Manchester City banned for two years. What's the backstory?
There is a sensation in the world. Manchester City Football Club has been suspended from participation in European tournaments for two years and must pay a fine of 30 million euros. The decision was made by the UEFA Club Investigation Chamber for Club Financial Control (CFCB) (Union of European Football Associations - a sports organization managing football in Europe and some western regions of Asia). The investigation was conducted by the former Prime Minister of Belgium, Yves Leterm.
This is really a sensation not of sports, but of a global scale. Comparable to doping scandals in Russian sports. European bureaucrats banned the super club, one of the richest in the world, one of the strongest - TOP-5 by definition. This is unprecedented, if you do not take into account the Italian “Milan”, removed in the recent past for similar financial troubles from European cups for a year. But “Milan” today only conditionally remains a super club - for achievements in the past, and disqualification can also be considered conditional - the team has long been established among the middle peasants of the Italian Serie A, and she only dreams of the European arena. And then, “Manchester City” - the permanent champion of England in recent years, a constant favorite of the Champions League - the most profitable football competition.
The team’s latest history can be summarized with the saying “from rags to riches”. No, City, of course, was a famous team that won the championship of England in ancient times. And it seems more than once. But, as for the pre-prosperous period - it was a middle team, or even a “lifter”, i.e. of those who ply between the top and first leagues, dropping and rising, not lingering for long on either one or the other. And then, among the rich in the world, a fashion for their own club arose: for some, entertainment, hobbies, for others, a new business. “Manchester City” was bought by Sheikh Mansour - an ambitious man who does not skimp on money for success. So another super club appeared in the world.
The ease with which some teams overnight, thanks to financial injections, soared to the crest of success - Parisian Paris Saint Germain, London Chelsea, Manchester City or even German Leipzig, and others, no less eminent, sank deeper and deeper in the midst of disasters - the English Leeds, Nottingham Forest, the Italian Fiorentina, Parma, this list can be quite long, annoying the average citizen. And the official officials were worried. The situation became alarming: some could do everything, even the purchase of the best football players, the current contracts of which with one or another team, turned into an easily manageable convention, others - nothing of the kind and close. The stratification between rich (strong) and poor (weak) teams has become irreversible. Horrific from a sporting point of view, just look at the final tables of the leading European championships of recent years and make sure that the competition for victory is between two, at best and rarest, three teams, and often it doesn’t exist at all - someone wins by a margin. Predestination affected stadium attendance, i.e. on club income and, accordingly, deductions to the federation - local and continental. And when the super clubs, by conspiracy, began to hint at holding their own elite championship among themselves, and not under the UEFA roof, officials became chilly. There was a need to come up with effective countermeasures.
One of them was the establishment of the rules of fair play, that is, “fair play”. At first they looked like utter nonsense, but, in the end, they found some harmony and consistency. In short, the bottom line is that clubs cannot spend the amount "by a percentage" exceeding a certain limit on earnings earned - in tournaments, from the sale of broadcast rights, club merchandise, plus sponsorship money, plus an infusion from the owner and etc. The scheme is still quite confusing, and those who want to understand it can visit special sites. I note that she left a lot of loopholes - it is not in vain that litigation with a particular club arises every now and then, she played little to equalize the opportunities of clubs - medium and small as they were, they remained as such, but to some extent they tied their hands to the rich . But in what?
Juventus wanted to buy the Portuguese Ronaldo, he bought it. Wanted “Barcelona” Frenchman Griezmann - now he is already in the composition. He did not want “Real” to part with the Welshman Bale, put up such a price tag that everyone started back. That is, the powers that be continue to dictate what they want to dictate. Yes, they are all checked. Yes, periodically freeze transfers of players. But in my memory, it never happened that a certain operation carried out by a superclub and arousing suspicion of European football officials was canceled. The most severe punishment is a conditional fine and a ban on acquiring players until the next transfer window. Laughter, and more! The fine is repulsed in 1-2 days of trading the “wrongly acquired” football player's T-shirts, and the transfer ban is just a joke: how and who to get if the entire market is closed!
But you need to do something after all, and in a serious way. So loud and strong. "Wedges were lined up," as you can see, from free sources, not one year to most super clubs. Especially to those arising overnight. London “Chelsea” Roman Abramovich had troubles. The Parisian PSG of Arab sheikhs and Milan Inter of Chinese investors were at stake. But in the end I got Manchester City. After several years of proceedings, mail correspondence, in which the club’s representatives, unlike colleagues from other teams, did not behave smoothly, but responded sharply in the spirit of “leave us alone with your bullshit”, a verdict was issued: the club violated financial fair play - here it is evidence of exceeding the permissible costs, and therefore a fine and ban for two years.
City will challenge the punishment at the Lausanne Sports Court of Arbitration. Because there is a case brought by UEFA, investigated by UEFA and recognized by UEFA. To put it differently, letting go of Manchester City without punishment was suicidal for UEFA, for the Investigative Chamber for the financial control of clubs. And all would be fine, but the club itself has long been making noise about unjust nit-picking by officials, it’s not so easy ... Well, you understand me? The likelihood of the resignation of officials who “drove” to the club and failed to prove his guilt sharply increased, but at the same time the value of financial fair play would have depreciated - what is it if one can still do everything, and the other remains to dance to their tune, and UEFA can't change anything?
Specifically, UEFA relations with Manchester City really look ambiguous. If you study their history, you will be struck by the list of fines issued, and their amount, too. For the slightest deviation from the regulations. For example, for entering the field late in a few seconds - a fine of several tens of thousands of euros! And such violations often go unpunished. Fans of which super club were more often than others not allowed for away matches for some reason? Right. It should only be added that fans of other super clubs have never been disqualified. One of the football analysts in England succinctly remarked: “It seems to me that European football looks at ManCity as“ new money. ”Although I do not always believe in conspiracies, sometimes it seems that everything related to financial fair play , invented to squeeze money out of ManCity and PSG. "
Sports publications today write that Manchester City would not have been excluded from the Champions League without the discharge of documents and emails organized by Football Leaks, and officials only completed the case. But from the same drain, it becomes clear that behind the scenes there was a banal trade. What is the quote from the President of Manchester City Al-Mubarak, or the quote attributed to him: he is ready to spend 50 million euros on lawyers and sue UEFA if the club is punished or not left alone, and the response of the current FIFA president and then UEFA Secretary General Gianni Infantino: you can trust me. What are the intonations, even if you don’t know what it is about? Assumptions? That's right - the widest.
I’m far from being a defender of Manchester City, especially since the club definitely doesn’t need my services, and Al-Mubarak, out of the claimed 50 million, will not spend a single euro. Moreover, I am convinced that there were violations of financial fair play by the club. I am convinced that they will continue in the future if the bar of sports ambitions is not reduced to a near-zero level. But at the same time, I am deeply convinced that these rules were violated by other teams, and by no means less. It’s just that the others agreed, but Manchester City for some reason didn’t. Perhaps he did not want to feel like an endless cash cow. But, by the way, there is also such a thing in this world where everything is intertwined, perhaps more closely than it might seem at first glance, as political lobbying - hi Brexit. And there is also economic pressure. Today, according to the UEFA rules, you can’t just buy and buy a football club like Manchester City, pump it up with money and start writing the latest football history. But what about business freedom, what does the West boast of? Yes, so ... Not always freedom. Something is impossible. But, if you really want to, it still turns out that you can - Alaverdi, the same English club Everton with an owner from India. "Double standards"? Probably. And just on the other hand, that all these rules of fair play allow loopholes. And this is ridiculous when it turns out that the powerful, richest football organization is not able to hire lawyers of such qualifications that they clearly state in these rules - what is possible, what is impossible! Moreover, there is a model, which may not be perfect and also with some flaws, but which really balances the capabilities of the teams. It's about American professional leagues, with a clearly defined ceiling and gender for salaries for players - i.e. with an unambiguous indication of how much at least the club should spend on the total salary of its players and the maximum maximum for which it is impossible to intercede, as if this would not be desirable. Plus a separate line is “premium,” that is, bonuses for success, but also marginal. Overseas rules could probably be, if not copied, then adapted to European football. They will make the rules of the game transparent to everyone. And in this case, they will cut down the possibilities of the corruption component. But is it necessary for the bureaucratic people, when it is simpler, more familiar and, most importantly, more profitable scheme in which "I can be trusted" may appear ?!
There is a suspicion that the story with Manchester City is not yet complete. The club, as promised, will appeal to the Lausanne court, the decision will be reviewed. Disqualification will not be canceled - UEFA must save face. Leave a one-year ban. Perhaps the issued fine will also be slightly reduced. And UEFA will not mind. Two years of disqualification is a lot. Especially for the temperamental club owner, who may not come to terms with the actual two-year downtime. And then from the status of “superclub” can remain without the prefix “super”, with the financing of a regular club. And in this way no one will cut the chicken that lays the golden eggs, albeit capricious. And keeping in mind that such a reprisal can discourage the rich of this world from doing business in the football world.