The big boys of European soccer may start to get a little bit reckless with their spending again.
UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, is set to relax some Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules as teams will be able to spend more on transfer fees and wages than they currently can under FFP restrictions.
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In an interview with French broadcaster RTL, UEFA’s president Michel Platini revealed that the UEFA executive committee could ease up on some FFP regulations going forward.
Last year UEFA fined both Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City $22.8 million for breaking FFP rules but in a meeting in Prague on June 29-30 they could rubber-stamp new rules which would allow more leniency.
It is believed that one of the options on the table is to allow the individual owners to invest more of their own money instead of spending money their respective clubs don’t have to plunge them into more debt.
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When FFP was agreed in 2009 and then introduced for the start of the 2011-12 season, it was meant to stop spiraling costs across the board and was backed by plenty of Europe’s top teams. But after six years many argue that top teams who already had wealthy owners when these rules were implemented have been safe-guarded and owners of smaller, more aspirational clubs are punished for not being able to invest the large amounts of money they would like to. In essence, FFP comes down to spending within your means and those clubs with larger stadiums and bigger commercial success have pulled away from others who have the money, but aren’t able to balance the books correctly under the current rules.
Monaco and Inter Milan were fined earlier this month for breaking FFP rules and plenty of teams across Russia and Turkey have been fined in the past few years as the struggle to strike a balance between being successful and financially sustainable continues.
Maybe these rule changes will help smaller teams in the Premier League like Southampton, Swansea City, West Ham United or Stoke City challenge for a top six or top four spot in the future, as the way FFP is currently set up, there is no way they can compete with the big boys. If the smaller clubs try to live beyond their means, they will receive FFP sanctions and be worse off than they started.
Here’s hoping next month UEFA can tweak a few things when it comes to FFP as having strong competitions instead of the same teams being able to dominate each season benefits everyone.