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UEFA FFP Background

By: Ted Fred Franky, Refuting misinformation, June 16, 2023  12 months ago

A brief look at the background to FFP

Financial Fair Play or FFP is an instrument lobbied for by the big European clubs to preserve the status qou.

If it was about fair play and good governance it would contain two simple rules:-

Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA3
Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA3

  • a wage cap and
  • a requirement to run each club at a profit.

However it does none of this, it’s a convoluted system that allows clubs to spend 80% of their turnover on players wages and transfer fees regardless of their other liabilities, costs or investment.

For example:

  • This means that academies can be built and run at enormous losses and then the players produced, sold to boost the clubs turnover. All of the big clubs do this, City built a massive academy which has sold players to the tune of £400m in the last 6 years, Chelsea have over 50 graduate players on loan, if they got £10m for each that’s £500m.
  • You can invest in the stadium and corporate facilities to boost capacity and the amount you can charge, but this expenditure does not affect FFP. This is what City and Liverpool did expanding their stadiums and look at how much Spurs spent on their stadium £750m and Everton will spend £500m on their new one. Yet these costs will take 50 years or more to recoup from the revenue they generate, so it’s not commercially viable, yet they’ve done it so they can boost turnover to spend more on players within FFP.

Most top clubs carry debt, West Ham’s owners charge the club a commercial rate of 8%, Liverpool’s owners charge a nominal rate of 0.5%. If Liverpool owners FSG charged 8% on the £400m debt the club had when FSG took over that would be £32m a year, but they only charge £2m, so that’s a fiddle that leaves Liverpool £30m a year better off. Hicks and Gillette were charging 12% on the money owed to them and Nat West 10% on the remainder, so it really could be more than this.

Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA3
Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA3

As was proven in court at CAS, City hadn’t done anything wrong or broken any of the FFP rules. In fact if you read the CAS report the whole thing was a sham from start to finish. The only evidence against City was 6 heavily redacted emails which Der Spiegel suggested meant City were cheating FFP. A month later the editor of Der Spiegel was sacked and prosecuted for publishing false stories that were made up. When Rick Parry (Liverpool Fan) started the investigation he publicly stated that they would prosecute City, what he should have done first was try to find out if they’d done anything wrong. It turns out 5 of the emails were sent before FFP was introduced, and the 6th was two other emails spliced together to suggest wrong doing. During this period City’s accounts were prepared and audited by a combination of Anderson, PWC and Deloitte. So as above board as they could be. Rick Parry recruited an Australian forensic accountancy firm to try to find fault with them. None was found.

When City were originally charged they were not allowed to put in a defence by UEFAs arbitration panel, so effectively lost the case in default CAS stated that had City been allowed to defend themselves UEFA should have cleared them and that this was wrong.

Three reasons below are why City were cleared:

  • CAS stated that UEFA had failed to make the case as the only evidence they had was the discredited Der Spiegel article.
  • CAS allowed City to put forward their defence and showed the original emails in full and it was clear that they were completely unrelated to the allegations.
  • CAS also determined that under UEFA’s own rules the case was time barred.

Most articles (and media pundits) that slag City off only quote the last reason, however it is clear from the first two, they had done nothing wrong.

Is CAS bent?

I doubt it, they have 21 barristers at the top of their profession who specialise in sport. About 6 of them have detailed knowledge of football. To make proceedings fair both parties get to pick one, and if they can’t agree on a third, CAS will appoint the third to form the panel.

Man City Fans Sky and White Traditional Bar Scarf
Man City Fans Sky and White Traditional Bar Scarf

In this case City suggested the third and UEFA agreed. Anyone who bothered to read the CAS report, would see that what this is true.

The CAS report is here.

The most laughable part is the BBC head sport journalist Dan Roan (Liverpool Fan), who wrote this report:

Dan Roan Report on City being cleared by CAS

In it he uses the phrase “Blatant Disregard” three times to describe what the CAS panel thought of Manchester City’s approach, but if you read the CAS report above the phrase appears once in the evidence UEFA presented. It’s not what CAS said at all.

Unfortunately a lot of the media in the UK has completely misrepresented what actually happened, and too many people believe the rubbish that is written, especially Liverpool supporters because they want to believe it’s true. It’s a case of if you throw enough mud some will stick.

Man City Nero Scarf - Sky/Navy - One Size
Man City Nero Scarf - Sky/Navy - One Size

You could go on about Sportswashing and human rights abuses in Abu Dhabi but the club is not owned by the state. It is owned by Sheik Mansour a wealthy individual and a two minority shareholders (Chinese and US investment firms).

However even if it was controlled by the state, the fact remains the UK’s human rights records is also pretty poor by comparison,

  • just have a look at Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International or
  • consider the murder by the met police of a Brazilian electrician,
  • extraordinary rendition leading to torture or
  • the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan or
  • watch the House of Saud on the BBC

and you’ll see how corrupt the UK is.

What baffles me is Liverpool’s main sponsor Standard Chartered have been fined twice to the total of US$3.2billion by the US and UK for money laundering for numerous terrorist organisations around the world, ISIS amongst others. There will be Liverpool supporters in the British and US services killed and injured by ISIS using weapons bought with the money Standard Chartered laundered for them. Yet to Liverpool supporters they’re proud to wear the shirts with this company name on them, if that’s not sportswashing what is? Why is there no criticism of this in te Birtish media?

The bottom line is all these top clubs do everything they can to cheat the system and it would be stupid to suggest any were squeaky clean.

On the issue of FFP, City were cleared of all charges. Hopefully when Rui Pinto is tried in Portugal this year for blackmail, we might find out why he fabricated the emails about City in Der Spiegel. Rui Pinto has presented himself as a whistleblower and pleads his innocence, yet his track record of stealing money from Caledonia Bank accounts in the Cayman Islands suggests otherwise.