How European football has taken up the fight against clubs breaking FFP

By Tony Attwood

We recently covered the story on “How spend spend spend led to Barcelona’s  collapse”.  Now it is time to move on to the repercussions.

The Spanish Football League confirmed last week that it had filed complaints with Uefa against PSG and Manchester City, accusing them of “continuously violating the current financial fair play regulations”.

Javier Tebas is one of the most outspoken critics of state-backed clubs (as they are regularly known in the European media, although rarely in the English media), such as Qatar backed PSG and the United Arab Emirates backed Manchester City (to which list we can now add Saudi backed Newcastle United).  He believes such clubs are hijacking the financial fair play rules established by Uefa and unbalancing sporting and economic competition.

Meanwhile, on a different front the financial situation at Barcelona, caused by years and years of a reckless policy in which candidates for the post of club president promised to bring in specific players, no matter what, is having disastrous consequences.

(We might also add that at the same time two of the most important figures in the history of European and world football are on trial for serious financial misdemeanour, while the current head of Fifa is hiding from trial in Swizterland by having moved to a country with no extradition treaty with Switzerland – which begins to show what a total mess European football is in, and how absolute is the refusal of the UK media to cover issues other than fantasy transfers.)

To add a little more detail to the Barcelona story, they have now sold 25% of their future TV rights and 49.9% of the income from their retail activity (which in Barceolna’s case is central to their financial well-being) to outside agencies in return for cash now, to help them pay off some of these debts.

The general feeling seems to be that this is what was needed to keep the club afloat, but means they are going to be in a very difficult position in future transfer windows.

Put all this together and one has something of a European crisis.  Except not in England where today’s lead stories in the English media are “Exposed Boehly can make Tuchel as powerful as Guardiola and Klopp and “Jurgen Klopp pays tribute to ‘one of Liverpool’s greatest’ as Sadio Mane leaves for Bayern Munich” and “HURTS MY HEART!” Man Utd legend Evra still pained Red Devils let Conte join Spurs – despite Neville insisting he was wrong fit”.

Not forgetting, “Bring the energy, sort the body language and do the right things… or suffer the consequences: Man United No 2 Steve McClaren outlines his blueprint for a culture of success to Old Trafford “

And it is not just that these media outlets run the same old issues all the time it is more that there is a mentality in the media in England that says, “This is what is the news – there are no other events going on”.  Or even “No one cares about Europe”.  As a result, there are also no concerns expressed about holding the world cup in the middle of the season in a country that has one of the most appalling human rights records of any on the planet.

In short, there is no moral context, and no thought of investigative journalism either.

Meanwhile, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, the president of PSG has denounced the president of the Spanish League and his action against PSG and Manchester City calling him, “Tebas who?”, in an interview published in “Gazzetta dello Sport”.

He added, “I do not give lessons to anyone or interfere with other clubs or leagues. It is impolite to pretend to tell others what to do. I don’t accept lessons from those who see the Champions League as a threat to their own league.”    And we should remember this man is also head of the European Club Association (ECA) and is himself opposed to the Super League project, which is still being promoted by Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The Spanish Football League thus has now confirmed that it has filed complaints with Uefa against PSG and Manchester City, accusing them of “continuously violating the current financial fair play regulations”.

Which leads to the interesting thought that given that the Premier League won’t take any action against PL clubs that break FFP regulations it is now up to do take up the task.    Which, when one comes to think of it, is a little odd.


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