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Football Governance

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Financial fair play and the Championship

This article takes a look at Financial Fair Play and its implications for Championship clubs, attempting to forecast which ones might be caught out.

It confidently asserts that the Football League will apply the rules as intended in January 2015, attempts to modify them have failed to secure the necessary 75 per cent majority.

Sony put pressure on Fifa over Qatar

Leading Fifa sponsors Sony are putting pressure on the football governing body to conduct an appropriate investigation into allegations surrounding the way in which Qatar secured the 2022 World Cup.   Fresh allegations have been made in the Sunday Times today.

City sanctions eased

Financial fair play (FFP) sanctions are expected to be eased on Manchester City.  Rather than having to name eight 'home grown' players in their Champions League Squad, the number looks likely to be reduced to five.   This would allow them to field 16 foreign players, just one short of the normal number of 17.

This would reduce pressures on City as it looked as if they would have to omit some foreign stars and offer contracts to English players who were surplus to requirements, making it more difficult for them to break even.

City concede to 'practical realities'

Manchester City have conceded to 'practical realities' in reaching a settlement agreement with Uefa under financial fair play rules.   In effect this means that they have given priority to ensuring that they are in the Champions League next season, albeit with a reduced squad.

By holding out €40m of the €60m fine has been suspended and they are confident they can meet break even targets given enhanced commercial and television revenues.

City decision may be delayed

A decision on the sanctions to be applied to Manchester City under Uefa's financial fair play rules has been expected for some time now.  Indeed, the details of the Uefa offer including a £49m fine and player restrictions has been widely leaked, although it was clear that the club was unhappy with the proposed settlement.

However, the chair of the Uefa panel, former Belgian prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, has been ill and he has now passed away.   This may result in a further delay in a decision.

Labour leader wants to tighten ownership rules

Labour leader Ed Miliband has signalled his intention to intervene in football if he becomes prime minister.  The Leeds United fan's thinking is believed to have been influenced by the recent takeover of his club by Massimo Cellino, a convicted fraudster.

Miliband met football fans at a pub in Horsforth and said that owners should be stopped from using clubs to 'shuffle round debt'.   He also argued that tests on whether prospective owners were 'fit and proper' were failing.   He also identified the number of foreign players as an issue.

Critique from US of Dyke commission proposals

Writing from the University of Michigan, soccer economics guru Stefan Szymanski has set out a critique of the Dyke commission proposals for the future of the English game.   One of his fundamental points is that the report fails to define adequately what the problem is, making it difficult to come up with appropriate solutions.

Uefa may rain on City parade

Manchester City are odds on favourites to take the Barclays Premier League title today.  However, on Monday Uefa may spoil their parade by announcing the sanctions to be imposed on them for breaching financial fair play regulations.

B league plan unpopular

Among the proposals from Greg Dyke's FA Commission, that for a new league for B teams has attracted most controversy.   A not uncommon response is why the lower leagues should be expected to sort out problems caused by the Premiership's 'greed'.

Under the plan there would be a new League 3 from 2016-17 with ten 'B' teams from top sides and ten Conference sides.   There would be promotion and relegation, but 'B' teams could not be promoted beyond League 1.  

Why is City fine so large?

It appears that Manchester City are to be fined €60m or around £50m for breaches of Uefa's financial fair play rules.   It is not clear whether the fine would take a phased reduction of Champions League prize money as some reports are suggesting.  In addition they are likely to face a cap on the size of their squad and possibly a wages cap as well.