Arsene Wenger: Arsenal boss says FFP rules must be questioned

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger has questioned whether Uefa’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules should be scrapped and says clubs are currently “not respecting” them.

European football’s governing body introduced FFP ‘break-even’ rules in 2013, requiring clubs to balance their spending with their revenue.

Paris St-Germain are being investigated for breaches of FFP after their £200m signing of Neymar this summer.

“It looks like we have created rules that cannot be respected,” Wenger said.

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PSG more than doubled the world record transfer fee when they bought Brazilian forward Neymar last month from Barcelona. They have also signed Kylian Mbappe on loan, and could pay £165.7m to keep him permanently in 2018.

PSG and Manchester City were accused of ‘financial doping’ by La Liga president Javier Tebas, who added that the French side were “laughing at the system” with their summer buys.

But Wenger said that financial regulations on clubs could be loosened around Europe.

Asked if he wanted to see an end to FFP rules, Wenger said: “I think so because there are too many legal ways to get around Financial Fair Play.

“At least the question has to be raised. I’m convinced that at the moment the rules are not strong enough to make them respected.”

In 2014 Man City were fined £17m and ordered to compete in the Champions League with a reduced squad by Uefa for breaching FFP regulations. PSG were also sanctioned at the same time.

Neymar

‘Rules that cannot be respected’

Wenger said the Premier League could also suffer if it continues to follow FFP by the book.

“Financial Fair Play raises new questions,” he said. “Today I am not very convinced that we can maintain it.

“We have to maintain the control of financial management of the clubs. Football is maybe only at the start of a huge financial investment. It has become the most powerful sport in the world.

“That means, do we have to open the door completely? To investments? That is a question we have to raise, because at the moment it looks like we have created rules that cannot be respected.

“Nothing works when you create rules that cannot be respected. Maybe we are at the crossroads and have to think, do we open it completely?

“Freedom to investment for people like the Chinese or Americans who want to invest here? Why not? If you want to remain the best league in the world, that is certainly the way we have to go.”

Wenger has previously called for Uefa to treat teams that breach FFP with tough sanctions, including kicking them out of European football.

This summer Arsenal broke their transfer record to sign Alexandre Lacazette for £46.5m from Lyon but their only other purchase was Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was sold to rivals Liverpool on deadline day, while Kieran Gibbs, Lucas Perez and Joel Campbell also left in the final hours of the window.

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and defender Gabriel were sold earlier in the summer as Wenger said his squad was too big and he needed to balance the books.

Alexis Sanchez was almost sold to Manchester City on deadline day but the move failed to materialise as Arsenal’s move for Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar fell through.

BBC Sport – Football

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