Europe’s biggest clubs could be allowed to spend vastly more than they earn each year following a climbdown by UEFA which removes the central principle of the governing body’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regime.
UEFA, which has faced multiple legal challenges to FFP and huge pressure to relax the rules from clubs such as Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Milan, is expected to announce next month that rules will be eased to allow more owner investment in players.
The organisation’s president, Michel Platini, yesterday confirmed that some of the rules will be “eased”, while general secretary Gianni Infantino spoke of “potential changes to the existing regulations”.
With any additional allowable spend likely to be substantial – possibly £100m over the course of three seasons – Liverpool and Arsenal would be furious if, as likely, UEFA’s executive committee votes it through. Both clubs strongly support FFP.
Liverpool’s US owners, Fenway Sports Group, bought the club five years ago in the knowledge that FFP – which allows only €30m (£21m) losses over three years – would create a level playing field against wealthier owners such as Sheikh Mansour and Roman Abramovich.
One source said that the cornerstone of the FFP regime, which allowed clubs to spend more than they earn on stadium or academy infrastructure, could be extended to outlay on players, within a new limit.
An additional spend of £100m over three seasons would allow the likes of City to buy a player of Lionel Messi’s calibre. Even if Messi cost £150m, the sum could be accounted for within the limitations of a more liberalised regime by being the value written – amortised – over several years.
“The world is two-faced but we will say this openly: I think we’ll ease things, but it will be the executive committee who will decide if it is to be eased,” said Platini. (© Independent News Service)