Could UEFA Be Set To Tilt The FFP Balance?

21 May 2020 | Finance & Regulation
Could UEFA Be Set To Tilt The FFP Balance?
It is fair to say that Financial Fair Play (FFP) is a regulation within football that certainly splits opinion. Some see it as a framework that stops the true elite from running off into the sunset and leaving the rest behind, while others may argue a different viewpoint.

A viewpoint that suggests, if you were not dining at the top table when FFP was installed back in 2011, what chance do you have of getting an invite and although there is a modicum of truth to that, it could all be set to change.

With the coronavirus pandemic placing financial pressure on the global economy and subsequently the footballing world, balance sheets are not going to be as bristling in the next few weeks and months and this is a situation that UEFA are keen to address.

In a recent interview, UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin said the following:

"We think it's important to adapt it because the situation for the clubs is not easy and we are all in the same boat here, but it's again too soon to share details of how we will do it because the clubs are included in the conversation and the leagues are also included in the conversation."

Which means although nothing is set in stone just yet, revision is a foot and with the landscape of European football looking like it will change forever, it could mean good news for clubs that are perceived as the have-nots.

Take Newcastle United for example, with Mike Ashley ready to end his tenure as Magpies owner and sell to the Saudi based Private Investment Fund (PIF), supporters of the club are already dreaming up a luxurious transfer window shopping list.

Of course, some of the hoped-for targets could be deemed as nothing more than wishful thinking and whether household names will swap the Santiago Bernabeu for St James’ Park remains to be seen.

At the same time, a change in FFP regulations may at least offer Newcastle the opportunity to break the Premier League’s glass ceiling and in theory make England’s top tier even more competitive than it already is.

With the FIP hoping to awake the sleeping giant of Newcastle, they certainly won’t be planning to do so on a meagre budget and with the ability to spend a handsome amount, they will need an easing in regulation to do so.

Should that happen in the near future, all of a sudden the club from the North East of England will be looking up the table, than opposed to their usual angle of nervously over their shoulders and the potential pitfalls of relegation to the EFL Championship.

While its not just Newcastle who stand to benefit from a relaxation of FFP either, this could also spell good news for clubs elsewhere in Europe and although it may not break the dominance of Bayern Munich, PSG or Juventus, it could at least offer some more competition across the continent

The argument has always been that FFP was designed to keep the elite ringfenced from the rest and although the intention was to stop ‘financial doping’, it has all but created a status quo within UEFA’s circle of governance.

Critics will argue that a change to FFP regulations have long been overdue and although it has taken an unprecedented global crisis to bring any amendments forward, they will be optimistic of a football’s new era.

Admittedly change will not happen overnight, but at least the soundbite from the UEFA president suggests a step in a positive direction and for all those clubs that find themselves on the outside looking in, they may just be celebrating domestic and European success in the near distant future.


Written by Dan Tracey

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