FFP to be relaxed: is Premier League TV deal to blame?

Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool concerned about Uefa decision to 'ease' regulations

UEFA President Michel Platini
(Image credit: PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)

Uefa's plans to relax Financial Fair Play rules have provoked an angry response in some quarters with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, renowned for his prudent approach, suggested the governing body had buckled under pressure from clubs who "never respected" the rules, while inflated TV rights deals had queered the pitch for clubs across Europe.

A year after Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were hit with fines for breaching the rules, Uefa president Michel Platini announced that the rules would now be "eased".

According to the Daily Telegraph the changes "would allow owners to embark on a short-term spending spree, providing they are not borrowing money to do so and they present Uefa with a clear plan for breaking even in subsequent years". They are a reaction to "criticism from clubs that the current regulations unfairly discriminated against new investors in teams".

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Wenger told the Telegraph: "It will not affect [Arsenal] at all because we always spend the money we have... [but] there were some clubs who never respected FFP and it looks like international pressure to make the rules more flexible because of potential investors in other countries.

"It never worked completely. It had a positive influence on some aspects of the job but it was never completely in place. The only thing you can say is before it was completely in place it is already changed."

He added that the Premier League's mammoth TV deal, worth more than £5bn, may also have forced Uefa's hand as it gives English clubs more financial clout.

Arsenal are not the only club to voice concerns. Manchester United and Liverpool are also worried. "All three clubs, under American ownership, have been vocal in their support of FFP and their opposition to the form of benefactor-funded spending that has brought success — as well as Uefa disciplinary action — to [Manchester] City and PSG," says The Times.

City will certainly benefit, says the paper, "as would Chelsea, whose apparent conversion to FFP has been largely pragmatic". The "relaxation on spending limits might also be welcomed by an emerging breed of wealthy foreign owners in Italian football," it adds.

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