All the wondering about the first round of sanctions for Financial Fair Play can now cease. Manchester City have come to terms with UEFA on a settlement that, upon first viewing, seems reasonably strict. A €60 million fine has been put in place, a squad limit on the Champions League has been imposed, and their ability to make moves in the transfer market has been significantly curtailed.
While I'm sure Jake will be along with a more detailed breakdown on what this means in a little bit, I wanted to share some of the quick hits from Manchester City's statement. The two most relevant to us in terms of competition are:
The Club’s expenditure on new players for the upcoming summer transfer window, on top of income from players it might sell, will be limited to €60m. This will have no material impact on the Club’s planned transfer activity.
The wage bill of the whole club (playing and non-playing staff) for 2014-15 will need to remain at the same level as that of 2013-14 season. It is important to note that additional bonuses for performances can be paid outside this number. Importantly, in reality, the existing MCFC business plan sees a natural decline in that wage bill.
If you think that sounds amusingly defensive, I don't blame you. I like the sulky nature of the 'but it doesn't matter anyway' that they're offering -- "no material impact on the Club’s planned transfer activity" and " in reality, the existing MCFC business plan sees a natural decline in that wage bill" are particularly great. In truth, that wage bill is particularly onerous, since it will (or should) prevent City from bringing players in without selling, and City selling is difficult because of the wages they pay. So while the club seems to be brushing it off for the moment, those two sanctions are, assuming nobody finds a work-around, a very big deal.
So, at first glance City's actions in the next two transfer windows are going to be seriously curtailed, and since they've taken no serious moves to refresh their squad in recent years, this gives Chelsea an opportunity to complete the rebuild without the team who are currently our most significant rivals for medium and long-term dominance in England being able to reply.
And beyond that, it also shows the world that FFP does have an impact after all, which should enable compliant clubs to flex a little more muscle in the transfer market. A competitor is weakened -- perhaps signficantly -- and Chelsea are strengthened. Not a bad result, this.