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So which clubs need to worry about FFP?

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Last night, Graham ran a piece addressing the fact that Chelsea's concern over FFP just got a lot smaller with the vast increase in TV money due to the Premier League. While we were likely in pretty good shape to begin with, having a little less to worry about is never a bad thing. There are, however, plenty of teams around Europe that aren't likely to be in nearly as good condition when UEFA starts passing judgement on clubs that fail to comply. I'm going to briefly touch on several that might have some cause for concern:

  • Paris St. Germain: PSG would seem the obvious one here. With rich ownership, they have no issues with spending. They'd seem to offer regular Champions League football and a great city in which to live, so they have no issues attracting great players. Ligue 1 doesn't generate huge revenues outside of France though, and as the new kids on the block they don't have the advertising dollars of a Chelsea. They also have were little in the way of valuable assets to sell. If they keep splashing, they won't have a prayer of compliance.
  • Manchester City: The Premier League champions will benefit from the new TV money and sponsorship deals, but their spending spree of the last several years will still be an impossible hurdle. Where Chelsea signed the majority of their stars prior to the FFP accounting, Man City did not have that luxury. Major sales and little spending will be necessary if they are to comply, although they've put in place a solid enough framework that they should be in ok shape down the road.
  • Liverpool: Like City, Liverpool will benefit from the increased TV revenue. Unlike City, Liverpool haven't had Champions League income in a while. Liverpool spent a lot last summer, doing so again without CL money will likely doom them as far as FFP is concerned.
  • Malaga: Malaga have very rich ownership, but they have quite pathetic revenues. The TV model that Barca and Real have forced on the rest of La Liga leaves Malaga in worse shape revenue wise than many Championship clubs. They have Champions League revenue this year, but even with that I'd be surprised to see them generate as much total revenue as any of the newly promoted Premier League sides do. They have money to spend due to rich owners, but if they do they will not comply.
  • Anzhi Makhachkala: Another newly rich club, the Russian Premier League just doesn't generate enough revenue to let them comply if they spend. Factor in the wages they need to pay to get anyone to even consider playing there and you paint a pretty bleak picture as far as compliance goes.
  • Inter Milan: Inter was one of the least profitable clubs in Europe over the last 5 years. They the gave up massive revenue in the new Italian TV deal. Then they missed the Champions League. They've made some great sales over the last several years in Ibra and Eto, they'll need to make quite a few more of those types of deals to have a shot.
  • AC Milan: The two Milan clubs have traditionally showed big losses. They also just gave up massive TV revenue to the rest of Serie A in hopes of avoiding watching the league mimic the model that destroyed the Scottish Premier League and is destroying La Liga. Both were in bad shape as far as FFP goes despite having many 'grandfathered" contracts, and both now have to start replacing those players. AC Milan is in better shape than Inter due to qualifying for the CL, but they have an awful lot of old players moving on that they have to replace. I'd expect to see some big names sold if they hope to comply.
  • Juventus: This might be the least likely club in all of Europe to comply. They also took a huge hit in TV revenue, and they haven't had the Champions League to help recently either. They've still spent big though, and their wage bill is very high. Even if they signed a bunch of free players and still won the Champions League, Juve will likely not be compliant. Of all the clubs in Italy though, they are heading in the right direction the fastest due to their new stadium and sponsorship deals.
  • Roma: Roma are the 4th Italian team to take a hit in TV revenue. They are in pretty big trouble if they don't start making the CL regularly, and with Serie A down to 3 spots that seems unlikely at best.
  • The interesting thing here is that UEFA will likely have some hard decisions to make when they have to start handing out punishment. I'd say it's probable that 7 of the 9 listed teams will be qualified for the Champions League when we reach the first year of punishments, and I can't see UEFA deciding to go ahead and ban the types of teams we're talking about here.

    I'm sure most of the clubs have a better idea of what UEFA is looking for than we do as well. It's hard to see Platini dropping the hammer on the Italian teams that are attempting to save their league with the new TV deal. Frankly, that would just seem to be in the best interest of nobody. If he doesn't bury those clubs though, it's hard to see how he could punish City. City will certainly be showing a positive trend by that point, and if he's not following the letter of the law than he won't have much of a case to hammer them an not the Italians.

    The most likely clubs to get the hammer dropped on them would seem to be Malaga, Anzhi, and PSG. Those three will certainly bear watching, as they also seem the most likely to challenge the legality of the new rules in court should UEFA target them. I'd actually be pretty happy to see them continue spending though, as I just don't like the way that FFP was laid out to begin with. I understand that UEFA wants clubs to be sustainable, but I think this rule as it's designed will actually hurt the competitive balance across Europe.

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