Football’s equaliser gets a good kicking

Gabriella Griffith
FINANCIAL Fair play (FFP) has been big news of late. It’s splitting opinions across Europe and with this in mind City A.M. held a lively roundtable last night, bringing together some experts together to discuss the contentious topic.

Despite what is sounds like, financial fair play doesn’t put the City in the limelight but instead, our football teams. For those of you not in the habit of reading the back pages first, FFP is a set of regulations from Uefa that aim to stop the financial clout of club owners, such as Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich and Manchester City’s Sheikh Mansour, from buying their way to victory.

The man known as football’s ultimate dealmaker, Keith Harris, came along, Slaughter and May’s Andrew Jolly, the Premier League’s director of finance, Javed Khan, Trevor Birch of BDO, chief exec of Brighton & Hove Albion Paul Barber, and Ian Lynam of Charles Russell all joined the discussion.

“It’s the right time for this conversation – the football world is up in arms,” so-called Red Knight Keith Harris, who got his nickname along with a string of others following a number of failed attempts to buy Manchester Utd, told The Capitalist. “I can tell you, from my time as chairman of the Football League, it’s like herding cats, 72 clubs with different ambitions.”

Does Harris mind still being called a Red Knight? “I don’t mind it, it’s a good collective noun and a play on the City connection. We made some honest attempts on the club but it was several years ago now and things have changed.” As we found out last night…