The former England international has little faith in UEFA’s ability to control club finances and feels the current regulations are not fit for purpose
Manchester City will beat “hopeless” UEFA in their appeal against the club’s European ban for breaching “nonsense” Financial Fair Play rules, says Gary Neville.
UEFA announced on Friday that City had been handed a two-season suspension from European competition and a €30 million (£25m/$33m) fine for breaching FFP regulations.
The Premier League champions have since confirmed they will appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Neville believes the two sides will be drawn into a lengthy court dispute, but that City will be successful in the end.
“I think City will beat UEFA, I’ve got no faith in UEFA whatsoever,” Neville told Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
“They are a hopeless organisation who just apply erratic disciplinary sanctions for different things.
“I think it will get stuck in the courts for some time, but City will win in the end.”
Neville agrees that there should be controls in place to prevent irresponsible owners putting clubs’ futures at risk, but feels the current FFP regulations do not achieve that aim.
Instead, they act as a barrier for clubs looking to break into the game’s elite through owner investment.
“I’ve always felt FFP is the wrong way to apply the financial rules,” added the former Manchester United defender. “FFP was brought in to stop clubs going bust, but there are different ways of achieving that.
“In all other forms of business there are bank guarantees, bonds or owner’s pledges. If owners sign up to contracts then they should have the money in place to be able fulfil those contracts. I think Man City’s owners have got that.
“There should be a fit and proper owners’ test and coverage of obligation, two things that should absolutely happen in every football club. FFP is a nonsense as far as I’m concerned.
“We are essentially saying that we can create a status quo in Europe, like a franchise. I think a lot of the top clubs in Europe would take football towards a franchise-type model if we didn’t have owners who would be willing to invest in other clubs.
“There are horror stories of owners investing in clubs and not following through with their commitments, that’s got to be stopped. But there are other ways of stopping that without applying FFP.
“To suggest that Man City could ever catch Man Utd through sustainable, organic growth is absolute nonsense. The only way they could get to level playing field is through owner investment.”
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