FFP and the importance of academy products

The transfer window is upon us and one of the most discussed topics is the Financial Fair Play, a set of rules that govern how clubs spend. While this ensures clubs in Europe stay within their financial means, it also promotes sustainability and high standards of competitiveness. FFP, as it is informally referred to, is designed to discourage clubs from going into unsustainable debts by forcing clubs to spend only what they can earn. These rules are also a big win for academy players across clubs participating in national and continental leagues in Europe. The win is also for clubs, which can leverage the impact of academy players who break out well, in their financial planning. A top example here is the big money sale of Cole Palmer to Chelsea by Manchester City. Palmer cost Chelsea £42.5m, a massive win for City. Another player whose transfer sheds good light on the importance of FFP is Anthony Elanga, leaving Manchester United for Nottingham Forest in a £15m move. For a long time, top clubs, like Manchester United have stayed in good financial standing because of their vibrant investment in academy products.

Stepped up

Scott McTominay is a good example here, and in recent times, Kobbie Mainoo has also come up well. When top stars like Casemiro are injured or Bruno Fernandes suspended, academy players have stepped up well, saving United the need to invest in established, expensive players that would end up messing budgets. Notably, with such kind of players, Manchester United has rated well in the betting tips on Cheekypunter and they promise to continuously provide readily available, inexpensive options for the club. Such cost-effective squad-building measures seem to be the new way into the future as the transfer market keeps getting way beyond the reach of most clubs across Europe. It is now normal for a club to quote a transfer fee of £100m or more, which points to a dangerous trend that FFP had to come in and address. With a vibrant academy system, clubs are able to allocate large sums to their youth systems, expenditures that would otherwise go into buying already established players.

Level of stability

There’s also a level of stability that comes with investing in a club’s own youth structures. For a very long time Manchester United managed to dominate Europe courtesy of homegrown players, popularly known as the class of ’92. With the needs of current football, it may be tough to succeed with the same model but there is a lot to gain in creating such a pipeline of constant supply of players to the senior team. Clubs like Southampton and West Ham United also stayed sustainable for a long time because of such models and it is a model that can be taken up by any well-meaning administration. FFP also dictates the wage structures. The use of academy players comes with rules on how much the players can earn in a sustainable model, as compared to the high wages established players may command. Reasonable wages the world over, have proven to be key in the success of stable clubs and those that have applied it well have seen the value of clubs go up while connecting with fans at the same time.

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