If you want to be a part of a competition, you have to play by its rules. Those who don’t should not be allowed to take part.
That’s the logic Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger would like to see applied by UEFA as if concerns Financial Fair Play (FFP), according to reporting by The Guardian. Calling current sanctions unduly “sophisticated,” the Arsenal boss said he’d prefer simpler FFP punishments that make “more sense.” To him, excluding violators into the competition makes the most sense.
“You would think that you accept the rules and you’re in the competition or you don’t accept the rules and you’re not in the competition. Then, everybody would understand it.”
Unfortunately for Wenger, the rules aren’t exactly ‘adhere or you’re out.’ Financial Fair Play has a compliance period, after which clubs in violation face a series of varying, escalating punishments. Perhaps one day a team will be excluded from Champions League, but that day isn’t tomorrow, when teams like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain find out their penalties.
Then again, Wenger confessed he doesn’t quite understand how FFP’s punishments work:
“But if I go out in the street now and I ask a hundred people what you think of the fair play punishment, how many do you think can explain it to you? I’m in the job and I cannot do it.”
Whether he can explain the sanctions or not, Wenger’s underlying point seems clear: The principles of the competition must be respected, not only by teams but also by those two are enforcing the rules. The point of FFP is go get teams spending within their means, right? Why allow teams to take part if they’re unwilling to do so?
It’s a view that transcends Wenger’s view on Champions League. It also defines how Wenger manages his club. In a league with big spenders like Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, the Arsenal boss wonders how interested England is in having a “fair competition:”
“If you say to me tomorrow: ‘We give everybody £100m in the 20 Premier League clubs,’ I am OK. I’ll take the gamble. You can start what is a fair competition. It is a bit like how it works in the States, which is the most capitalistic country. They have a more even field of competition. That’s a basic question you have to answer in England. Do we let it go and everyone spends what he wants?”
The Guardian has more, but as you’d expect from a manager who has stayed within his means, Wenger takes a harsh view of those breaking their banks to sign the world’s best talent.