Arsene Wenger has called upon UEFA to install simpler punishments for clubs who breach the financial fair play rules. The Arsenal boss suggests if a team violates the guidelines, they should be kicked from European competition, per John Cross of the Mirror:
I'm a complete supporter of Financial Fair Play because I think that every business should live within its own resources like in any other activity. For the punishment, I think it's sophisticated. I would like a more simple one that makes more sense.
You would think you accept the rules and you're in the competition, or you don't accept the rules and you're not in the competition. Then everybody would understand it.
Should teams who breach the FFP rules be kicked out of European competition?
Wenger's comments come after it was announced Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are set to receive fines in the region of £50 million across the next three years for failing to adhere to the new system.
A squad limit also ensures offending clubs can only register 21 players for the Champions League, down from 25, while the selection must include eight "locally trained" and four "club-trained" players, reported by Jeremy Wilson of the Telegraph.
The lack of clarity around each disciplinary procedure ensures confusion. For example, City are currently negotiating with UEFA to determine a final settlement, despite the aforementioned figure already being announced, noted in Cross' report.
Wenger indicates "a more subtle punishment" has to be deployed if UEFA doesn't want to kick teams out of the competition.
He says "nobody understands" the intricacies and implementations of the current sanctions, despite onlookers living in a world where "everyone is informed." The Gunners boss believes it is "very difficult" for anybody to explain the penalties, something he can't do, despite being a prominent figure in the sport.
Both City and PSG's cases will be settled on Friday, with the former considering an appeal, per David Hytner of the Guardian. This is the first set of FFP punishments to be dished out and covered each club's 2011-12 accounts, in which they were allowed to make a loss of up to £37 million. City and PSG are two of nine teams facing problems.
While hefty fines aren't likely to significantly impact either side—perhaps stopping both from making one major signing across three years—expulsion from Europe certainly would drill home the message UEFA means business.
The governing body has missed the opportunity to show the continent's elite its new rules must be taken seriously, as the assorted range of penalties appear to be something the mega-rich clubs can easily deal with.
On the contrary, if City or PSG were expelled from the Champions League, neither side's accounts from next season would come under FFP scrutiny. Perhaps this is why UEFA opted to maintain their presence in the tournament, as 12 months away from the guidelines could see both teams manipulate the financial boundaries before rejoining Europe's elite.
Oliver Holt of the Mirror suggests the FFP structure will eventually turn out to be useful for City and PSG, as it limits the sudden progress smaller clubs can make:
Funny that most of the clubs in favour of FFP are the ones with fans who can afford to spend, spend, spend at the Megastore.— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) May 7, 2014
Idea that FFP is there to protect the smaller clubs is a fallacy. It's there to protect the elite, to stop smaller clubs ever breaking thru— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) May 7, 2014
UEFA can be expected to add clarity to its plans when the final settlements are made on Friday. Although a ban from the Champions League is severe, Wenger's comments hold real weight. Those who breach the rules don't comply with the competition, suggesting it would be a rational response to remove them from it.
The truth is, UEFA probably doesn't want to place this limit on its money-making device. European football finances as a whole, including television rights and sponsorship, would take a massive plunge if a plethora of teams failed to pass the FFP and subsequently couldn't play during the same year.
In theory, this would also place smaller clubs—who would likely replace those who have been expelled—in jeopardy of receiving their own FFP sanctions. Rapid squad improvements would be needed, and therefore greater funds, with little promise a non-regular Champions League team could draw the revenue needed to match its expenditure.
Such issues highlight the difficult nature of UEFA's rules. Understanding them and implementing them without a knock-on effect appears to be troublesome. Wenger is correct in suggesting a more straightforward approach is needed, but expulsion from the competition potentially throws up headaches for clubs who needn't be drawn into the equation.