Tuesday 7 September 2021 2:40 pm

Financial Fair Play is not about making football more competitive, says one of the executives behind the new rules

Proposed changes to European football’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules will not address concerns about competitive balance, says one of the executives involved.

New regulations involving a salary cap and luxury tax are set to replace the current, 10-year-old framework, which is loosely based on breaking even.

Economists and legal experts have warned that the changes will not close the widening gap between a handful of Europe’s biggest clubs and the rest.

And Anderlecht director Michael Verschueren, who has contributed to the FFP reforms as chairman of the European Club Association (ECA), confirmed as much today.

“FFP cannot be mixed with competitive balance, there is a difference,” said Verschueren, speaking at an ECA briefing.

“We have a shared vision: we want to keep European football at the top level so we have to be open to investments.”

Critics of the new Financial Fair Play rules argue that a luxury tax, in which those clubs which exceed their salary cap pay a fine, will not prevent the richest clubs from spending their way to success.

“Covid had a tremendous impact on football’s finances. The update of FFP will be a kind of financial sustainability programme for the future,” he added.

“We’re going to introduce a cost control mechanism over time. In the short term we are going to try to solve the liquidity problem and in the mid-term we have to make clubs sustainable.

“That’s an important exercise foreseen for the coming months and try to get it done by the middle of next year.”

Governing body Uefa is expected to help Covid-hit clubs solve cash-flow problems by establishing a multi-billion Euro loan fund.

Ajax chief executive and ECA vice-chairman Edwin van der Sar said he hoped the pandemic would prove “a wake-up call” for clubs to be more prudent.

“Each club needs to have some reserves in your bank account to make sure certain shocks you can absorb,” said the former Manchester United and Holland goalkeeper. “Not every club is financially healthy, as we have seen in recent months.”

The ECA board also confirmed that it supported the controversial allocation of two Champions League places to clubs based on historical performance.

That change is part of the move to a Swiss model format which is set to take effect from 2024 onwards.

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