Isco would prefer to stay in Malaga.
Last season, the 21-year-old scored 12 goals in all competitions for the Andalusia side, and in 2012, he was named European Golden Boy—a designation awarded annually by a handful of newspapers (including L’Equipe, Marca, Bild and the The Times of London) that recognizes the top, young player on the continent.
A Champions League sweetheart last season, Malaga finished sixth in La Liga last month and would have qualified for the Europa League had UEFA not banned them from continental competition.
The lack of European football could see several of the clubs best players depart over the next few weeks, and already, Manchester City have been rumoured to be lining up a £17 million move for Isco. (Daily Mail)
But he doesn’t want to leave.
“It is completely unfair that [UEFA] have treated Malaga different than many other teams with many more irregularities and debts,” the playmaker remarked via Twitter. “They have taken away what we have earned on the field. Neither the players nor the fans deserve this.” (Daily Mail)
Last December, UEFA announced it was banning Malaga from European competition after the club failed to comply with the governing body’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. The club appealed the decision, but on Tuesday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed the appeal and also upheld a €300,000 fine.
“Malaga CF violated UEFA Club Licensing System and Financial Fair Play Regulations following overdue payables toward other clubs and the Spanish tax authorities,” the CAS explained in its ruling. (Football-Espana)
Apparently, the rationalization didn’t appease Isco, who without saying it inferred that the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco should have been targeted by UEFA before comparatively diminutive Malaga.
And while he can be assured Michel Platini & Co. will be keeping a close eye on those outfits, at least three of them should have no problem complying with Financial Fair Play. (Monaco are an exception, as they aren’t eligible for European football next season, anyway, and are currently more concerned with bolstering their squad than any sort of financial responsibility.)
The reason for this is a loophole in the regulations that allows high-deficit clubs into Europe, so long as their financial performance demonstrates a positive trajectory.
In Annex XI of its FFP document, UEFA explains that a club reporting a “positive trend” in its annual results “should, in principle, not be sanctioned.”
As Chelsea, despite operating well into the red through much of the last decade, improved its state of affairs to the point that it ran a modest £1.4 million surplus in 2011-12, they can escape through this loophole even if they go back into deficit in 2013-14, as the trend is overwhelmingly positive.
Manchester City, too, can be heartened after slashing a £197.5 million operating loss in 2010-11 to £97.9 million in 2011-12, and Paris Saint-Germain’s numbers can be expected to show similar improvement over the next few seasons, as its revenues skyrocket.
Malaga, unfortunately, could not use the loophole and will now spend next season trying to get back into European competition without many of the players who took the club all the way to the Champions League quarterfinals a few months ago.
As UEFA points out, Financial Fair Play is designed “to place the necessary importance on the protection of creditors by ensuring that clubs settle their liabilities with players, social/tax authorities and other clubs punctually” and “to encourage clubs to operate on the basis of their own revenues.”
Malaga ran afoul of these directives and will now pay a price.
So, too, will Isco, who will likely have to depart the club at which he’d prefer to stay.