Nyon (dpa) – Financial fair play will soon be part of European football history, followed by financial sustainability. The innovation, which Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn describes as an “important step”, is initially barely tangible for fans and interested parties.
What will change in the future, what will be the implications and will Financial Fair Play be discussed with the UEFA Executive Committee? The German press agency answers the most important questions about past and future monetary rules in top-flight football.
What is Financial Fair Play?
Financial Fair Play (FFP) is a control system for European club competitions. In principle, it should ensure that European Cup participants do not spend more than they earn. If a club lives beyond its means for a long time, UEFA can impose severe sanctions. UEFA always considers three consecutive calendar years.
The decisive factor is the so-called “balance result”, i.e. the difference between the relevant income and expenditure. UEFA monitors whether clubs are in deficit or surplus, allowing a negative difference in the millions to single digits. A larger deficit of up to 30 million euros should be able to be compensated by shareholders or “affiliated parties”. In December, UEFA fined a total of nine clubs and threatened with expulsion from Europe if debts were not repaid quickly.
What should change now?
Officially, the financial regulations are not even on the agenda of the UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Nyon this Thursday. However, the media unanimously reports that this is exactly what it should be about. President Aleksander Ceferin will then speak at a press conference. The new set of rules, which is to be decided soon, is expected to be introduced successively over the next three years.
The key points are: clubs should only be allowed to invest 70% of their budget in the team. In addition to transfer costs and salaries, this also includes consultant fees. In addition, deficits of up to 20 million euros per season should be able to be compensated by investors in the future. Although this is an increase from the previous framework, German clubs, among others, were able to prevent investors from having unlimited financial influence over big clubs. Many details still need to be worked out.
What is the most significant case to date?
It’s Manchester City. In 2020, the English top club was sentenced to two years of exclusion from the European Cup and a fine of 30 million euros “due to serious breaches” of financial rules – by UEFA, which has was the first to crack down on one of the really big ones. However, there was no dismissal as star manager Pep Guardiola’s club lodged an objection and successfully did so in Cas Sports Court. The ban was lifted and the fine reduced from 30 to 10 million euros.
Sanctions will also play one of the most important roles in the successor to the financial fair play model. Fines often don’t have the desired effect, especially at well-funded clubs. The new model could anchor that Champions League clubs must go to the Europa or the Europa Conference League. It would be a financial, sporting and image disaster for global clubs with high standards like City or Paris Saint-Germain.
What does the Bundesliga say?
Bavarian board boss Oliver Kahn was more than satisfied after the general meeting of the European club association ECA last week: “The introduction of financial sustainability as a successor to fair play financial is an important step. We have been working on this model in the ECA board with UEFA for many months. I am happy that we are now implementing it in this way.
At Sky, the former world goalkeeper spoke of a “further development” of the system and gave the objective for the years to come: “That at least a slight brake comes on wages or transfer fees. There are big changes happening there.” At ECA meetings, “it’s not just the talk and the coffee that’s being drunk,” Kahn said.
What other requests are circulating?
Kahn’s predecessor Karl-Heinz Rummenigge called for a “course correction” in European club football last fall given the financial difficulties of many clubs. “We need Financial Fairplay 3.0 which is rigorously and consistently implemented and which also includes a concrete catalog of sanctions,” said Rummenigge of the “Welt am Sonntag”.
Specifically, the longtime Bayern boss called the clear definition of the penalties. “If a club breaches financial fair play, they must not act in a gray area, but must know exactly what to expect, up to and including exclusion from the Champions League.” Rummenigge had also come out in favor of “fixed salaries for players”.