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Opinion

If FFP punishes owners pumping own money into club, surely asset stripping needs equally punished

7 months ago
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FFP (Financial Fair Play) should cut both ways.

I’m sure you’ve all been losing sleep over Manchester City’s plight.

City’s owners have been found out for pumping around £60 million per year into the club, by paying their sponsor to do it for them.

Given their sponsorship has always dwarfed most other clubs in the Premier League, long before they became successful, you have to imagine UEFA’s heads had been buried in the sand up to now.

Regardless, they’ve finally brought the hammer down for breach of financial fair play rules, banning City from European competition for two years.

Take a moment to shed a tear and dry your eyes.

Now let’s talk about fair play.

If clubs are going to be punished so severely for owners pumping their own money into a club, surely asset stripping or gross negligence should be equally punished.

This ban is set to spark an exodus of City’s star players, plus the loss of revenue from European competition. I’ve seen figures projecting a loss of £100-150 million per year.

Mike Ashley’s ownership has seen the facilities of our club suffer dramatically.

Land sold off for flats, ancient training facilities, a stadium falling to pieces, years of free advertising for his company as we were fed the story we should be financially independent, and the looping story of the club being sold every time season ticket renewals come around – fans blatantly lied to year after year.

Some will point to Ashley ‘saving’ the club from financial ruin, after his supposedly whimsical purchase uncovered our debts, graciously loaning us money interest-free. BS.

He clearly knew exactly what he was doing, given his company registered nufcdirect.com six months before his takeover.

Due diligence will have followed, so he knew exactly what he was getting, and he’s reaped the benefits of owning a (mostly) Premier League club ever since, whilst neglecting his own duty of care.

The big clubs of Europe, concerned about Saudi princes buying their way to the top, clearly have more political clout than clubs like ours seeing abuses of entirely different kind.

I would argue governing bodies should be less concerned about owners pumping money into their clubs and more concerned about the ones, like Ashley, hollowing clubs out from inside.

It’s only fair.

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