UEFA plans to scrap Financial Fair Play could leave Celtic further in the cold

By Euan Davidson

March 25, 2021

UEFA are planning to scrap Financial Fair Play, in a move that could see Celtic frozen out.

According to the Gazzetta Dello Sport, European football’s governing body are set to loosen restrictions. In a call with the European Parliament on Friday, UEFA are set to propose a total overhaul, effectively abandoning the practice. With more freedom given to monied clubs in Champions League’s elite, clubs with more modest budgets will suffer.

Unfortunately, that includes Celtic.

It also has a knock-on impact in terms of sponsorship. Last year, Manchester City were cleared of wrong-doing after improprieties involving their UAE-based backers emerged [ESPN]. Limits on revenues from sponsorships had been implemented to curb “financial doping” in the sport.

However, it seems that money has spoken. Clubs like PSG, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid will be able to spend with impunity. While the FFP impact had arguably been negligible to this point, it at least set a precedent. The idea of something nearing a level-playing field is seemingly going to be abandoned.

UEFA overhauling FFP could strike a blow for clubs including Celtic / (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

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What does Financial Fair Play rule change mean for Celtic?

Ultimately, this current Celtic team aren’t affected until we qualify for the Champions League again. It’s there that we see the impact of financial inequality in Europe’s top competition.

While the Bhoys have a fan-base rivalling the CL elite, we make a tiny fraction of the revenue boasted by the likes of Juventus or Manchester City. That’s by virtue of playing in a smaller league, for comparatively minuscule TV deals. Sad as it is, that’s the reality.

So, this could galvanise any attempt by Dermot Desmond to consider moving league. While he’s brushed off ideas of an Atlantic League so far, the disparity between ourselves and the top table of European football may twist his arm. If Celtic can secure competition in an “elite” league featuring Premier League or European clubs, for higher revenues, the FFP changes may impact his decision-making.

Given the precariousness of finances in football just now, everyone’s considering their options.

From a footballing purist point of view, these changes sap some more romance from the game. Yes, seeing the likes of the Lisbon Lions again is a near-impossibility. However, the likelihood of a team outside the CL’s established top tier winning the competition will be even unlikelier than it was before.

This is all potentially bad news for football purists, and Scottish Football fans alike. The knock-on effects for clubs like Celtic could be seismic.

READ MORE: How does a Director of Football fix this Celtic team?