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Why Bundesliga clubs hate UEFA’s new FFP rules

UEFA’s proposed new Financial Fair Play rules threaten the entire league — Bayern Munich included.

Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B - UEFA Champions League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

In a new breakdown by Sport Bild, it appears that clubs in the Bundesliga are dead set against UEFA’s proposed changes to Financial Fair Play, which are set to come into effect from the 2022/23 season. The Germans believe that the new rules threaten to leave the league — Bayern Munich included — in the dust as they give a huge boost to investor-led clubs like PSG and Manchester City.

Since the Sport Bild article is behind a paywall, you can get the gist of the story from this thread by journalist Stefan Bienkowski:

Here’s a rundown of the problems:

  • Abolition of the break-even rule: Currently, club owners can only cover a loss of up to €30m if they want to participate in European competition (there’s more to the rule but that’s the short of it). The new rules do away with this restriction, giving clubs with big investors a massive advantage in the transfer market. Since the vast majority of Bundesliga clubs are fan owned and self sufficient, this would be a huge blow to the league.
  • A lax implementation of the salary cap: The new FFP rules would require clubs to only spend up to 70% of their revenue on transfers. While this makes sense, it only covers the 25 players registered for UEFA competitions each season. Bundesliga clubs want it to apply to the entire first team squad, to prevent superclubs like Man City from building a second roster for domestic competition. Also, Bundesliga clubs want a hard limit on what clubs can spend on salaries and transfers per season.
  • The “luxury tax”: UEFA and the ECA have proposed the implementation of a “luxury tax”, i.e. a fine on those clubs that break FFP rules, which would then be redistributed among members. The Bundesliga believes that this allows rich owners to just spend their way out of penalties when they want to, and instead want to ban rule-breakers from European competition.

If UEFA implements these rules in their current form, then not just the Bundesliga, but pretty much every fan-owned club on the continent will be rendered obsolete in the upper echelons of football. Even global giants like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona will struggle to compete if teams like Chelsea, PSG, and Man City are given carte-blanche authority to ignore the rules and spend whatever they want. If FFP allows that to happen, then what’s the point of its existence?