We're about to find out whether Financial Fair Play has teeth

Antoine Antoniol

Chelsea have nothing to fear on the Financial Fair Play front. They're clean this year, and the club has taken sensible steps to avoid getting in trouble with UEFA by modifying the way they do business -- the much maligned youth and loan policy is a direct (and very clever) response to the new regulations.

But operating correctly in an FFP world means little if clubs that flout the new rules get away with it. The Blues are only going to cede a competitive advantage to, say, Manchester City if they're sure that their rivals will be punished for violating the regulations. If they don't it's better to join them in revolt.

Every wealthy club in Europe is facing a similar dilemma at the moment, which is why the first round of UEFA sanctions, due to be announced this week, is so important. If UEFA wants these rules to have any force at all, breaching FFP regulations needs to result in very bad things happening to a club, if only pour encourager les autres.

Based on a report in the Telegraph, UEFA does indeed want to ensure that the rules are seen to have teeth, and if true that means both City and Paris Saint-Germain are screwed.

The Telegraph are claiming that:

  1. Both PSG and City will be found guilty of failing to comply with FFP rules.
  2. Neither team will be expelled from the Champions League.
  3. The probable response is either a fine or a transfer embargo.

That fine sounds like a joke until you realise that it's actually a proxy for a transfer embargo -- one would have to imagine the fine would be both hefty and included in the breakeven calculation, acting as a major anchor to a club's ability to spend. The transfer ban would also be devastating, for obvious reasons.

In other words, keep a close eye out for the news this week. Either a rival club is getting a severe kick to a sensitive spot, or we'll be able to spend freely again. Either way... good for Chelsea.

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