Uefa FFP rules: Why Arsenal and Liverpool are "losers" while Manchester City and Chelsea are "winners" of proposed reforms

Joe Hall
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Sheikh Mansour's Manchester City stand to gain from the "easing" of Financial Fair Play rules. (Source: Getty)

"I think we’ll ease things", said Uefa president Michel Platini on the governing body's notorious financial fair play (FFP) rules yesterday. With Uefa's executive committee set to meet this June, insiders suggest FFP rules are about to be altered to allow clubs to make bigger losses in the pursuit of success.

What would such measures mean for European football and who stands to gain? Here's who would and wouldn't benefit from less stringent FFP rules.


Manchester City, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and all "benefactor" clubs

Those sporting the biggest smile following Platini's comments yesterday likely spend their summers on yachts. The billionaire benefactor owners of Manchester City and PSG have struggled to reconcile lavish spending habits with Uefa's minimum €30m (£21.7m) loss over a three-year period. Both clubs have been hit with sanctions for excessive losses.

Yet under Uefa's new proposals, clubs will be permitted to make significant losses for the season if they can prove to Uefa they have secure funding and a credible long-term business plan.

City, who have invested heavily in youth and facilities (measures not included in FFP's permissible loss) alongside the first team, could well pass on both counts. Yet when it comes to the Premier League's European representatives, perhaps it is Chelsea who will benefit most. By scooping up an army of young players and securing lucrative commercial contracts, Chelsea have avoided FFP sanctions and even returned to profit while still managing to spend over £400m in the last four seasons.

The rest of Europe

According to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, much of the pressure on Uefa to relax their ruling has come from the biggest clubs in Europe dismayed by the news of the Premier League's record £5.1bn TV deal which dwarfs all others across the continent.

For a club like Bayern Munich, for example, it would not be wrong to fear a weakened hand when competing for the best players' signatures, when even the current TV deal awards the bottom Premier League club higher broadcast revenue than the 25-time German champions.

Yet it's not only Europe's heavyweights who will be pleased. With a handful of clubs dominating proceedings in the biggest leagues (Bayern in Germany, Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, PSG in France and Juventus in Italy), frustrated challengers may feel they finally have an opportunity to break the status quo.

Read more: Chelsea and Manchester City set to be unshackled by FFP as Uefa relaxes rules


Raheem Sterling is reported to want to leave Liverpool. (Source: Getty)


Last year Liverpool's principal owner John Henry said the club's biggest challenge was having its rivals ignore FFP and even called on Uefa to enforce the rules more stringently:

We don't really have financial fair play, or at least people are not abiding by it...I'd love to think that Uefa can do and will do what needs to be done, but we'll see.

Alas, the opposite could now happen. With Liverpool slipping out of the Champions League positions after one season, looking increasingly unlikely to hold on to Raheem Sterling and one trophy win in the last nine years, the glories of yesteryear could begin to look more out of reach than ever.


When asked his reaction to the FFP "easing", Arsene Wenger offered a nonchalant response. "It will not harm us because we only spend the money we have", shrugged the Frenchman.

Perhaps a veiled jab at the two clubs above him in the league, further opportunity for other clubs to build short-term losses will upset Arsenal's safe and steady model which has kept the team in the top four elite but rarely allowed for a big spending push capable of launching a credible title challenge.


Like Arsenal, Juventus are in good financial health thanks in part to increased revenues from building an ultra-modern stadium. Unlike Arsenal, Juve dominate their domestic league, sweeping away all before them in Serie A.

The Old Lady have cantered to four titles yet although Max Allegri's Real Madrid-conquering side will take some toppling, teams owned by wealthy foreign investors will now have a little more leeway in attempting to get themselves back to the summit.

Erick Thohir, multi-millionaire Indonesian owner of Inter Milan and Roma's American owner James Palotta are two owners who could loosen the purse strings (both clubs have launched legal appeals against FFP ruling).

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