Arsene Wenger has called on UEFA to impose tough sanctions on clubs in breach of their new Financial Fair Play regulations.
First mooted in 2009, the aim of FFP (on paper) is to ensure that all European clubs only spend what they earn while ensuring that they also pay any debts and taxes on time.
Last week it was revealed that approximately 20 clubs, including Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain, had not met break-even terms, where losses are limited to £37m (45m euros) over the previous two years. City announced combined losses of almost £149m during that period.
While it was assumed that bans would be handed out to clubs in the wrong, it now appears that after a week of haggling UEFA are likely to take a more lenient stance with fines and some kind of squad cap being imposed.
Speaking about the situation at his pre-West Bromwich Albion press conference Arsene Wenger said he expected UEFA to come down hard.
“There are rules to apply for the financial fair play. If you don’t respect them, you have to apply the rules. One of the rules is that normally you should be banned for the excess of the financial amount that is not justified, that is if you are £100million overboard, you should be punished for £100million of your wages bill in the Champions League.
“I want to see that respected, if that is not respected, then the financial fair play will have problems to be respected in the future because everyone will just not consider it at all. If it is not respected, of course we will feel let down.”
Not overly optimistic that bans will be imposed, Wenger concluded by suggesting that television money may well have an influence.
“I have thought about that problem and the media might play a part in that, because when UEFA sells the rights of the Champions League to a French TV station, it is very difficult to explain to them once they have paid the money that the best club in their country will not play in the competition, so that might be one of the reasons behind that.”
Ever since David Dein remarked in 2003 that, “Roman Abramovich has parked his Russian tanks on our lawn and is firing £50 notes at us,” Arsenal have had to fight on both the domestic and European fronts against sides with bottomless pits of cash. We’ve stubbornly stuck to our guns with regards the way we run the club in the hope that FFP eventually levels the playing field. That day is supposed to be upon us.
How UEFA react has huge ramifications for the future of football so it’ll be very interesting to see what they do. Let’s hope they don’t f*ck it up as always.