Big Clubs Trying To Circumvent Financial Fair Play Rules

Alan Pardew is concerned that the big  clubs will find various ways to circumvent the Financial Fair Play Rules being introduced by UEFA.

The Etihad Stadium

Basically the rules are meant to make football clubs balance their books, and they are restricted at only paying out  what they can bring in in revenues.

But some clubs, Manchester City is a good example, are starting to artificially inflate their income,  with what look to be artificial and illegal deals.

This is what Alan Pardew told the Sunday Sun today:

“I saw a worrying report this week on that which did worry me. It said that the big clubs are beginning to manoeuvre around it with commercial deals and ways of finding a loophole,” 

“Of course they’re going to have finance to throw at that in any shape or form that they want,  and it might become even more unbalanced.”  “That is something that the authorities need to really look at that and keep an eye.”

“Where we sit, we fit in quite nicely with that. Your Napolis and Athletic Biboa, who have a great chance of winning the Europa League. Clubs like that, we could come to the fore.”

“But it needs to work and I’m not sure they have got it all nailed down.”  “If we’re going to say it’s fair it needs to be policed. I think UEFA and Platini need to have a look at it.”

“If we want to even the market up in terms of spending let’s do it. Let’s attack it full blooded – if we’re going to do it.”

Good words from Alan there,  and it’s  a little worrying that teams like Chelsea, who lost £70M in the last financial year,  and Manchester City, who lost £194M, are still planning on spending big money on new players this summer.

One example of what Alan’s talking about is the Manchester City club naming their stadium The Etihad, and they have a £400M deal over 10 years for that from Etihad Airlines.

But it seems a sweetheart deal,  and is way out of sync with the real value of the naming right of the stadium, and compare that to the £2.8M a year Arsenal are getting for the naming rights of their stadium from Emirates Airlines.

Etihad are owned by the Abu Dhabi government,  and the airline has close ties with Manchester City owner, Sheikh Mansour,  who is himself a member of the Abu Dhabi Royal family.

In business, those deals are not allowed, and they shouldn’t be allowed in football, because  football is becoming a big global business.

A similar thing would be if Mike Ashley gave Newcastle £40M a year for the naming rights  to St. James’ Park, when they are probably worth only £10M a year – if that.

Hey, that might not be a bad idea, but it just wouldn’t be legal, since there are obvious conflicts of interest there.

But UEFA must ensure the Financial Fair Play Rules for European clubs are followed, and they’ve been dragging their feet in not yet saying the Etihad deal is invalid.

Comments welcome.