Soccer has become the most popular sport in the world. With so many people love this sports, this condition change soccer into, not only a mere sport, but also business. There are many competitions that offers great money prize. The TV rights also become the other source of income from many professional soccer clubs, because the high demands from the audience, which make the match that was broadcasted through it, become high valuable show. Therefore, many professional soccer clubs try to build their team with the strongest player, so they can win all of those tournament and competition. More than that, with best player in the team, they also can show good and beautiful team play, which can mesmerize many people and attract more audience. And, all of these things has one solely purpose, which is making more money. In fact, soccer has close relationship with huge chunk amount of money. The easiest way to see that is the player transfer, which usually held on summer, before the season start, or winter, in the mid-season.
Many soccer clubs spend lot, even more than you can imagine, just getting a sign with top player that they want. They have no regret to spend that much amount of money, because when their club can play better and move to more advance stage of competition, more money await them. So, it’s like investment, with big chance to get huge profit. And, this is where all problems came out onto surface. With so many club spend huge amount of money, there are many problem that come to them later, like debt. Aware of this unhealthy condition, UEFA, as the organization that governs everything about soccer in Europe, made an innovation. They create Financial Fair Play (FFP) rule. With this rule, every soccer club in Europe can’t spend more than what they earn anymore. There is even specific rule in FFP that state the amount of the money that a soccer club can spend mustn’t over the specific percentage limit of their income (match prize, TV, merchandise and other). With this financial rule, there are no clubs that can spend the amount of money that they want, because they got investment from their new owner. And, it also gives a justice from the small soccer club that isn’t financially strong as big club. With this rule, UEFA try to make soccer business and competitiveness to become much better in the future. But, does that really work?
Although FFP was created to give fairness and equality in player transfer, the status of big club and small club doesn’t change at all. Those big clubs with huge fan base and strong branding in soccer business world keep leading in the player transfer. It’s because, the FFP state that the club only can spend their money to buy player as much as some percentage of their income. And, because these big clubs has big income in the first place, they can spend money way much more than small club, just like before. The equality and uniformity that was hoped before can’t be achieved here. This condition also leads it into worst situation, the lack of competitive value of the domestic league.
Just take a look at La Liga in Spain. The champion of their soccer league is dominated by Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, as two richest soccer clubs in Spain as well as in the world. Few seasons back, Atletico Madrid has successfully break domination of those two clubs. But, it’s only just short time. In last few season, this league is dominated again by those two. The worst case is maybe Ligue 1. It is rare to see other club than PSG on the top position of the league standings. Last season, AS Monaco has successfully broken their domination. However, many analysts see that this year, the champion of this league will be in PSG hand once again. We can already see it by how PSG build their team for this season competition. After recruiting Neymar from FC Barcelona and made him become the most expensive player in the world, they also recruit Kylan Mbappe from their competitor, AS Monaco. Mbappe was the most important player on the attacking line of AS Monaco. With him moving to PSG, we can say that AS Monaco attacking line has become reduced in term of power.
The big name and not very well-known name soccer club also can become the source of other problem. With club that has strong branding, acquiring sponsorship that can give them more money would be easier. This will make the limit that FFP has stated can be raised higher even more. That makes them have more ability and money to buy player with much expensive price. On the other hand, small club don’t have ability to do that. So, in the end, FFP has not that much effect on making the player transfer process become more fair and can be done in good way. The other purpose to make the competition become more competitive also can’t be achieved with this FFP. So, what is the good solution for this condition?
Some people maybe want UEFA to create the uniformity in the amount of money that a professional soccer club can spend. But, this won’t be a good thing, because it will change the business system itself, which make it impossible to do. The best solution is by creating a rule where a club must use numbers of specific player that they use on a match. For example, in one match, a club can only use 6 players that they buy from player transfer, and the rest of it must be player from their academy. This will help to even the strength of each club, and more than that, this will stimulate the development of young player for the future. This is also good way for the national team of the respective country where that competition has been held. Of course, all of this will lead to one thing, which is a better and much more interesting soccer match for all.