Milan chief’s fears over Financial Fair Play

ONE of the leading executives in European football has voiced his fears that impending Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules could damage rather than improve the sport.

AC Milan organising director Umberto Gandini, also a vice-chairman of the influential European Club Association, predicted FFP could force clubs into making cuts at a time when investment was needed to improve dwindling attendances in some leagues. While the Premier League continues to enjoy strong attendances, Gandini said Italian top-flight sides were concerned with how to entice supporters back to its half-empty stadia during a stark financial climate.

“The most important thing is how to address consequences of crises in our countries,” he added. “The problem is our fans can’t afford to come to games because they have other priorities. When the answer from government is just cutting measures you don’t see opportunities to grow. I’m a little worried one of the consequences of FFP is that everyone will look at reducing costs and therefore there will be less opportunity to invest in growth.”

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis, meanwhile, believes FFP – governing body Uefa’s masterplan for making clubs more solvent – will improve the standard of ownership in Europe's leagues.

“One of the advantages of having a good economic environment is that you attract good ownership,” said Gazidis, who was also speaking at the Leaders in Football conferenvce yesterday in London. “At the moment there are many owners in football having a hard time staying involved; they’re not able to compete with the money being thrown around.”