European players union asks UEFA to ease FFP sanctions


Concerned that the players he represents will face an unfair disadvantage for the missteps of their front offices, FIFPro Europe president Bobby Barnes asked UEFA to find “some way of lessening the blow” of Financial Fair Play.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were the two highest-profile teams sanctioned by UEFA for breaking FFP rules, and one punishment handed down was a size reduction of their Champions League squad from 25 to 21 players.

Barnes is concerned that the sanctions unfairly devalue players who would otherwise be playing in Europe’s top competition.

“The last thing we want is for players to miss the Champions League,” Barnes told The Associated Press before the Champions League final on Saturday, instead hoping for “maybe a staged or phased version of the punishment.”

Because it is believed that the “homegrown” requirement on the roster remains at the usual eight, that leaves just 13 non-homegrown players eligible for contention for sanctioned teams, meaning there’s a possibility that some elite players could be on the outside looking in.

However, FIFA has not yet specified how many of the 21 need to be of the “homegrown” designation, so Barnes hopes a deal can be worked out, and hopes the union can help broker the deal.

“If there is a discussion to be had with UEFA then FIFPro would like to be involved in it,” Barnes said. He also made sure to point out that “players are not responsible for the financial running of the football club,” and therefore shouldn’t be punished so.

UEFA has said in a statement that they are reviewing the homegrown requirement and will release a ruling “in the coming days” regarding how they will proceed.

In addition, Barnes said he hopes to work with UEFA to relax the yellow-card restrictions in the Champions League that has caused numerous superstars to miss the final, most notably Real Madrid’s Xabi Alonso in this year’s big game.  That’s something that without a doubt needs to happen, likely by resetting the yellow card count in the semifinal, which is how it works in the European Championships as well as the World Cup.