This maybe somewhat obscure to the readers of this blog, but today UEFA finally got around to stating that both Paris St Germain and Manchester City have broken their new 'fair play' rules. In short, these rules are designed to stop wealthy owners buying success and in the meantime wrecking clubs and competition.
It is, as ever, a big boys charter, designed to only allow already large clubs to remain large and to stop any uppity small clubs becoming big. Well, one woudl expect no less from a continental and corrupted insitution liek UEFA.
Manchester City do indeed count as upstarts given their history, as in many ways to PSG - founded only in 1970. Also both are owned by mega-rich Sheikhs who have poured money into the clubs and found dubious ways around the new rules - like selling IP rights for £55 million or stadium naming rights to a company not interested in changing the name of the stadium etc.
The thing is though, that UEFA's rules are clearly anti-competitive. On their wesbite they say this:
9) Is FFP in line with European law?So it is in line with policy aims, not qutie the same as saying it is within the law. The key part to me is what impact this will have on salaries and players - as was the case with the famous Bosman case that UEFA lost. Clearly, by limiting debts and expenditure players salaries will be reduced, after all up to 80% of clubs spending is on players salaries. So this move will reduce wages, which is anti-competitive and goes against the rights of contract law across the EU.
UEFA has been in permanent dialogue with the European Commission about financial fair play and has received continued support for this initiative. There is also a joint statement from the UEFA President and the EU commissioner for competition, emphasising the consistency between the rules and objectives of financial fair play and the policy aims of the EU commission in the field of state aid.
Clubs will challenge this ruling, and no doubt some players with a lot to lose will too. After all, they can indeed afford the expensive lawyers who can drag this case the ECHR as the highest arbiter.
So, I doubt this Fair Play thing will really work as it has little legal standing. UEFA may get lucky if the clubs decide they are not interested in the money and just pay a fine to ensure their seats at the top table...we'll see in a few days as they will put the players up to threaten UEFA if this is not the case.