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UEFA fair play rules not fit for purpose


Manchester City have shown that UEFA’s FFP rules are too convoluted to work

Manchester City have shown that UEFA’s FFP rules are too convoluted to work

Manchester City have shown that UEFA’s FFP rules are too convoluted to work

Manchester City toasted the biggest win of their season after a successful appeal against a two-year Champions League ban - and now UEFA needs to revise their discredited Financial Fair Play rules.

I still can't get my head around City being hit with a £9m fine for breaching some of these rules at a time when we see UEFA handing out £30,000 fines to clubs when their fans are found guilty of mass racism from the stands, but this has to be the end of these FFP regulations because the whole thing became a confusing mess a long time ago.

UEFA have been trying to stop Manchester City in their tracks for years now and they have been urged on in that mission by the traditional big clubs trying to look out for themselves. But this courtroom verdict has confirmed the whole FFP plan has fallen apart.

If these rules were in place to protect the integrity of the game, they would not have fair play in their title as, in reality, these regulations are in place for one reason and one reason only and that's to protect the position of the biggest clubs in Europe and stop anyone new coming in with a fresh dream.

Sport should always be about aiming for the top and daring to believe that one day, your club will be able to compete with the best and challenge for the big trophies.

In the aftermath of City's successful appeal, we have seen the big clubs coming out criticising the decision, as they are clearly keen to hold on to the power they have and not have the prospect of anyone else coming in to take it away.

AC Milan are among those who have been moaning in recent years that they deserve to be in the Champions League every year and some big clubs in England have also missed out, but that is the way sport goes.

Everyone goes through different periods of success and lean times are a reality for all sporting teams, but there has to be room for new teams to get in the mix and Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain are among a batch of new clubs that have arrived on the scene with big ambitions.

I think it's more exciting for fans to see new names on trophies and there is also a big need to look at what City's owners have done away from the pitch. They have invested heavily in what was a less than affluent area of Manchester and created lots of jobs since they took on the task of turning the club into one of Europe's top sides.

That investment should be taken into account when UEFA are looking at the club's finances because investing in your local community is so important for any football club and City's owners have excelled in that department.

So maybe this verdict will be the moment for UEFA to take a step back, reflect on what has happened with a few appeal court decisions that have gone against them and work out what needs to happen next.

These FFP rules are so complicated that they can't work it out themselves and if they don't know what's happening, fans haven't a hope of getting their heads around these punishments.

Maybe regulations can be put in place to control how clubs can spend in the transfer market, but let's make it a little easier for everyone to understand.

The main reason why FFP came in was to make sure clubs like City or PSG didn't go and buy the best 20 players in the world and take over the game, so let's come up with rules that sees clubs given a set limit on how much they can spend on transfers every year.

If UEFA stated clubs could spend £200m on transfers and made it clear whether that budget also includes wages and everything else around a deal, then we would all have guidelines on what needed to happen.

Now a club like Arsenal might not have £200m to spend, but that's their problem.

It's not Man City's fault that they have more money at this moment in time and they should be allowed to take advantage of their position and try to build a team to justify their ambition.

If the rules were revised and everyone could appreciate what clubs needed to do, then it would be cut and dried if they needed to be punished. We are in a situation now where City have been handed this huge fine and it looks like the main charges against them were thrown out. Why were City fined so much? What rules did they break? I'm still not sure and most football fans will be the same, yet their rivals were all delighted when it looked like they were going to be thrown out of the Champions League for reasons few could understand.

UEFA need to sort this out, quickly, because Newcastle could be taken over by investors with deep pockets in the next few weeks. They will want to spend big to put that club on the map and they have to be given a chance to do that.

As Liverpool have proved this season, a club like City is not unstoppable, despite all the money they have at their disposal, so I hope UEFA can see they have made a right mess of their attempt to implement their FFP rules and come back with new guidelines that are fit for purpose.