The Timing of the FFP Decision (Part 2)

By Mike Long (@boltfromtheblu)

The AC (Adjudicatory Chamber) will likely now take several weeks or months to consider the potentially drastic step of banning Manchester City from The Champions League for a period of most likely 12 months, if they retrospectively judge that City misled them on the source of commercial income back in 2014.

According to Colin Savage (@prestwichblue), the mainstream press effectively rushed to judgement when City received their sanctions and from there, there seems to have been a peculiar rush of blood to the heads of other journalists who simply paraphrased damning pieces by original scribes such as Martin Ziegler of The Independent that you can read here, in which the writer claimed that “No other English club has been deemed to have breached the FFP rules.”

This now becomes interesting for the reason that clubs like Manchester United & to a lesser extent Liverpool under Hicks and Gillett, clubs whose American owners saddled their clubs with countless millions in debt in leveraged buyouts have escaped any censure at all, whereas City who are effectively debt-free and have invested in the community and infrastructure are condemned.

For the first time, reasonable people began to wonder what the true purposes of FFP actually were.

It is felt that FFP started off as an honourable exercise aimed at preventing clubs from reckless speculation on potential future success by means of imprudent borrowing, to going after wealthy but benevolent owners and taking them to task for the means by which they creatively circumnavigated ill-considered laws to ensure sound and prudent investment.

Of course we all know that there are good owners (like Mansour) and reckless ones (e.g. Gaydamak).

However the lack of due diligence by the UK press in discriminating between cautious and reckless investors became striking.

Very few reporters appeared to have the necessary financial/business acumen to tell the difference and it has become glaringly apparent that a bandwagon was set into motion in 2014 which was jumped on by many if not most reporters who clearly lacked the academic rigour to substantiate their sensationalised headlines and reporting, but were very adept at securing clicks by playing on the fears of the traditional hegemony.

With every league success and with every successful recruitment of a player, Paris St. Germain and Manchester City in particular began to generate considerable disfavour.

Comments building upon Arsene Wenger’s original snipe began to proliferate and found sympathy with rival fans: “buying the league” “Arab Oil tycoons” “a rich man’s plaything” etc.

To a certain extent we can all sympathise.

City had hit the jackpot.

From years of under-achievement and fiscal mismanagement, the club now had owners who were as smart as they were deep-pocketed.

City’s upturn also coincided with the relative decline of United, Liverpool and Arsenal, clubs who have multiple old boys in positions of power and influence within the media.

Worse was to follow.

The envy that was generated soon went beyond our own shores.

When City signed players like David Silva (coveted by Spain’s big two), Carlos Tevez (stolen from United to the chagrin of most of their fan base, a slight compounded by THAT poster) and then later on when Bayern Munich cried that they were unable to compete for the services of De Bruyne and Leroy Sané, City had begun to tweak the noses of the big boys of the G-14.

This was unlikely to be well tolerated.

However leaving aside the rather more sensational spending of The Qatari owners in Paris, do City’s rulers in fact have a case to answer?


The opinions represented here are solely those of the author and in no way represent the views of Manchester City FC or any other individual.