Rivals ganging up to ban City: Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal may test Champions League ruling on Financial Fair Play
Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool could use UEFA small print to challenge Manchester City’s right to play in the Champions League next season.
The rules now effectively set up a scenario where rivals can claim City have cheated their way to passing UEFA’s ‘Financial Fair Play’ (FFP) test.
It is understood lawyers for a host of ‘major clubs’ are aware of these potential rights to make appeals — thanks to recently amended Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations — and are monitoring the situation closely.
On Saturday night Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who faces City on Monday in the game of the season so far, accused some unnamed clubs of ‘dodgy FFP’.
He said: ‘There are clubs that are following exactly the project of Financial Fair Play and there are other clubs doing it in a dodgy way. For me, that is very clear. I don’t say the clubs — that is not my job.’
When asked specifically about City, and a potential UEFA investigation, he added: ‘It’s for Mr Platini and other people to analyse it, it’s not for me… I’m waiting for that.’
FFP rules compel clubs to limit losses for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons combined to £37million, with a ban from European competitions the severest theoretical punishment. City last week announced losses for 2012-13 of £51.6m, meaning they have lost £149.5m over two years.
They can perhaps ‘exempt’ as much as £110m of those losses to meet FFP requirements. But they face accusations their losses are artificially low after earning cash from ‘intellectual property’ sales to related companies. UEFA sources have confirmed this will be investigated to see if it is ‘real’ income.
Amended small print in the 2014 UEFA FFP rulebook, just published, includes two key changes; one allowing clubs to ‘plea bargain’ punishments for overspending, and another that allows other clubs to challenge those plea bargains if they feel the outcomes negatively affect them.
Liverpool are one of the clubs not in a position to compete with City's financial muscle
Arsenal could be another team to benefit if City are to face a form of punishment
Title rivals: Arsenal could be another team to benefit if City are to face a form of punishment