Chelsea FC Works to Conform to UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations


This opinion piece on the UEFA Financial Fair Play Policy was written by The Pride of London contributor Muneeb Khan. Follow Muneeb on Twitter @MUK734

Throughout the current transfer period, Chelsea FC manager Jose Mourinho has been emphasizing UEFA’s upcoming Financial Fair Play (FFP) system and how Chelsea is following the rules. You may be asking yourself what in the world is this FFP. In simple terms, UEFA wants to slow the transfer-spending arms race so teams do not incur financial problems in the future.

It is European soccer’s equivalent of a salary cap. Since having salary caps are against European labor laws, the pressure is on the owners of the clubs instead. They want clubs to eventually become self-sustaining and profitable. They can still incur losses but as long as they are decreasing year by year, they will be fine. To make clubs comply, UEFA is threatening to ban them from the lucrative European competitions (Champions League and Europa League) and/or impose heavy fines. The full implementation will occur in 2015.

Mourinho speaks on FFP here:

"“If the Financial Fair Play comes into place, it should come for everybody, not for some. Chelsea at this moment is working very, very well, thinking that the Financial Fair Play is going to be in place and we have to obey certain rules. We are working on a new project, looking to develop young talent from within the club.”"

In the last 15 years, transfer spending by clubs has spiked dramatically to attract the best players in the world. Mass increases in television revenue and more spots in the Champions League have helped this spending since the late ‘90s. At the same time, clubs have been purchases by people with deep pockets such as at Chelsea, Manchester City, and Paris St. Germain. These teams have achieved tremendous success on the field and are now world-wide brands. Unfortunately, many clubs have suffered due to overspending above their limits.

More than half of the teams in Europe do not make a profit. In England, Porthsmouth FC and Leeds United both went through bankruptcy after being relegated from the Premier League. In Spain, almost 75% of the teams currently in La Liga are in debt and could collapse at any moment. The biggest club to collapse has been the historic Rangers F.C. (winners of a combined 114 domestic trophies) from Scotland in 2012.

With FFP, UEFA hopes that no more clubs have to go through the same painful process. The effects are already seen as clubs have been cutting spending in the last few years. In summer 2012, AC Milan sold Zlatan Ibrahamovic and Thiago Silva to PSG in a shock move. Fellow city-rivals Inter Milan followed suit by clearing out expensive players such as Samuel Eto’o and Wesley Sneijder from 2011 to 2013.

It’s also why Mourinho was willing to sell Juan Mata to EPL rivals Manchester United because Chelsea made roughly a 14 million pound profit from the transfer. If UEFA doesn’t follow through its threat to ban clubs from European competition if they don’t comply with FFP, clubs such as AC Milan and Inter Milan will surely sue UEFA.

There are still people who remain skeptical about UEFA’s willingness to stand-up against a big club. UEFA has said that they have came this far and it would be foolish not to follow-through. Only time will tell if FFP is a success or failure.

Sources: and