UEFA’s Financial Fair Play is about fiscal responsibility. It should be applauded. But real fairness will be achieved only with equal access to resources. In this proposal we at soccerissue.com suggest a 5-point plan for Real Financial Fair Play in European Football. We would appreciate your suggestions on our facebook group.
I. Local media revenue
A country will not play in European competition if it does not have a collective broadcast deal in it’s top division. This agreement will allow a maximum of 100% difference between payments to teams.
II. Proceeds from European Competition
TV revenues and prize money from European competition will be divided 1/3 to the participating teams and 2/3 between the other teams in the participants national top divisions.
III. Access to Markets
Countries may unite their top divisions in order to create a more significant consumer market for top division football.
IV. Youth development
Teams will pay a 6% “nurturing tax” on the salaries of players under 27. The money will be divided equally between teams responsible for the player’s development between the ages of 14 and 17.
V. Distribution of talent
Teams will be allowed to hold the registrations of a maximum of 25 players. Players younger than 21 and acquired before their 18th birthday will exempt from this clause.
The smaller print:
In drafting this proposal we followed one important guideline. The implementation of rules does not require scrutiny of the clubs’ financial reports. This will make such rules easy to implement and police. We also take the approach that Fair Play begins at home – in the national leagues.
Following is the rational behind each suggestion.
Local media revenues
Providing for fair competition is local leagues is the first step to a level playing field in the entire continent. Such a system increases revenue as proven by the Bundesliga example. This will ensure the commitment of the bigger clubs to the general welfare of football in their countries.
European competition revenue
In many countries European proceeds distort local competition. In large countries like England it has created an elite group of teams. In smaller countries a single Champions League participation can give one team an enormous advantage over local rivals.
Access to market
By uniting top divisions smaller countries will be able to create the consumer market necessary to create a league on par with the top 5-6 populated nations that currently dominate club football. Many of such leagues have natural historical or geographical basis. This is has been successful in other sports like Ice Hockey and Rugby.
Examples: Scandinavian League, Danubian League, Celtic League, Balkan League, Benelux League, Baltic League or Iberian League. In pre-WWII time such a middle European League created a golden age in Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and other relatively small countries.
This will ensure the professional level funds the future development of the game and that academies are a sustainable business for small clubs. With the nurturing expense capped and gradual it will also reduce the incentive of larger clubs to acquire players at a very young age.
Distribution of talent
This will prevent big teams from holding on to massive pools of talent. It will prevent situations where top international players are merely squad players at the larger clubs rather than starring for medium clubs.