Manchester City

Will City Pay The Price For Flashing The Cash?

Before Sheik Mansour bought the club in 2008 Manchester City had not finished higher than eight in a Premier League season.

Four years on and the Abu Dhabi millions have transformed City from a mid table club to champions.
The rapid change in fortunes for the blue half of Manchester has sparked criticism not least from their biggest rivals across the city.

It has been revealed this week that United have put forward proposals to introduce financial fair play regulations into the English game, similar to those that UEFA have already introduced for teams wishing to qualify for the Champions League.

The full extent of the proposals, and any possible sanctions for clubs which fail to comply with the regulations, has yet to be revealed. But what is clear is that the proposals will be aimed at curbing the extravagant spending that has gone on at the Etihad since the Abu Dhabi revolution.

It is not just City who have been accused of buying the Premier League title in the last 20 years. Both Blackburn and Chelsea spent extortionate amounts of money to achieve their successes, but footballs governing bodies are now having to regulate the money side of the game in order to protect the future of football.

In many ways United have a point. Losing the title to their ‘noisy neighbours’ would have been an easier pill to swallow if City had built a team of outstanding academy graduates, similar to the side that took United to a league and cup double in 1996.

Instead the City’s owners have shelled out almost half a billion pounds on new players since they took over, most lured in by lucrative pay packets to match their hefty price tag.

The influx of mega rich benefactors is starting to alter the balance in world football. The number of clubs looking to achieve success through their chequebook is rising, with Paris St.Germain and Anzhi Makhachkala joining City in the ‘sky’s the limit’ approach in terms of the amount of money spent on transfer fees and wages.

Figures published by the Guardian for the 2010-11 season showed that Manchester City had spent £21m more on players wages, than their annual turnover.

With the majority of clubs this sort of financial mismanagement would cause serious problems, but City’s owners are so rich that they can afford to continuously throw money into the club.

Without the UEFA financial fair play rules in place it is likely that we would have seen City attempt to buy half of Europe this summer. Instead the club was forced to reel in their spending and make more modest singings.

Yet with over £50m of new talent brought in during the transfer window, the owners are keen to splash the cash in order to retain their Premier League title.

Whilst the bottomless pit mentality might help you to buy a cheque-book championship, at the same time it is signing away the game’s soul. Financial fair play regulations might just give it a shot of redemption.

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