Debate: They didn’t get their way, but Manchester City should not fear UEFA’s Financial Fair Play

By Paddy von Behr

Since Middle Eastern billionaire Sheikh Mansour assumed control of Manchester City, the club has told a story of excess, bringing with it success.

But this week may appear to be the most significant in the Virgin Galactic stakeholder’s tenure at the Northwest club.

Despite a vote against the introduction of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations on Thursday, the measures were passed and an end to City’s extravagant spending is in sight.

However, this news need not be a damning blow – Mansour turned up at the right time and, with the foundations he has laid, City can prosper within the FFP framework.

In passing the regulations, the Premier League’s chairmen agreed to limit the annual television revenue spent on wages to £60million by 2016 and restrict losses over a three-year rolling cycle to £105million.

Failure to comply with these restrictions could result in a variety of punishments, including points deductions.

And City, along with Paris Saint Germain, were offered a public warning by UEFA this week, outlining the consequences of side-stepping their FFP restrictions with dodgy endorsement deals.

But City won’t need to because, if their rivals across Manchester are an example to follow, consistent success can be delivered on a sensible budget.

Currently City, Chelsea and Liverpool are the only three clubs in excess of the £105million cap on three-year losses – 13 teams exceed the wage bill.

The limit only narrowly surpasses City’s sizeable one-year losses of £97.9million, but Manchester United’s exclusion from this list is a key observation.

Despite the relatively short time City have spent in the upper echelons of English football, their Premier League transfer outlay – £742million – exceeds United’s by £70 million.

Chelsea’s is higher still – in excess of £1billion – yet United have long provided a more consistent and serious title threat than the others.

The £150million limit on losses is not a particularly prudent one and, with flagrant spending eradicated and smart endorsement deals, it is easily manageable.

In terms of the wage restrictions, commercial and matchday revenue is not included, infinitely increasing the importance of sponsorship.

City’s contract with Etihad is worth a reported £400million over ten years and can play a significant role in maintaining their financial dominance.

Each of the two regulations, which many City fans will see as crippling, can be navigated safely.

The important thing for the blue half of Manchester is that the framework is in place for them to challenge United for the foreseeable future.

So let’s see if Edinson Cavani, Falcao, Neymar and more will soon sign for the blue half of Manchester.

Picture courtesy of Manchester City FC via Wiki Commons, with thanks.

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