As the clock counts down on UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations coming into effect, many a club seem to be spending big money like there’s no tomorrow. In England alone this summer, we have already seen massive money being spent on transfer deals, and indications are there’s more to follow. So are clubs seeing this as a final chance to spend big, before they have their unmetered purse-strings cut by the powers that be?
Thus far Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have all been involved in, or are linked with, massive summer deals. Indeed, Manchester United have already spent close to £60 million and Liverpool, if you count January’s transfer window when Kenny Dalglish took charge, have spend close to over £100 million. On the continent Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan, Juventus and Roma have also been involved in, or linked with making big signings. Until this current transfer window closes, it shows no sign of slowing down.
The financial years ending 2012 and 2013 will be the first financial years to be assessed and come under UEFA’s scrutiny, leaving any club spending this summer, less than a full year to do what they need to do, in order to meet the requirements. Some clubs have already started this process – whilst continuing to spend (or threaten to spend) big. Selling the naming rights of their stadium for a massive fortune, one of the more ‘enterprising’ ways, to circumnavigate the rules thus far.
However, whilst the spending spree continues at its current pace, it is worth noting that for every massive purchase made, there is an equal one being received – thus helping the selling club balance the books. The imposed UEFA situation then, is probably the sole reason for such a busy period; with players who may not normally be available, possibly being considered if it helps the club in meeting UEFA’s stipulations.
UEFA say they aren’t worried by the busy transfer activity that’s happened around the continent during the last two transfer windows. But it led them to curiously publish a statement on their own official website stating as such. So, are they really worried? ‘UEFA is aware of the recent transfer activity across Europe and is confident that clubs are aware of the nature of its financial fair play regulations which require them to balance their books.’ Surely this serves as a, not so subtle reminder, to clubs that they better be prepared when the time comes. UEFA were also keen to point out, again, that they are not stopping clubs from spending money, just require them to balance the books.
So enjoy this summer’s transfer speculation, and massive or ridiculous (or both) transfer deals whilst you can. It may not be seen on this scale again.