The speculation over whether football has become a sport too revolved around the wealth of football clubs and their unlimited funds on players has surrounded the game for several years now. Clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona are currently prime examples of teams that like to splash the cash in order to gain an advantage over their rivals, but the UEFA Executive Committee however have offered a solution controlling the amount of money clubs are able to spend on new transfers. These new plans, set to come into effect properly within the next few years, look to provide the answer to making football a more fair and business-like sport. But how will the two teams more commonly associated with big spending, Manchester City and Chelsea, be able to cope?
The new Fair Play Regulations specifically means that clubs will be unable to spend more than the amount of money they have made. While the main priority of this new ruling is for clubs that are wealthier than others to be unable to spend huge amounts more than one another, rendering the game, in a sense, more fair, UEFA president Michel Platini claims ‘our intention is not to punish them but to protect them’. Basically, it will also prevent clubs and their owners from losing huge amounts of money.
Since his 2003 takeover, to May 2008, Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich had spent over £600 Million on the club, with the majority of that figure coming from transfers and their wages. Players such as Didier Drogba and Michael Essien cost the club £24 million and £25.98 million respectively, and are just two of the several big name players Chelsea have bought over the past eight years who had hefty price tags attached.
However, when players like these were bought, there were no specific rules on how much a club can spend despite their financial status. In the 2005/2006 season for Chelsea, they recorded losses of a mind boggling £140 million. To any normal citizen, it would seem almost impossible to think that in the space of one year, a business lost out by £140 million. UEFA therefore look to rectify this ongoing problem. With Abramovich looking to spend further in the summer to completely deface his current squad with new players, how exactly are Chelsea going to fare when they’re unable to buy players because they haven’t financially broke even?
The same problem goes for Manchester City. Since their Abu Dhabi takeover in 2008, they have spent over £300 million, £122 million in their first season as owners alone. This said, how Manchester City will cope from spending as much as they like, to being limited according to how much they have made, is going to be interesting. Teams that don’t often spend big shouldn’t be fazed much by the change, and will have more of a chance in buying players also targeted by clubs bigger than themselves. Manchester City and Chelsea however will have to think a lot more carefully when it comes to eyeing up new players with the threat of over spending and breaking UEFA rules. The troubles of being rich, eh?