Will the UEFA financial regulations save football?

Posted by - August 18, 2010 - Conclusions, Manchester City, Manchester United, Premier League, Ranting and Raving

Manchester’s spending sprees may soon be over

Ferguson has been at it again, this time making thinly-veiled digs at those noisy neighbours, Manchester City, about the amount of money being splashed about in the transfer window. Manchester City are reported to have spent around £130m on a handful of new players, whereas Sir Alex has been more prudent spending only £24m.

But will Manchester Utd’s new signings represent better value? Of the three moving to Old Trafford this season, arguably only one player has really been tested – Javier Hernández, the Mexican international who spent four years with Guadalajara in the Mexican Primera División.

Chris Smalling, signed from Fulham for around £10m, had only started two Premier League matches before Sir Alex snapped him up and, reportedly, Fergie had never seen Bébé play. For a club in as much debt as Manchester Utd, £24m on largely unproven signings is a lot of money – just over six months’ worth of interest payments in fact.

What makes this transfer activity all the more interesting is the introduction of the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations, the first phase of which is due to come into effect from 2012. The upshot of the regulations is that clubs must ensure that they spend within their means.

Being bankrolled by a wealthy businessman won’t cut the mustard either, so Fulham and possibly Blackburn might want to take heed too. It means that transfers of this magnitude are unlikely to continue, for all but the most successful teams reaching the latter stages of the Champions League and the FA Cup where the prize money could end up being the difference between a new signing or not.

Whether the new regulations will work for the good of football remains to be seen. The penalty for non-compliance is the revocation of the UEFA licence, meaning no European football, but that will only affect the top six or seven clubs in England. If Portsmouth, Cardiff or Sheffield Wednesday have little chance of competing in Europe, why would they bother constraining themselves?

Until the Football League and Premier League look to implement something similar, there is still the danger that clubs continue to spend well beyond their means.

  • mick

    I didn’t see Sir Furious complaining about huge transfer fees when CR was sold for €94 million euros

  • Neil

    Solid post!

    Why would Fergie complain about selling one of his players for €94m?

  • Marc

    Good debating point…..The obscene amount of money in football gets ignored by and large.

    Ferguson is a hypocrite. £30m on Ferdinand, £27m on Rooney, £24m on Veron!!!, £18m on Van Nistellrooy. If he had Citys cash he’d be doing exactly the same.

    Saying that, City spending £30m on Milner, £30m on Ballotelli is amazing really. Milner is bog average and the European Champions couldn’t wait to get rid of Ballotelli.

    Football = Ran by the mindless for the uber loyal.

  • Kate

    I can’t see why such regulations would alienate existing fans, it may even make football more accessible to those who enjoy sport more than hero worship. These boys are good at what they do and they work hard… as do people paid 20k a year instead of 20k a day. They should be rewarded fairly but I think what they get paid is several million over what they are actually due.

    Would be interesting to see how Heat magazine cope without the tantastic, drooling letching ladies who want a slice of well toned bottom and footballers salary.

  • Phil

    Clubs in debt shouldn’t be allowed to buy players.

    I’m looking at you Man United & Liver “net spend” pool in the main.

  • Dan

    Marc, SAF has a fair point about City and is far from a hypocrite.

    Yes, he has spent big bucks on a few players but since the Premier League started in 1992 City’s net transfer spend is £428m, where as United’s is (just!) £136m. Don’t forget for five years City weren’t in the premier league (two years spent in the current League One) and in two of these years they still spent more than their neighbours.

    That and City seem to be spending mega bucks on average quality players too.

  • Conroy

    It’s a shame these regulations weren’t around a few years back. My local side Hornchurch got bank rolled by a double glazing firm while in the ithsmian league. They spent more on wages each week than the rest of the teams did annually. Eventually the bubble burst and the entire club folded. If there had been stricker controls around then, the Urchins may still have been around in their original state.