Manchester City face £50m FFP fine but what would be the impact?

Yesterday it was revealed that Uefa were set to hand Manchester City a £50million fine for breaching the rules set by Financial Fair Play.

It is understood that the fine would be spread across three seasons, which equates to around £16.7million per season (just pocket change to Sheikh Mansour).

The sanctions will also reportedly include a limit on the size of the squad that they are able to register for next season’s Champions League. It is understood that their limit will be 21 players rather than the 25 that is usually allowed.

To make matters more difficult for City, eight of the 21 must be home-grown players.

The Manchester Evening News have since reported that City are fighting the sanctions, but do they really have any grounds?

FFP’s rules state that no club can make losses of more than €45million (£37million) over the past two seasons. And yet Manchester City are said to have trebled that figure, posting reported losses of £149million.

They may be able to afford to make such losses; after all, Sheikh Mansour’s personal wealth is estimated to be around the £20billion mark. But that is not the point.

The fact is City along, with Paris Saint-Germain, have reportedly broken rules (however restrictive they may be) that were agreed by Uefa’s financial control body. 

When it comes to deciding the punishment you get every Tom, Dick and Harry on social media suddenly becoming FFP experts, claiming they should be thrown out of Europe and deducted Premier League points.

Of course these are the most severe punishments, but Uefa was never going to slap such sanctions on the first clubs to ever breach these new regulations.

Uefa does not like to make examples of clubs; this can be seen through the minute fines that are placed on clubs whose players or supporters were found guilty of racism. Uefa fined Serbia £65,000, Lazio £32,500
 and Porto £16,700 for racially abuse.

Should City and PSG have faced harsher penalties? That conclusion is difficult to come to. Fining a club with an owner as wealthy as the Sheikh £50million is probably equivalent to fining the average Joe a fiver.

Also fining a club for overspending seems illogical when FFP aims to make more clubs break even.

City and PSG’s emergence could be looked at this way; both clubs have grown so exponentially over the past few seasons that it is difficult to see how they were ever expected to pass FFP regulations.

They both spend huge sums on wages and transfers so that they can compete in their leagues and across Europe. Without this investment neither club would be anywhere near the position that they hold today.

How is a club expected to improve without inorganic growth in the short-term? City are losing money now and might continue to do so for a few seasons yet, but it is guaranteed there is a plan in place to eventually break even.

Look at Chelsea as an example; Roman Abramovich spent vast sums of money to make them a European powerhouse, and now they comply with FFP’s regulations.

City will likely be the last British club to ever experience billionaire bankrolling, as FFP makes it too difficult to invest significantly in football clubs.

This is a shame because the emergence of first Chelsea firstly and then City has dramatically improved the competitiveness of the Premier League over the past 10 years.

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