Fans have widely derided UEFA after learning that European football's governing body plans to settle with non-compliant teams. And that's an understandable sentiment -- the feeling that both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain might just get a slap on the wrists after so flagrantly violating Financial Fair Play rules was more than a little annoying, and 'settlement' seemed to have 'fine' written all over it.
But as it turns out the proposed settlement is more than a fine, and could seriously restrict both teams going forward. While one can consider the £50m/€60m fee levied on both teams as a sort of luxury tax, easy enough for the owners to pay, it's difficult to imagine the other two sanctions that they're about to be hit with as anything other than extremely onerous.
Both City and PSG will, should they accept the settlement, have the following restrictions imposed in addition to the fine:
- A limit on the number of players allowed to register for the Champions League (21 from 25).
- A wage ceiling on the Champions League squad.
The second one is probably the bigger deal. PSG, especially, are building a team directly to compete in the Champions League (Demba Ba laughs at your pretensions!), and a wage limit on the squad, one which I'd assume is set at the 2013/14 level, will severely limit the amount of cash they can invest in their team until they're found to be compliant with FFP. They're not going to buy a superstar and then not register him for Europe, and although there's a certain amount of roster shuffling that can be done, this puts PSG in a bind.
Manchester City are less inherently constrained by the need to go after European glory -- there's plenty of glory to be found domestically, after all -- but this is still going to have an impact on their ability to attract football's biggest stars without selling off some of their players. After all, not too many players will be swayed by promises of Champions League football which their teammates play and not them.
So what does this mean for Chelsea? If the settlements are accepted, it's difficult to see how City can add significantly to their squad this summer, and it's even more difficult to see Paris Saint-Germain buying stars without first having to sell. Which means that City, generally, will be weaker than anticipated next season, and PSG probably are going to find it impossible to go after Eden Hazard, no matter how much BeINSport might want him to move.
Granted, the settlements might not be accepted, but if so one would imagine that the punishments would either be a) worse or b) nonexistent. The former helps Chelsea in the aforementioned way, only more so, and the latter means we're free to hurl around more of the owner's money without having to worry about breaking even.
FFP, in other words, is pretty great.
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