The City Case: FFP takes a hard hit from CAS and City

Manchester City have escaped a massive punishment from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which would have seen them excluded from the Champions League for two years for a breach of Financial Fair Play if they had been found guilty. The alleged breach included camouflaging payment from Abu Dhabi as sponsorship money from Etihad Airways. But these things, as obvious as they might seem, still have to be proven. City, fighting with the lawyer who prevented Boris Johnson from suspending UK Parliament, have beaten CAS. The fine handed down to them is €10 million, which is but a drop in the ocean for the Sheikh.

PSG bought Neymar and Mbappé for the same amount of money that they make in two years. It was this brazenness from the Ligue 1 side that delivered a blow to FFP in the past. They escaped major punishment due to a deadline problem in the lawsuit and now City have escaped because the accusation was based on emails from 'Football Leaks', which were fraudulently obtained. Clearly, FFP does not work well or those implementing it don't know how to. The old motivation of footballing justice, the good of competitive equality, doesn't count for much here.

The system to monitor FFP doesn't work either. LaLiga exercises annual and preventative control that does not allow transfers to happen unless there is solvency prior to a deal. UEFA does it every three years and deals with treatment rather than prevention of such situations. When it's time to review the case, things are camouflaged. Or else, like we have seen, the cases are won due to defects in the process. FFP has worked in hunting down some small game: Málaga, Red Star, Dynamo Moscow and Galatasaray. But with PSG and CIty, the blow has been enormous. Bad for Madrid, Barça and Atleti, who are left to fight these state clubs. "It would be like if Qatar bought Carrefour and start to give away chickens. What would become of the other supermarkets?" Tebas said to me one day. But that's the way it is, delight for Guardiola, who stuck his tongue out yesterday from his ivory tower.