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Financial Un-Fair Play Will Kill ‘Small’ Clubs – Just As Platini Planned

The footballing aristocracy breathed a sigh of relief when Michel Platini outlined the Financial Fair Play rules for UEFA in these last few years, they were relieved because amongst the pantheon of established footballing giants, other, ‘small’ clubs m…

The footballing aristocracy breathed a sigh of relief when Michel Platini outlined the Financial Fair Play rules for UEFA in these last few years, they were relieved because amongst the pantheon of established footballing giants, other, ‘small’ clubs managed to poke their heads in, and decided they liked it. Manchester City and Tottenham began to interfere with the natural order of things, and the truly aristocratic trio of Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal, still had not forgotten the meteoric rise of Chelsea into their world.

The rise of so many ‘small’ clubs alarmed the reactionary board of UEFA and so they decided to make the entire financial aspect of european football ‘fairer’, by decreeing that any club may only spend what it earns as revenue. This means that Real Madrid will have over 300 million pounds to do what it likes with, whilst Tottenham and Manchester City, have about 120 million pounds to spend. Which is not fair, which ever way you look at it. I am not even mentioning clubs which have not got access to large amounts of revenue of any kind, such as Wigan, because these new rules mean that clubs like this will be totally priced out in every aspect of the transfer market, which to me means that the club cannot be benefitted by any donations, or takeovers, so is stuck, languishing at the bottom of the premier league, and full credit to Wigan for staying there.

Commercial revenue stems from success on the pitch, and this in turn stems from having good enough players on the pitch. For clubs such as Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid, it is easy to attract world class players to their clubs, because of their extensive histories of success and glory. But take a different club that has ambitions to become great, but cannot attract world class players purely because of their history, and they also cannot attract players because of the promise of high wages, ambitious signings, and future silverware. They could not promise these things, because their revenue would be too low. The lack of world class players would then mean that there would be less success on the pitch, which would mean that there would be no opportunities to increase revenue. so the club would be imprisoned within the shackles of financial fair play rules.

These rules also mean that UEFA’s darlings, Barcelona, are able to keep their wage bill amongst the highest in the sporting world, as well as price out ‘smaller’ clubs in the transfer market, but as long as they keep making so much commercial revenue, then this is fair? No, it is not. What UEFA realises is that with ambitious owners, a club can become powerful, and big, and even challenge the mighty few established clubs, and they cannot have this, so they impose these farcical ‘Fair Play’ rules, to put everybody back into their place.

All of this means that Platini can sit back down into his big leather chair, after a hard day of crushing the dreams of ‘small’ clubs, and their loyal fans, and be satisfied that the old world order has been restored. And cannot be disturbed again.

Submitted by Football Friends




  1. Pete-o

    July 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Yes – ok. To a point. But does this include transfers too? As a Spurs fan, regretably we have sold some of our better players in the past a la Berbatov and Carrick, but we made substancial profits on these players. Wise buying is a way of generating funds for future investments. For Carrick cost us £2.5mil and was sold for £18m. Although I am not a fan of Platini, something needed to be done to prevent near dissaters such as Portsmouth. This is the first time in the history of sport such regulations have been introduced – they can in no way be perfect to begin with. I expect they will be reviewed given time. I beleive these rules have been introduced for the protection of we fans. Imagine being a pompey supporter for 30 years and what you would have gone through with your club so close to being closed for business – that would be heart-breaking.

  2. davspur

    July 14, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    I share your concerns but they are a bit misguided . The reason is because Madrid also have to pay massive wages and they are part of the profit margin clubs have to work in.Real Madrid paid 80 million to but one player and they also use loans of the Spanish goverment who wont be able to do this under new rules. The smaller clubs will get players on loan who need to conme of clubs wage bill this is a back door to a salary cap like Rugby . The major concerns with me will platinni throw out offending clubs because Chelsea City and Utd will all be in the red with the new rules and City doing a crafty deal with ther own company will be UFA first acid test City don’t own there ground the council and they will only get 5 million why?.

  3. Chambers

    July 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    For crying out loud is there anybody out there who didn’t think this anyway? It was obvious ( and recent Mancity events show ) that the super rich clubs will disregard it and find ways around any restrictions. The oil rich middle east and russia are laughing. Look at the fiasco over the WC? Money and corruption rule!!

  4. dave

    July 14, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    This is a very warped argument. At the moment you have teams like Man City, Chelsea, Barcelona, RM spending above and beyond their revenue generating ability. The FFP rules will limit this. The solution for the smaller clubs is simple. Any investment or donations you are able to attract, simply invest in revenue generating projects such as stadium expansion, international preseason tours,marketing campaigns. This is a more sustainable strategy whether FFP rules are there or not.

  5. StonyK

    July 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I agree with the author here. This Fair play basically is saying the smaller clubs will never have a chance to catch up ever. As a Liverpool fan its good because we generate a massive amount of revenue compared to most. Everton will have no chance of ever succeeding again – but for some reason this angers me. The premier league will get more boring and predictable.
    Yes something needs to be done to stop clubs crumbling – but there has to be something else.
    Also why is football any different to companies or house mortgages. If you can’t pay up you lose the asset. Its upto the banks lending the money to take the risk. If the club crumbles then TS.

  6. Curly Fries

    July 14, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Your argument is ridiculous.

    As it stands clubs like Real Madrid for example will outspend clubs like Spurs because they have a much bigger revenue and they can service their debts (even if it means using authority money some times!)

    These changes mean that clubs will only spend what they bring in – so clubs like Real Madrid will outspend clubs like Spurs.

    What’s the difference? Only that it helps stop teams from going bankrupt chasing a dream. Of course, this only applies to UEFA comps so in the PL for example your lesser teams can sdpend some tycoons millions to win things.

    I think these rules will level the playing field a little – and help safeguard the future of clubs

    • Kev

      July 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm

      Madrid 5th most valuable sporting team according to Forbes.
      Guess who’s number 1?

      • Toby

        July 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm

        Does it start with B and end with arcelona?

        • Kev

          July 15, 2011 at 12:36 am

          No. It starts with M ends with anchester united, and is worth twice as much as Barcelona.

  7. fan

    July 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I have not really read enough off this to make a comment, but I will do so anyway. UEFA, FIFA, IOC are unfortunately all corrupt organisations with way to much power. The “Financial fair play rules” seems to be protective for some clubs, but the intention off preventing other clubs to get into the profitable CL tournament if that is the intention are plain stupid. Football is killing itself.

  8. Spurs_est1882

    July 14, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Such a doom mongering article, and so deluded. Football has been around for about 150 years, with money only being such an influence in the past 20ish. Small clubs (real small ones) will be able to generate revenue by developing youth, and pick up star players when larger, richer, clubs have an excess (hence the 25man rule). Large clubs will only have the players they need, as they do now, but now smaller clubs will have more power to say “We cant pay that much” because their rivals will have to say the same. Not like now where clubs can gamble with their futures just out of hope, or worse, get some mega rich guy come in and throw money around. I long to go back to the days of small growth based on merit, and development. The FFP will enable teams to invest extra cash into revenues that will hold real LONG term results, such as youth and stadium. The FFP will regain some natural order, and clubs will still be able to compete because as the years go on, the gaps will close and it will be a real gap. Not like now where Spurs and Everton have closed the gap, slowly but surely then suddenly a Billionaire sweeps in and destroys it.

  9. Dave

    July 14, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    The only real option to create a level playing field, is to introduce american style salary caps, the caps would have to be implemented europe wide by uefa, perhaps enforced by making it a requirement for champions league entry. There was once salary caps in British football and surprise surprise small clubs were able to compete. I don’t know about you, but I would rather see an unpredictable league with a different winner every year then the same old teams winning over and over.

    • Toby

      July 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm

      But players would still go to the successful clubs (Real, Barca etc) because there is a large chance of success and they would save more money allowing them to buy even more players. This would stop smaller clubs who come across a bit of money from spending it.

  10. dickie

    July 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I really like your take on this; I genuinely hadn’t considered that matter from the perspective you propose (more fool me). Realistically, “smaller” clubs will not generate enough revenue from sales to make up for their lack of commercial power.

  11. pete borota

    July 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    FFP is flawed from the outset. How can Madrid and Barca be allowed to negotiate their on contracts, while the rest of their league fight for the scraps. It already creates an unfair playing field for the PL’s collective negotiations which is far better for the health of the PL.

  12. jonnysingapore

    July 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    this is not a smart article.

    It doesn’t stop smaller clubs attracting big investment – see Man City. Accountancy is your flexible friend – as the banks, lawyers and govts show and Man City will demonstrate.

    Wigan is unlikely to ever get a big benefactor but it could go bust very quickly.

    However, I’m not convinced that UEFA should be sticking its oar into commercial matters. It should stick to the football.
    Commercial matters should be handled by a different body.
    Going bust must be part of the picture. It’s a commercial reality. What’s wrong with it? The assets sold off and a new investor takes it over.

    damn low season. too much rubbish written. damn platini and fifa. they ar the problem.

  13. AntiOnan

    July 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm


    It all sounded okay until you avoided the biggest magnet:CASH.

    Right now you have PSG and a Russian (or is it Ukrainian) club just bought by billionaires and both will be joining the “exclusive club set” just like MC will. If Old Kent Tigers are bought by a billionaire then they too will join the elite and to keep Platini happy all they have to do is seat 60-100k and even if they pay people to do so it wont matter as MONEY is all that counts. Look at PNE whom RM, THFC & countless other clubs admired and copied but alas no king or dictator to give them a massive advantage and no billionaire sugar daddy.
    What about Ajax, PSV & Fejenoord who can no longer compete in Europe along with Gothenberg and Rosenberg, Steau etc etc?
    It is all about %$^#@%g MONEY now as you NO LONGER WIN COMPETITIONS , YOU BUY THEM!!!

    • col

      July 14, 2011 at 6:00 pm

      Spot on comment some of the teams you mentioned were truly great teams of European football but because they were not purchased by a sleazy moneybags they can no longer compete in the European trophy competition.So when you recall those great clubs playing in Europe while Chelsea were schlepping it around the lower leagues of English football and their fans try to convince us that they did not buy their position.

  14. Dan

    July 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    F.F.P or not,chelsea will still attract big players,unlike clubs like say wigan,portsmouth or arsenal.

  15. redmatt

    July 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    The smaller clubs will be ok. Because they will be feeding th bigger clubs and demanding larger amounts for th players they sell. Ther is huge profit 4 small clubs to gain than th bigger clubs. Bigger clubs will jus av to spend wisely. Think all will come good in couple of seasons wen all creases ironed out and loopholes av been closed. Wont be perfect t start. But its a start to fair play across th board but will only work if platini an them lot enforce the rules. Hope it works. Make th prem more exitin. YNWA

    • Kev

      July 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm

      Wage bills will be the problem, and players are getting taken from smaller clubs at a younger age. Bosman rule is difficult for smaller clubs.
      Manchester united, real and barca will never have wage bill issues. Turnover and club values are massive.
      City and Chelsea could have major problems. Especially city if their joke etihad deal gets the chop.
      If everyone in Manchester supported city (like idiots like to say.). They would be able to build a 120,000 seat stadium and fill it. Sadly for them, that definetly isn’t the case. Will they ever have 333 million fans (according to forbes). I think not.

    • JohnnyB

      July 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm

      Try again Redmatt.
      “demanding larger amounts for th players they sell”

      “Bigger clubs will jus av to spend wisely.”

      You can’t have both.

  16. pete borota

    July 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm


    Nice try, but it still creates a glass ceiling. You cannot use transfer sales as part of your revenue stream. Also if they sell their best players and cannot invest because of limited fan base (with success you cannot drive a large increase in your supporter base)

  17. Kev

    July 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Can’t wait for ffp.
    Forbes have just valued us as the most valuable sports team in the world. The 2nd highest football team is Madrid at 5th.
    It will safeguard peoples jobs at smaller clubs. Portsmouth n Leeds are prime examples.
    Businesses can’t be run irresponsibly. People can talk all they want about our Debt, but to anyone that knows anything bout finance. Our level of debt isn’t an issue when we’re worth £1.3 billion.
    Don’t get me wrong. I still hate those f#ckin yank gnomes that own the club. But even with them still there, only Madrid and barca are close to having the financial power we will. Ha ha haaaa

    • Ryan

      July 14, 2011 at 11:20 pm

      And barca don’t even need this so called financial power that you seem to be so keen to gloat about. Money doesn’t equal success as united so clearly demonstrated at wembley!! Hahaha!

      • Kev

        July 15, 2011 at 12:38 am

        4 champs league finals in 4 years and premier league champs u w#nker.
        Most successful team in premiership era, league winners 19 times.

        • Ryan

          July 15, 2011 at 10:08 am

          And still only won it 3 times. All the more embarrassing when a team half your value makes Forbes number one team look so average. Ouch

  18. Kev

    July 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Roman must regret buying Chelsea.
    They’re a small club with a small fan base.
    No point building a bigger stadium, cos u couldn’t fill it. I think I’m right in sayin ur crowds have only grew by 4000 since the russian bought ur trophies.
    I remember Peter Kenyon sayin u wld b bigger than us in 4 years of roman arriving.
    As for city, I think it’s hilarious etihad translates in English to united.

    • JohnnyB

      July 14, 2011 at 7:28 pm

      they can’t build a bigger stadium because
      a)as you say, they wouldn’t fill it.
      b) there is nowhere to build one

    • Ryan

      July 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm

      It translates as union you simple clown

      • Kev

        July 15, 2011 at 12:39 am

        No it doesn’t.

  19. Clint

    July 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Meh, not really. It is designed to protect from themselves. Look at Portsmouth. “Small” club spending more than it earned and coming close to liquidation as a result.It is also to prevent the likes of “small club” Man City from challenging the established order by having the blessings of an extremely wealthy owner, pricing teams out of the transfer market with excessive bids, only to release them 12 months later. And with high salaries and a refusal to sell to “competitors”, it has made football really reallyunfair, because no matter how well Wigan play, no matter how many fans fill the stadium and no matter their revenue, they will never match Man City or Chelsea. The so called “big three” you say Platini is trying to protect have spent decades getting to where they are. they didn’t start off more advantaged than Wigan or Man City or Tottenham, they won on the pitch, brought in the fans, built bigger stadiums and continued to win. That is why they are the “big trio”, it’s because they earned their status, Man City and Chelsea have bought and behave as badly as Portsmouth did. FFP is supposed to remove unfair football, by bringing billionaires Man City to the same level as say Shaktar Donetsk, who win year in year own in Ukraine but stand no chance against a team that hasn’t won a title in decades, just because they have rich owners. FFP means clubs have to make the money they want to spend, which is the case for 90% of clubs in europe. Just because some small teams in England are feeling left out doesn’t mean the game has to be turned on it’s head. I say the FFP is right, but it has to be stricter.

  20. Kev

    July 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Etihad have just signed a £400m sponsorship contract with City for the naming rights to the stadium, shirt, and smaller commercial revenues.

    This deal eclipses the biggest sponsorship deals on the planet.

    Why?? Cuz Etihad are owned by the cousin (I think) of the owner of City themselves.

    Does this work?? No.

    I cant see the FFP working unless policed properly and strongly without bias or discrepancy. We all know how often that happens in football.

    • Kev

      July 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm

      I could agree more Kev.

  21. Austingunner

    July 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    They should just institute a system similar to the NFL in the United State, which would benefit the smaller clubs and keep the big clubs from monopolizing all of the trophies.

    • Kev

      July 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm

      It wouldn’t work. US system is based around drafting players from really high level college teams, that in some cases are almost as big as NFL, NHL, NBA teams ( Michigan for example).
      Relegation also isn’t an issue in NBA, NFL. Once ur in, ur in.

  22. Clint

    July 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Sheik Mansour owns Man City, who make a loss of 200m a season. His brother owns Etihad airlines which has never made a profit either. Now Etihad is sponsoring Man City with a deal 4 times larger than hugely more succesful Arsenal. If this stands, then either the market is fucked or UEFA are being unfair and are favouriting mega-wealthy owners and their clubs. Exactly the opposite of their objective. Man City needs to be stopped.

  23. Curly Fries

    July 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Dave – that would be great.

    Kev – United’s debt is easily managed and Glazer has done well to pay off his own debts using your fanbase to do it

    • Kev

      July 14, 2011 at 4:24 pm

      I know what the glaziers have done.
      The point I was making, you agree with.
      Our debt is easily managed. So all the idiot Liverpool, city fans etc that say we have no spending power because of our debts are stupid.
      Ffp will make us even stronger.

  24. AntiOnan

    July 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Kev…sorry but I was around when MU were relegated and RM bought their CL titles care of Franco. (anyone who was good enough could play for Spain & RM)

    MU are no more entitled to be called the “best” than are RM or Chelsea. They all reek of money leverage at best and other leverage at worst. Rich boy’s toys they have all become and worry about when they lose interest literally or metaphorically.

    • Kev

      July 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      Manchester united have been named the most valuable sports club in the world 1.83 billion, with 333 million fans. Chelsea can’t be compared they aren’t even the biggest club in London.
      Only real and barca are comparable in terms of value and fanbase. Fact, not opinion.
      Age doesn’t necessarily lead to wisdom, as you prove

  25. jroc

    July 14, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Nail hit firmly on the head!
    Ill bet anyone that says this article is wrong is a fan of a “big” club, ffp only allows the rich to become richer, it means there will never be another tomorrow, portsmouth or blackmail coming from nowhere and challenging amongst the big clubs, league one and two clubs will never be able to build and grow and it will be the same few clubs each season battling promotion and relegation, bristol rivers for instance have nurtured many strikers that have gone on to be decent premiership players they sold them all for no more than a million a piece and due to debts etc they havent been able to build or replace those sold and that is without ftp!

  26. Ryan

    July 14, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    kev, would that be barca, the team that keeps spanking united over and over? They seem to grow players on trees while united throw a cash cow at superstars like bebe.

    • Kev

      July 15, 2011 at 12:27 am

      Your missing my point barca r the best team. But utd will be the most powerfull under FIFA fair play comes in. Barca are worth half what utd are u idiot.
      We signed Hernandez aswell as bebe by the way.

  27. rebrov

    July 15, 2011 at 12:08 am

    What is even more galling is that Chelsea have spent hundreds of millions to become regulars in the champions league with all the revenue that goes with it. This in turn has led to them having a lot of glory hunting supporters (where were you when you were shit?) who buy their merchandise.

    Now they are saying, i’m alright Jack, oull the ladder up. No one else will be able to do what we have done.

    the article is spot on. Football is dying

  28. Nick

    July 18, 2011 at 4:13 am

    While I was reading, I found myself agreeing completely, while it will eliminate the levels of debt, it will also benefit large clubs with large revenue streams immensely. BUT, the FFP is only of consequence to those who are playing/aim to play in Europe. True, it is not entirely beneficial to Tottenham who is on the fringes having been in the CL last season but missed out in 2011.

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