Thursday, 14 March 2013

The FIFA Financial Fair Play Rules

The latest financial figures posted from QPR have been nothing short of astonishing - announcing losses of nearly £90 million in just the last year. Alongside breaking their record transfer twice within the January window, the club has seen their wage bill rocket from £27million to £56million. Despite this substantial outlay on players since promotion, they still find themselves rooted to the bottom of the Premier League.

With the FIFA financial fair play rules widely expected to be introduced in time for the 2013/14 season, fans up and down the country are waiting with bated breath to see if the much mangled governing body can implement their rules effectively.

Well, if the fiasco over the World Cup bribes is anything to go by, then football fans may be waiting for a long time.

According to the UEFA website, their "football family" have agreed on the following:

• To introduce more discipline and rationality in club football finances 
• To decrease pressure on salaries and transfer fees and limit inflationary effect 
• To encourage clubs to compete with(in) their revenues 
• To encourage long-term investments in the youth sector and infrastructure 
• To protect the long-term viability of European club football 
• To ensure clubs settle their liabilities on a timely basis.

All sounds great on the outside, but personally I don't hold out too much hope, especially when you see teams like QPR spending as much as they did last winter. But of course it's not just them who are guilty of spending beyond their means, with Premier League clubs making a collective loss of £361million as of May last year.

The key men who are fundamentally in charge of whether these Fair Play rules are going to be enforced properly depend on two men - Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter.

Beleaguered FIFA president Sepp Blatters’ outrageous comments have got him in hot water over the years, none more so than claiming in January 2004 that women footballers "should wear tighter shorts." UEFA president Michel Platini - Blatter's “partner in crime” - isn’t far from controversy himself, his personal clanger coming after his ignorant comments over racism just before the start of Euro 2012.

"Any player who leaves the field of play will be booked," declared Platini at a press conference. Well, if he can't take racism seriously, then what are the chances of him taking the Fair Play rules seriously?

Furthermore, the revelations concerning bribes and other back-handed payments for the right to hold the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bordered on the ridiculous. The tournaments, which are being held in Russia and Qatar respectively, saw Blatter launch a "full inquiry" into allegations of bribery.

Like many fans, I was hoping this investigation would blow FIFA wide open and expose the dismal state the organisation is in. However, it became apparent quite quickly that under Blatter this will never happen. This is due to the fact that the investigation team (who Blatter hired himself) found a “lack of evidence” to suggest bribery.

You can imagine the celebrations FIFA members had when that was announced.

So, when it comes to lavishly rich teams such as Man City, Man United, Chelsea, PSG, etc. I hope Blatter and co. are strong enough to stop these teams bullying them into flexing the rules. Personally I would love to see the FIFA Fair Play rules work successfully, as it would make leagues more competitive with less spending and prevent from clubs “doing a Portsmouth”.

Of course, there are a few clubs in the Premier League who are prepared for the new regulations; two great examples are Arsenal and Newcastle United.

Arsenal are currently boasting profits of £37 million, while also seeing a rise in revenue of more than £10 million. Newcastle United on the other hand, are now breaking even after being in debt for five years and are expected to announce profits by the end of this season.

It’s all well and good looking impressive on a balance sheet, but this won’t be acceptable for us fans. As we all know at the end of the day, teams will be remembered for the trophies they’ve won, not whether if they make a profit. Therefore, clubs have a big decision to make – profit or trophies?

I know which one I would pick.

By Matt Lawson

What would you pick - profit or trophies? Tell us in the comments section below!

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!


  1. Best Article Yet!!!!

  2. Nice post Matt, will be genuinely interesting to see how clubs try and work around FFP once it is fully implemented.




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