Malaga never got took over how many years would it have taken for them to reach the level of Valencia/Seville/Atletico let alone Madrid and Barca. Not all owners have one thing in mind and Roman is an example of that, how many years have opponant fans/media been going "Roman wants out he is bored" bla bla bla. The man loves Chelsea and has made us one of the most fiered teams in Europe. Football is the most watched sport in the world and with good reason and there is no need to change this wonderfull thing.
You don't think something needs to be done involving the finances involved in football?
 

GodCubed

Mod-ern Day Legend
Apr 11, 2010
13,615
0
0
You spoil our fun, Mike.

Ok say if Malaga never got took over how many years would it have taken for them to reach the level of Valencia/Seville/Atletico let alone Madrid and Barca. Not all owners have one thing in mind and Roman is an example of that, how many years have opponant fans/media been going "Roman wants out he is bored" bla bla bla. The man loves Chelsea and has made us one of the most fiered teams in Europe. Football is the most watched sport in the world and with good reason and there is no need to change this wonderfull thing.

Plus i live in Portsmouth who as you know is a team that have struggled in recent times but everyone i know (who supports them) take the good with the bad and they went to Wembley 5 times (winning a FA Cup) and played in the Uefa cup for the first time in the clubs history and this is somthing they will talk about for the rest of their lives.
Right, but so what? It'll take years of sustained development to reach their level. You make it sound like hard work, commitment and building for the future is unfair or something.

It could well be argued that Abramovich only has one thing on his mind: winning the Champions League.

Don't be ridiculous. The enjoyability of football has NOTHING to do with this argument. "Don't fix it if it aint broken" is the approach you take with toasters, not football. Just because this system works (barely) doesn't mean that it can't be improved.

Wonderful. So, they nearly went bankrupt and are a shadow of their former selves. If they'd gone bankrupt, you think they'd be happy so long as they won an FA Cup before they went under?
 
Last edited:

Joss

Member
Nov 23, 2009
7,028
0
0
www.arsenalreport.com
Whats me being a Chelsea fan got to do with it?? Nothing thats the answer and its lame of you to use that. If i believe in somthing i will say it whether its in favour of my club or not.

Ok say if Malaga never got took over how many years would it have taken for them to reach the level of Valencia/Seville/Atletico let alone Madrid and Barca. Not all owners have one thing in mind and Roman is an example of that, how many years have opponant fans/media been going "Roman wants out he is bored" bla bla bla. The man loves Chelsea and has made us one of the most fiered teams in Europe. Football is the most watched sport in the world and with good reason and there is no need to change this wonderfull thing.

Plus i live in Portsmouth who as you know is a team that have struggled in recent times but everyone i know (who supports them) take the good with the bad and they went to Wembley 5 times (winning a FA Cup) and played in the Uefa cup for the first time in the clubs history and this is somthing they will talk about for the rest of their lives.
And now Portsmouth are completely ******. Happy Days!

And CJACKO - I think even you'll agree that there's quite a lot that needs fixing in football; Diving, financial doping, corruption w/in FIFA, match-fixing, goal-line technology, etc.

Or maybe they're all OK as well.
 

Sulsey

Member
Dec 12, 2010
1,288
0
0
28
Plus i live in Portsmouth who as you know is a team that have struggled in recent times but everyone i know (who supports them) take the good with the bad and they went to Wembley 5 times (winning a FA Cup) and played in the Uefa cup for the first time in the clubs history and this is somthing they will talk about for the rest of their lives.
I also live in Portsmouth (Well near) and have supported them my whole life.
Granted, going to that Final in 2008 was one of the greatest moments of my life involved in football. It was an amazing experience that i will never forget. But I would give that trophy back right now if what has happened to my beloved club regarding it's owners etc was erased also. Unfortunately we won't be remembered for that FA cup win, rather that we were the first PL club to go into Administration.
 

Joel`

Member
Jul 23, 2010
8,166
0
0
Whats me being a Chelsea fan got to do with it?? Nothing thats the answer and its lame of you to use that. If i believe in somthing i will say it whether its in favour of my club or not.

Ok say if Malaga never got took over how many years would it have taken for them to reach the level of Valencia/Seville/Atletico let alone Madrid and Barca. Not all owners have one thing in mind and Roman is an example of that, how many years have opponant fans/media been going "Roman wants out he is bored" bla bla bla. The man loves Chelsea and has made us one of the most fiered teams in Europe. Football is the most watched sport in the world and with good reason and there is no need to change this wonderfull thing.

Plus i live in Portsmouth who as you know is a team that have struggled in recent times but everyone i know (who supports them) take the good with the bad and they went to Wembley 5 times (winning a FA Cup) and played in the Uefa cup for the first time in the clubs history and this is somthing they will talk about for the rest of their lives.
I never said owners have one thing in mind. Are you denying that you'd be challenging in all trophies now if Roman didn't bring, and still does bring huge spending? That's the crux of the matter. Your very own claim stated that FFP will just protect the big clubs. Well that's a complete fallacy, unless you're denying that Chelsea are a big club? You know, since FFP is harmful to them.

If Malaga never got invested in, then it would take them a while to reach that level. What about the other say 15 clubs in the league that don't get the mega investment? How on Earth is it justifiable that Malaga deserve meteoric rise to be competitive with Valencia etc. just because some Qatari took a fancy to them? Just a tad unfair on the other teams that didn't get chosen, don't you think? Football is a wonderful thing, yes. So then, why are you suggesting that we allow financial muscle to play a bigger part in team development than you know, football?
 

CJACKO11

Member
Dec 16, 2009
15,996
0
0
31
Lets get this right i never said somthing shouldnt be done im just saying this isent the right answer. Maybe spending cap or somthing along them lines but i seriously dont think this is the right way to go.
 

Sulsey

Member
Dec 12, 2010
1,288
0
0
28
To be feeding a live stream on the future of my club in court was horrific. One man had the choice to shut the club down. That's how close we were to being gone out of the football scene forever. They can have their shiny cup back.
 

GodCubed

Mod-ern Day Legend
Apr 11, 2010
13,615
0
0
Lets get this right i never said somthing shouldnt be done im just saying this isent the right answer. Maybe spending cap or somthing along them lines but i seriously dont think this is the right way to go.
Why not? Try again.

Also, this is in effect a wage cap, just a much more effective and flexible one.
 
Top