Gary Neville admits he isn’t surprised Manchester City had their Champions League ban overturned – and believes UEFA’s Financial Fair Play initiative has been delivered a much-need “slap around the face”. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday quashed City’s two-year suspension from European competition imposed on them by UEFA over “serious breaches” of financial regulations.
Gary Neville said “It’s not surprising, It’s a big relief for Manchester City, not just in terms of what they are trying to achieve, but the stain that would have been left over the trophies in the last few years if they had been found guilty. UEFA cannot get a simple disciplinary hearing right. We have known that for years and years, and they certainly weren’t going to get right something so complex. UEFA are an organisation who can’t organise their own disciplinary measures. The idea they could take on a Manchester City legal machine who were going to throw everything at this – and rightly so, not just because they have got the money but because they are defending their reputation – they were always going to come unstuck. From a point of view on FFP, I know that’s not what was being debated in terms of the legalities of it, but I don’t believe in FFP. FFP needed this slap around the face. I said a few months ago that FFP would have prevented Jack Walker doing what he did 30 years ago at Blackburn, The reality is we need a Blackburn, Manchester City and Chelsea to challenge a Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham so you have an ever-evolving competition at the top of the league. Owners at clubs should be allowed to put money in, if they can afford it. It’s fundamentally wrong there are restrictions on owners about putting money into football clubs. Whether it be Chelsea, City, Blackburn, all those stories we’ve had in the Premier League, the addition to challenging Manchester United, Arsenal and other clubs wouldn’t have happened had FFP been implemented in its truest form. There have always been rich owners putting money into football clubs and invested into clubs and that won’t change today. FFP needs changing into a different model. You need something. My take is an owner should have to fulfil to the obligations they commit to. That is my take on a football club’s sustainability model.”
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