Tuesday 29 April 2014

Football ; UEFA Financial Fair play is a legal mess

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?
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.
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.

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.


MorristheMiner said...

These has been some talk of preventing clubs from registering players for Europe. So Man city might be told any player who's value is greater than 'x' cannot be registered. Or the total value paid for players must not exceed 'x millions'

Or is that is too difficult, clubs deemed to have broken the rules will not be allowed to register additional players for europe after the initial 25 allocation. So new transfers or injured could not be replaced.

Sounds a simple way to do it.

or..follow the FA and give a points deduction. - 3 points would shake up the clubs.

CityUnslicker said...

I doubt they will get any punishment effective for next season due to the legal challenges.

Elby the Beserk said...

Worth noting that City took on two of the Deloittes accountants that UEFA used to create FFP (and yes, correct, the purpose of FFP is to cement for ever the cartel of "big" clubs in European football. We kicked the door down just as they were closing it.

All the noise is that this will be a slap on the wrists. I suspect that if it is not, we'll put UEFA in court till the end of time. ANd on that note, the lawyer who handled the Marc Bosman case (remember Bosman - he changed football for ever by taking power from the clubs and handing to the players) has I gather lodged a case along the lines of restraint of trade.

Look at my face? Am I bovvered? No, all the more so as our finances are heading at speed in the right direction, with outgoings stabilised and revenue rising faster than any other club in the world.

It seems that in the eyes of the oaf Platini, speculating to accumulate is not on, whereas a leveraged cash cow is just fine.

Oh God - text Captcha again.

SumoKing said...

The ECHR is the Court of Human rights which oversees the Convention on Human rights and the general want of Govs to beat up domestic flag burners. It clashes with the UK quite hard because the UK is unusual in not limiting the power of the legislature through a written constitution so Judges saying "no" comes as something of a shock, unlike the US, France, Germany or indeed everywhere else.

For EC Treaty matters you need the European Court of Justice or "ECJ". There are 2 branches. 1. Abuse of a dominant position and 2. Interference with the common market (art 81)

Interference probably would crop up here and I am not sure if the derogations would get UEFA out of this. So... a good time to set up a lobbying consultancy.


Blue Eyes said...

I do think that UEFA has been acting anti-competitively. According to UEFA, UEFA trumps contract law: Chelsea and Atletico agreed that Atletico would not field the goalkeeper on loan from Chelsea, against Chelsea. Now, it might be reasonable to say that one club cannot put pressure on another in this way but is UEFA the right forum for such a decision?

I assume that none of this will go to court while the money keeps on rolling in.

Electro-Kevin said...

It's only big boy's stuff while there are suckers prepared to pay for it.

Frankly I can't abide football.

What makes grown men want to be herded like cattle ?

Blue Eyes said...

I don't know EK, why *do* people take the train?


Electro-Kevin said...

Touche' Blue.

The railway isn't the way I would have it.

When I joined BR I took a 50% pay cut from my police constable salary (and loss of early retirement) and - having been a long suffering commuter - genuinely wanted to make things better.

Not my fault.

Not my fault.

Not my fault.

Elby the Beserk said...

Why I love football...


Bill Quango MP said...

Creen que todo ha terminado. Ahora es

Elby the Beserk said...

Just so, BQ. "Some people are on the pitch" :-)

Gary Neville, who drove me mad as a player but has turned out to be a pundit par excellence, says it can't work


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