Financial Fair Play Rules – Newcastle And Football’s Only Hope

According to manager Alan Pardew, Mike Ashley’s vision for Newcastle to become a big club again,  is to qualify for the Champions League, but just how soon we can do that without more than a £3M net outlay in the summer, is difficult to contemplate.

Mike Ashley – wants Newcastle in the Champions League – on the cheap

This is what Alan Pardew had told the local press last week during his press conference:

“For Mike Ashley, the finance of the club and the growth of the club is all about the Champions League.” 

After Newcastle surprised a lot of people last season, including the fans, and finished in 5th place, we were hoping that the squad could be improved significantly over the summer.

And although the squad is probably better than it was last year at this time, many fans think this was the time to improve the squad  significantly,  and hopefully allow Newcastle to challenge for a Champions League place this season.

But while we may still do that, it’s going to be very difficult, although an opening may come in the form of the Financial Fair Play rules being introduced by UEFA, and President Michel Platini threatening to ban  those clubs from European competition, who do not balance their books.

Football financier Vinay Bedi is a Divisional Director for Brewin Dolphin, the UK’s largest client investment managers, and has been involved in the flotation of a number of football clubs, and he had this to say in the Newcastle Journal today:

“The simple fact is that across Europe it seems to be the clubs that spend the money that do tend to compete in the Champions League.”  “The Deloitte survey shows that since the Premier League came into force, the clubs that spend the most money are consistently forming the top four.”

There’s always exceptions to the rule, and they are the clubs that overachieve. A lot of people believe that Newcastle United did overachieve last season because they weren’t fifth-highest spenders last season in terms of either fees or wages but they managed to beat teams that had spent a lot more.

“The question is whether it is possible for a club to overachieve on such a consistent basis that they can become a part of that top four and so far, you’d have to say that no club has been able to do that in recent years.”   “If the players are overachieving they might want to move on to a club that has a more generous spending policy and that may extend to other parts of the club.”

“Financial Fair Play could change things profoundly, but we need to know more about how UEFA will enforce it. Will they really tell Manchester City that they are banned from the Champions League if they win the Premier League?”

“How long would it take before Manchester City and other elite clubs in Europe set up their own competition if that happens?”  “If UEFA are going to be as tough as they say they are, it might open the door for the next tier of clubs and that would give Newcastle, Liverpool and others an opportunity to make the top four.”

If Manchester City and other clubs are banned from European competition, and they then go off and  and  form their own league as Vinay Bedi  suggests – we far better just give up.

And then the best football teams in Europe will simply be the ones who spend the most money, as Chelsea and Manchester City have proved in England, and QPR and PSG are now trying to prove, after Billionaires bought the clubs over the last year or so.

If that stuff is allowed to continue, and the Financial fair Play rules are not effective,   how can we keep competition in football?

Why not just  announce that whichever clubs spend the most money will be the most successful – and after all that’s the way it’s been in football recently.

If Swindon Town (to choose this great little club only as an example) had spent as much money as Manchester City have over the last four years – they would probably now be the Premier League Champions.

Not too many people would disagree with that, and that’s one reason the Financial Fair Play Rules are so important – if they fail so might football.

31 comments so far

  • Dannyo

    Sep 4, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Comment #1

    Wait and see is all we can say, wait and see…

  • NottsGeordie

    Sep 4, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #2

    A video to lift spirits?! Seriously what is this s**t?!

    We drew against Aston Villla. People are acting like we just got relegated. F**king hell people get a grip.

  • Widowmaker

    Sep 4, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #3

    We looked up to Mike and now he is expecting UEFA to do something. Mike, you will know how we felt. 🙂


    Sep 4, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #4

    No they will find a loop hole and be fine. The clubs would have researched all this and surely they must know a way to Get around it since they keep spending so much


    Sep 4, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #5

    Lol yeah. Could be worse. WE could be Liverpool and have just one point instead of four.

  • SuperShearer

    Sep 4, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #6

    So hard to enforce financial fair play but City’s, relative, low spending this summer might be an indication they’re willing to play by these rules. Real, Barca and Man Utd will never have huge issues with these rules as they’re revenue is always very high. Quite where all this doom and gloom for The Toon is coming from I have no idea. Yes we drew with Villa, our players weren’t up to scratch. BUT it’s early season, players like Cabaye barely had a preseason and our squad is considerably stronger than last year. Did no one else see Bigi’s league debut? He looked class, and we got him for £1 Mill….That’s the way to run a club.

  • NottsGeordie

    Sep 4, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #7

    *Clubs can spend now all they want, that has nothing to do with it. But when it kicks into play, thats when the bigger clubs will APPA|REN|TLY have to stop spending so much. That’s why Chelsea/Man City are buying young players. SO that when the FFP rules kick in, they don’t have to spend money on players and will therefore be close to breaking even.

    Teams still need to get rid of a lot of the wage bill, though. Which is why Man City and Chelsea have been getting rid of the dead wood.

  • Peter Beardsley

    Sep 4, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #8

    Sorry for re post…..

    Does anyone else think we should switch Jonas and Santon?




  • hdavid23

    Sep 4, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #9

    they should do this NBA style… draft system, if a player from outside the PL wants to come to the PL, they can only do that as free agents, and when the draft class is complete, the worst team picks first, the best team picks last… clubs can only sign free agents, and only those who spent their last season in the same league… like if Simmo’s contract runs out next season, PL teams can sign him without any restriction, but teams from other leagues cannot, unless he goes to their draft… teams could also trade players, for players of the same value or draft picks, and there would be a salary cap, and a whole salary system, like in the NBA..

  • AlwaysTOON

    Sep 4, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #10

    hi guys, I have a question for you.

    My class are going to London in october, and we’re taking the bus to Newcastle to see Newcastle play man utd. It’s my first game. But we’re a lot mixed people.. some liverpool fans, some man utd e.t .. Is there a place where everyone can sit together? Is it normal for man utd fans to sit among the Newcastle fans? .. hehe .. I don’t know, maybe it’s a stubid question
    thanks in advance 🙂

  • wynsleap

    Sep 4, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Comment #11

    I know we’ve all had this discussion before but these Fair Play Rules are a joke. Does anyone seriously think that FIFA will have the bottle to ban the likes of Manure, Chelsea, Barcelona, Man City, Real Madrid, PSG etc from European competition?
    All of these clubs will easily find financial loopholes to pour money into their coffers and greedy footballers will continue to flock there for “success”.
    Yes – if anything DID happen they’d all probably go and form their own League and the rest would be nowhere as Sky etc. would just want to pump even more money into their competition for exposure and not into what’s left over.
    We live in a greedy, selfish, dog eat dog, I’m all right Jack world at present and the likes of the clubs mentioned above wouldn’t give a stuff if the Toon, Everton, Sunderland, Aston Villa etc. went to the wall.
    The ONLY way to stop all of this helter skelter for success is to have a world wide transfer and salary cap (which most of the clubs could sensibly afford) and a total squad value maximum (like Fantasy Football). This would ensure that other clubs would gain better players as they can’t ALL play for the ‘giants’. This would engender better and fairer competition.
    Unfortunately it ain’t going to happen and the game will continue to explode from within.

  • jimmymagpie

    Sep 4, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #12

    I think most people are missing the point – as explained on TV yesterday by a finance expert, these rules will not affect transfer fees, as these are accounted for in the balance sheet as Current Assets. What UEFA are looking at is the profit/loss account, which is affected by WAGES. But, of course, as he pointed out, there many legitimate ways for these clubs to boost their turnover, therefore negating the effect of high wages. Plus, it’s almost impossible to police. Can you really see UEFA banning all the top clubs? It would be the end of UEFA as all the money through TV and sponsorship would go with the clubs, who form thier own competition, which the so-called Club of 16 have been discussing behind closed doors for yesrs anyway. Just more useless postering by the idiot Platini, because he’s jealous that the EPL has nearly all the money!

  • Widowmaker

    Sep 4, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #13


    Certainly understand where you are coming from, but it would difficult as the football leagues are not quite the same to basketball one. To put it simple, while many PL fans think PL is far superior than other leagues, fans of other leagues will have their own ideas. For basketball, don’t think that would be the case.

  • jimmymagpie

    Sep 4, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Comment #14

    Wyns – sorry mate, I’d posted before I read your item. Agree 100% with everything you said.

  • LooneyToon41

    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Comment #15

    Difficult one.
    Firstly, it’s UEFA not FIFA wynsleap… different organisation.
    I really don’t know how UEFA will ‘police’ the new Financial Fair Play rules, and as pointed out there are obvious possible loopholes such as, sponsorship of Etihad stadium of £100m per year as an example. As far as i can make out, it is about break-even in the Profit and Loss account, and NOT about cash, so for example ManU wouldn’t be able to put an extra £50m into the coffers as a loan, as this is a balance sheet transaction. It has to be P&L = equity, and not debt.
    Personally i just can’t see this whole ‘European Super League’ threat working, as the majority of fans (regardless of who they support) would cancel their Sky subscriptions, if only the top 4 richest clubs in England entered.
    As for the NBA, NFC/AFC model that hdavid23 discusses, i’m really not sure this could be implemented all over Europe, as different countries have different TV deals, but to be honest i don’t understand the model enough to have an educated opinion.

  • thebionicMAG

    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Comment #16

    Theres only a few clubs that have ‘stupid amounts of money’ so the way i see it, let them form their own super league. See how they like competing in a competition that only has a few clubs in it in Europe.
    If City, United, Chelsea and QPR decide to leave the Premiership, what they going to do? Play each other 10 times a season round robin style? That wont be very exciting and the fans would be pretty bored. How much money do you think Sky would give them for that? Meanwhile the rest of the premiership would just get on with it.
    The Premier League and UAFA should stand up to them cause in reality the MAJORITY of all clubs around the world do not have the sort of money Man City and Chelsea have so their proposed super league wouldn’t be very super at all, in fact it would be paper thin in terms of competition and extremely boring.

  • tfschmidt10

    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #17

    One thing the EPL needs to do to help financial fair play is to change the distribution on $$. Now, the higher you finish the more money you get (not even counting European league $$), which encourages the same teams to stay high in the rankings, not even taking into account the owners with billions to blow. Finishing high in the EPL and getting European money is enough reward in itself through higher apparel sales, gaining more fans, etc. If the EPL distributed $$ equally to all 20 teams, this would encourage closer competition and would reward the teams that spend their money most efficiently, as opposed to teams that just spend WAY MORE MONEY THAN ANYONE ELSE HAS.

  • hdavid23

    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Comment #18


    You’re definitely right in that it would be really difficult to work out a system like this, and of course to implement it as well.. but i still think the only way to fight big money spending teams like City, Chelsea, PSG, etc is to take money out of the equation

  • jimmymagpie

    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #19

    This might shock some of you, but WE have been regular attenders of the Group of 16 meetings, in the days of the previous regime, and no doubt we will be invited again if they break away, because we’re are still one of the best supported teams in Europe. Wonder what the fatman would think of that?

  • thebionicMAG

    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Comment #20

    I think it would be up to teams like us to say no for the good of the cause. I see it a bit like a union. If the ‘big four’ want to break away we should let them because without everyone else they have NO power or commercial pulling power. Every team in the PL league should just say “go..i’m not prepared to join another league just to be outspent and spanked again season after season”
    The same in Europe. See how long their super League would last. See how much money it would generate… It would implode and they would have to come crawling back because the majority of fans in the league and in Europe and world wide would be supporting the leagues and cups we have. The FA should also get involved and ban the Super League teams from the FA cup.

  • beefman13

    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #21

    Ed, our players have been brilliantly scouted, we were a point away last season from champs league and have brought in players at the moment who are already looking a bit special, we have the january window as well, if the fella in charge can get us challenging for a champs league place in whatever way i am not bothered, as you know big money signings dont always work at the toon but our scouting system does and is proven!!!!

  • wynsleap

    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #22

    LooneyToon41 @ 15 – sorry my mistake.
    jimmymagpie @ 19 – I think he’d have a heart attack if he thought he had to outlay any money or make an investment to go into a bigger super league.
    Can’t think he’d be interested in the slightest unless his beloved brand was going to get MASSIVE world wide cover – for nothing.

  • FAU

    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #23

    with carr swindon town would be premier league champion with less than 100million pounds. In Carr We trust!!

  • numba9

    Sep 4, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Comment #24

    Everton have not done it so how will we ? Even they improved their squad this summer beyond ours . I am afraid Ashley u have to spend and not sell the best lads to achieve this goal. Over to you !

  • toon-hendy

    Sep 4, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Comment #25

    The fair play rules simply won’t happen. Michel Platini’s son is on the PSG board, Zenits main investors ‘Gazprom’ are also one of the main sponsors of uefa. Coincidence these are the main spenders and the most likely clubs to suffer due to the rules! We’re trying to bide by rules which won’t happen. In all fairness, who thought they’d actually go into force?!

  • LooneyToon41

    Sep 4, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Comment #26

    @17 tfschmidt10.
    Your argument doesn’t stand up.
    Teams do get more money, the higher they finish in the league – true, but in reality this isn’t much. Each place in the 2011/2012 Premier League table was worth £755,062. Each team already receives EQUAL income from domestic TV income (£13.7m) and Overseas income (£18.7). The only disrepancies are therefore individual televised games, internet,phone rights.
    Man City (the Champions) received £60.6m last year. NUFC received £54.2m. Not a huge difference!
    Source :-

    Balance this with what happens in Spain where Barca/Real Madrid negotiate their own rights and where the Spanish clubs do not get an equal share, then there is a big discrepancy, as UEFA Financial Fair play rules need to cover ALL UEFA countries, not just England!

  • brian kilclines pony tail

    Sep 4, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Comment #27

    how do we keep competition?

    dont leave it up to just fifa, we need to pass laws in the EU that dictate the same as the fifa reg’s to back them up. this way even if another league was set up it would still be subject to the same rules and therefore pointless.

    The only people who can do this is us by making the politicians aware. An internet campaign could unite the cause across the continent and hey presto football is safe forever.

  • Premiership Manager

    Sep 4, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Comment #28

    It’s dead easy, Mike Ashley decides he wants to buy Messi, Ronaldo,Hazzard, David Luize and Yaya Toure in order for Newcastle to have a fighting chance of winning the PL and Champions League. Total price is in the region of £300M but it is against the Fifa fair play rules as our expendature would exceed our income.

    Ashley makes a few phone calls and then anounces that the sponsorship of the stadium + kits and marketing rights for the players is worth £600M over three years in sponsorship to cover the buying price and salaries.

    The books are balanced, we play in the champions league and Ashley writes the money off. It may not be ethical but some club owners just have money to burn and will get around it any way they can.

  • DoctorZelig

    Sep 4, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Comment #29

    Forget financial fair play! It’s not going to happen. As Ed pointed out the big teams would form a private league and that threat alone will keep financial fair play from becoming a reality.

    Fans need to understand that NUFCs road to recovery is not going to be a curve that’s constantly rising. There will be bumps here and there. The most important thing is that the club has a plan and follows that plan.

    The plan should not be dictated by a manager and a single person like it has been here for to many years. That is what has been our tradition in the past and look where that got us! We had KK term 1. He builds his team with his idea and left. Then Kenny D arrived with totally different ideas and destroyed all of the former work to do his own thing. Then came the next and the next and the next and the …..

    If you want to be successful you have to have style and plan and then hire people to do the job.

    Let’s compare our club to a restaurant business or any other business. If McDonalds had been run like NUFC then after the first owner died they would perhaps try to become a seafood place because the new CEO liked seafood! No! They know what they are a burger joint and that is what the CEO is hired to run.

    By doing it like this we will not see massive amount of money wasted on players that do not fit in. Clubs that have realized this model are foremost Barcelona and Ajax. In this country I only know of Swansea. That club, Swansea, said we have a style and we will hire after that.

    Look at other clubs who does not have a plan. Liverpool first chose Kenny D. He buys his kind of players. Now Rodgers there and he can’t use most of them because his style is totally different. Same can be said of Man City with Hughes and Mancini or Tottenham with Redknapp and now AVB. It’s insane and amateurish!

    Barcelona hired a manager that suits there style. People speculated in big manager names but no. They chose somebody who they believe suites the company profile sort of say.

    What I believe now is that NUFC has a plan and if the manager, staff and players do not fit in or believe in that plan they can leave.

    That is our future. Not some stupid ideological brain fart from a Uefa president.

  • solano

    Sep 4, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Comment #30

    FFP is a great big red herring/pink elephant/dead duck (or whatever animal metaphor you like) which is used to excuse our club’s tightwaddery.
    However, even if we take FFP proposals at face value – and bear in mind JimmyMag’s astute observations @12 – our current stance is not really justifiable. This is because, as has been said by many on here, the club has in no way realised and tapped into the great economic potential of the NUFC goldmine. This is mainly down to disastrous decisions of the past and terrible PR resulting in a reluctance of the city’s population to properly back owners they do not trust.
    Amazingly, the powers that be had another wonderful opportunity this summer to show intent and ambition in the transfer market which would have galvanised an ever hopeful fansbase and excited the fans. This in turn would have resulted in greater club income from certain revenue streams which have tailed off according to recent figures: nameley corporate income, merchandising and ticket revenue. A greater turnover is afterall what is required if you want to compete under new FFP rules, is it not?? And we do have a fantastic fanbase in which to catapult ourselves to the higher echelons of the league, on and off the pitch.
    Although we are not a Man U or a bankrolled club like Chelsea or Man City…we are a bigger club than the likes of Spurs and have a modern stadium and are apparently stable financially, as opposed to the likes of Liverpool. We are however, limited in ambition because of where the owner sees us competing….as is stated in previous satemens made by the club in the last 2years.
    NOW is the time to change the situation – otherwise if FFP actually does have “teeth” – we will be forever limited.
    As has been pointed out, FFP will make the gaps between rich and poor and competitive and uncompetitive teams even greater and is hardly likely to “socialise ” our game.
    More galling still is I feel Ashley has already fulfilled his ambitions for the club ,as he stated to Sir John Hall when he originally bought it , that he wanted to use the club to advertise and promote his sportswear brand worldwide. A look at the stadium formerly known as SJP and the free ads that adorn it should be evidence enough!

  • valle

    Sep 5, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #31

    Good discussion, to bad it ended so early with everyone moving to the newest post… Its the unfortunate habbit on this forum.


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