Friday, May 28, 2010

UEFA took a big stand yesterday. Or at least on paper they did.

President Michel Platini has introduced new rules which forces the top clubs to not only operate within their means and cut down on the huge debts facing the game, but also to only spend self-generated income.

The latter point would prevent all of these middle eastern, Russian and Asian businessmen from buying clubs and pouring in a shitload of money, to the detriment of their competition and the game on the whole, although I'm sure there will be a few loopholes that can be gotten around. Money invested in stadiums and youth development for example are not included in the equation.

This "break-even requirement" will be phased in over the next three seasons. What that ultimately means is that UEFA will monitor the accounts of clubs and if they are seen to be spending more than they are bringing in, going into serious debt and ignoring the UEFA directive, they could find themselves banned from the Champions League and the Europa League.

To the neutrals looking on, people like myself who don't support any of the big sides, it seems excellent. Finally football clubs will be help accountable for their spending, just like normal people are every day. There is already an outcry from the big sides of course, but they fail to see the bigger picture that these new rules are there for the good of the game and to protect their future and every other clubs future. We may also have a more even playing field, which can only help the game.

Clubs also have to settle their debts to fellow clubs, players, officials and the likes of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs by the end of each season. Excellent and also this will hopefully see the end of situations like the one that plagued Portsmouth this season (who are now already ruled out of European competition as a result).

What is interesting now is to see how all of this will play out.

The top Clubs won't accept this without a fight. We don't know how this will sit with the European Union, I would think favourably, but I also wouldn't be surprised to see cases taken to the EU court if Clubs find themselves removed from European competition.

Another route that things could take would be that Clubs breakaway, form their own European Superleagues and say "stuff UEFA". This of course has international implications for the players but if enough top sides decide to go down this route then the pressure for UEFA to back down or delay implementing bans will most likely see them cave.

Something had to be done to curb the spending and the mess that football clubs across the lands are getting themselves in to. Initially this UEFA plan seems to do just the trick. The proof will be in the eating and the wrangling that will now take place. Hopefully this isn't all for show and bluster and they will have the conviction to see it through to the end.

We don't say this very often, but well done UEFA.

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