UEFA President Michel Platini recently spoke to Le Parisien newspaper about the impact of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules governing the spending of Europe’s top clubs. Platini explained in an interview that clubs would not be thrown out of the Europa or Champions League for not complying with FFP. This is especially interesting considering that two clubs in particular, Paris Saint Germain and Manchester City, are reported to be under investigation for violating FFP rules and rumors swirled that they would be banned from European competition. Chelsea FC has worked hard to remain within the confines of FFP and are reportedly not being investigated by UEFA.
Michel Platini said to Le Parisien:
“If you are expecting blood and tears, you will be disappointed. There will be some tough things but I think there will be no exclusions from European competition. I think that significant sanctions will affect the big clubs. We will go through with this.”
The question remains, if UEFA will not ban the clubs from competing in Europe what will they do? Give them a transfer ban? Make it harder for them to register players for work permits? The extent of the power of FFP is still to be seen and so is the extent to which UEFA will go to enforce it. The biggest perpetrators that UEFA should be concerned about are clubs with what Platini calls “innvovative” sponsorship deals like Manchester City or PSG. Both clubs are owned by business groups from the Middle East with enough ties to their respective governments and government owned companies to set up pseudo sponsorships in order to write off losses.
Michel Platini described PSG’s financial model as “distinctive and atypical” because of its ties with the tourism office of Qatar. He voiced these concerns by asking the following, “but is [the sponsorship] viable? Is the value of the contract correct? These are questions that the experts must decide”. Time will tell what the full effect of FFP will be and if UEFA has the muscle to enforce its rules. They may just use the threat of exclusion from the top competitions as a deterrent but other actions must be taken if they are to fully follow through with FFP and everything it entails.