Manchester City was hit with wage bill limits and fines from UEFA’s financial fair play regulations and City announced that they agreed to the punishment. The club released a statement, which you can read here, detailing the exact punishments handed down from UEFA.
The penalties come in the form of a settlement because Manchester City say that they have “decided to enter into a compromise agreement with UEFA” rather than fighting them. City also claims that they will look to break even but are paying the price for players purchased before 2010. UEFA believes Manchester City has not been FFP compliant when it comes to those transfers but the club “respectfully” disagrees.
Here are the important bits of the Manchester City statement for Chelsea fans:
- The MCFC Champions League squad for the 2014-15 competition will be limited to 21 players. In 2013-14 the club registered 23 players for the competition and used 21.
- The Club’s expenditure on new players for the upcoming summer transfer window, on top of income from players it might sell, will be limited to 60m euros. This will have no material impact on the Club’s planned transfer activity.
- The wage bill of the whole club (playing and non-playing staff) for 2014-15 will need to remain at the same level as that of 2013-14 season. It is important to note that additional bonuses for performances can be paid outside this number. Importantly, in reality, the existing MCFC business plan sees a natural decline in that wage bill.
The last two sanctions mentioned above are a very big deal for Manchester City because even if they say that the limit will have no impact on their transfer activity, it most certainly will. Just last summer they spent upwards of £95 million on players like Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas, and Fernandinho and obviously that cannot happen again this summer. However their squad is deep and talented enough that they could challenge for the Premier League title again and win it if they made no additions but it does limit them in ways they may not like.
What is most damaging for Manchester City is the last stipulation that the wage bill for next season must the same as the wage bill for the 2013/14 season. This means that even if they were to have enough transfer funds to add another player, they would have to sell another player or release him to free up space on the wage bill. It is similar to the salary cap in many American sports and it may see City forced to sell a big name midfielder or forward just to add the centerback they so desperately need.
The problem for City will also be that it will be hard to sell some of the players they deem surplus because of their extremely high wages. City pays a much higher wage compared to many other clubs and have done so to attract talent to a club that before they became so wealthy had little success or prestige.
Nowadays the Manchester City name alone may carry more weight to so it may attract talent based on reputation or prestige and not just high wages. Perhaps they can negotiate lower wages for the players in exchange for a higher share of their image rights or find some other creative solution to the problem. Whatever happens, this will sure be an intriguing situation to follow especially to see how it will impact Chelsea FC and other Premier League clubs competing for players with City.