The way most teams spend these days seems to completely undermine what I understand to be the Financial Fair Play’s laws.
For someone who spends so much time watching, reading and writing football, why is it that I barely know what FFP stands for? How important is it? Does it even matter?
When Financial Fair Play was first introduced to football I was under the impression it had something to do with the amount of home-grown players within your squad and a limit on how much money you spend.
I didn’t spend much time forcing myself to learn about it as I thought I would suddenly get the gist of it as time went on. I didn’t. It rarely gets discussed and never seems to be in effect.
The past couple seasons watching the UEFA Champions League would tell you this. Teams like Manchester City and Paris St Germain spend heaps on transfers and wages seemingly breaching what would be FFP rules.
They both have assembled some of the most expensive teams in the history of football but it hasn’t seemed to have paid off on the major scale. Also both teams have very little homegrown talent in their squads.
When Man City’s purchased Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair I branded that as a clear attempt at trying to bring in ‘homegrown’ players in. I was proven right when neither was able to truly break into the first team with Rodwell following former England star Adam Johnson to Sunderland.
When the Citizens were fined last season I thought it would help shed some much-needed light on the often-overlooked issue. It didn’t. What it did though was prove that even when there are laws, money speaks volumes.
Somehow City have come out of their issue with UEFA much happier than Legia Warsaw. It has to be money that decides these things, Legia’s argument did nothing for them but City managed to get their own way in European football.
With the amount of spending Europe’s biggest clubs partake in, it is hard for smaller clubs to compete. In the Premier League you often have matches where one team’s starting XI price completely eclipses their opponents’ whole squad.
Also something that I expected FFP to combat was the gap between the bigger teams and midtable teams. Liverpool were able to go from the lower levels of the table back into the top four last season and I also expect Manchester United to do so – but they aren’t even really the mid-table teams.
Teams like Stoke, and in the past Aston Villa and Fulham, were generally consistent with the position they finished in the table but it never amounted to much more than that (barring that one time Fulham made it to the Europa League).
So I understand that FFP has something to do with money; salaries, revenue etc. But I still ask what is it exactly and does it really matter?