Financial Fair Play: letter to Michel Platini

Treetops Golf Resort - Rick Smith Tradition Course, Gaylord, Michigan

Dear Michel,

You do allow me to call you Michel I hope? I have seen you play at least a dozen times when I was a kid in the Parc des Princes and your unforgettable goals against Bulgaria, Yougoslavia, and Spain to list just a few. I consider you as my favorite player of all times.

I am all for your Financial fair play concept. I think it’s the right way to fix the major problem football has been running into since some years.  You recently re-stated at the “Il Bello del Calcio” Gazzetta dello Sport Award the simple business concept that so many club owners have forgotten or don’t care about; don’t spend more than you earn! I would propose another option to your model that currently forbids any club in participating in the Champions League and Europa League if they don’t reach break-even by 2017 (and with maximum losses capped at different levels until then). The current financial fair play concept, if applied strictly, could well mean that clubs like Barça, Man United or Man City would risk not being able to participate in upcoming Champions or Europa Leagues. If you carry it through strictly, the level of participation could damage the overall quality of these tournaments which would then penalize the healthy clubs by generating less television and sponsorship revenues for them.

The Golf handicap model

Clubs with losses would still be able to participate but would start with a handicap in terms of negative points in the play-off round groups. The number of points below 0 would depend on the size of the loss. For example, a club with an annual loss of between €0 to €10 million would start the play-offs with -1 point, between €10 million and €50 million, -2 points, and so on. These numbers would need to be refined, it’s just the concept I am trying to explain here. In this scenario, you are not barring the entry to some of the prestigious loss making clubs but their chances of qualifying to the second round become much more difficult to attain. I feel this idea would bring the best of both worlds to the financial fair play concept but would still strongly encourage club owners to strive for financial health in the next coming years.

Maracanazos like to borrow from other sports.

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