The decision to overturn Manchester City’s UEFA ban has been declared a “huge victory” for the club, but Financial Fair Play has come under scrutiny.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced on Monday that Manchester City will be allowed to play in the Champions League again, after UEFA had banned them for two years due to FFP.
However, UEFA’s ban has now been overruled, meaning City can plan for a more certain future. They confirmed their place in next year’s competition with a 5-0 win at Brighton on Saturday.
Following the announcement, several questions have been raised over the future of FFP. For example, Sky Sports pundit Stephen Warnock has claimed that the punishment of a fine is much easier for clubs with rich owners to accept.
Warnock told Sky Sports: “I think there’s an argument that that’s what football fans want, isn’t it? But then obviously the richest owners go out and try and buy whoever they want.
“I think you want to try and keep football on a level playing field as much as you can for the survival of clubs down the bottom end, to give teams opportunities to compete at the highest level.
“I think we always see that throughout the years, it’s more often than not the richest teams who are going out buying the best players, spending big wages on players as well.
“But I think there’s been a little bit of a trend change this season. They’ve spent big money, Liverpool, but the net spend isn’t huge. They’ve sold players for big money and then they’ve reinvested that money.
“So there is a way of doing it, but more often than not, it is the rich clubs who benefit from it.
“I do think the idea behind FFP was a good idea. But obviously if this is happening, where there’s ways round it, they’re actually coming out and saying that they broke the rules. And if you’ve broke the rules, you should be punished.
“But they obviously felt that the fine of a ban was too long, but they still are paying a fine. When you’ve got rich owners and you’ve got the ability to put your hand in your pocket again and pay that fine, then it doesn’t really stand up.”
CITY SHOULD BE “EXCITED” ABOUT NEWS
The decision means City can now focus their attention on building for next season. The knowledge that they will be playing in Europe’s top competition will help them keep some of their bigger players like Kevin De Bruyne, who had expressed concerns about the potential ban.
However, it now looks likely that they will be able to retain most of their top talent – even if Leroy Sane has already agreed to leave.
Warnock added: “I’m sure they’re delighted. I think there’s always been a confidence that this would be overturned and there wouldn’t be a ban imposed.
“Manchester City obviously felt that the case that they put forward was strong enough and it’s been upheld today, so they’ll be very, very happy, I’m sure.
“For the fans to know that the players will be staying, there won’t be wholesale sales of their top players. I’m sure they’ll be more than excited about the news coming out today.”
CITY “DESPERATELY” WANT TO WIN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Meanwhile, fellow Sky pundit Sue Smith added that there are three benefits of the decision for City – keeping their manager, best players and bringing in new faces.
And the former England international said that City will be doing all they can to win the competition they have once more been allowed entry into.
Smith said: “I think it’s a huge victory. I think yesterday if Manchester City had been told that they would still be part of the Champions League, but they have this huge fine, they would have taken that all day.
“Because now it just means that hopefully Pep will stay. Hopefully the players will stay that they want to stay. And they can bring in, they can recruit who they want to recruit.
“So it’s a huge victory for Manchester City. They can now plan going forward what players are going to be there, what players they can bring in.
“And of course, the Champions League is huge to Manchester City. They desperately want to win that.”