CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho has launched an attack on European football’s financial fair play (FFP) rules, blaming them for handicapping the Blues in the transfer market.
Mourinho’s men have shown few signs of inferiority in a blistering start to the season that has seen them race six points clear in the Premier League and win their Champions League group with a game to spare.
Chelsea have adapted well to the introduction of FFP and Mourinho has been praised for astute trading that has brought in around £140m in transfer fees over the last year.
But the former Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Porto boss believes the rules have betrayed their initial purpose, arguing that they favour traditional giants such as Manchester United.
“I think financial fair play is a contradiction,” he said. “Because when football decided to go for financial fair play it was exactly to put teams in equal conditions to compete. But what happened really is a big protection to the historical, old, big clubs, which have a financial structure, a commercial structure, everything in place based on historical success for years and years and years.
“And the new clubs – I call them new clubs; those with new investment – they cannot put themselves quickly at the same level. Clubs with new owners cannot immediately attack the control and the domination of these big clubs.”
Chelsea have become one of the world’s biggest money-making outfits since Roman Abramovich’s 2003 takeover and last month announced club record turnover of £319.8m for 2013-14. That sum was boosted in part by a slew of high-profile sales, including £37m Juan Mata and £18m Kevin de Bruyne, which helped to finance the summer signings of midfielder Cesc Fabregas and striker Diego Costa.
While greater than the vast majority of their peers, that income is exceeded by United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona, while efforts to move to a new stadium with more earning potential than 42,000-capacity Stamford Bridge have been frustrated.
Mourinho added: “Chelsea is not an old, historical, huge club, but it’s also not a club with a new owner; it’s a club with the same owner for more than 10 years; a club with a very important history, with great stability too. And at this moment I think we are just below them. I can say we are a very good club with the ambition to be a great club.”
Manchester City and French champions Paris Saint-Germain were both fined £49m in May after being found to be in breach of FFP rules restricting the sums clubs are permitted to lose over a two-year period.