The current Luis Suarez situation has bizarrely led me to pull apart FIFA’s Fair Play attempts, blowing them apart in fact.
Rather than helping the smaller teams, FIFA’s idea of fair play actually does them more harm.
The idea that clubs can only spend money in relation to their profits is of no benefit to teams near the bottom of the league because their profits will inevitably be less than those teams at the top of the league..
Instead, FIFA’s Fair Play rules lead to the bigger clubs pulling even further away.
That’s unless a club goes from rags to riches.
When Sheikh Mansour bought Man City, a tremendous thing happened.
Overnight they were able to compete in the transfer market with the biggest European clubs.
They could suddenly offer gigantic transfer fees to gazump any other bids.
And they were able to attract big name players without the appeal of Champions League football.
By offering mega salaries.
Players like Robinho and Adebayor were on £160,000 a week.
And this was a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think either of those players deserved those salaries.
I believe money has ruined the game.
But there’s no going back to the good old days.
And that’s why the mass spending at Man City was good.
Because it allowed a club that was in the wilderness, with no hope of catching the top teams and challenging for trophies, to start actually winning them.
Since Sheikh Mansour’s arrival the club have won one FA Cup and the Premier League – their first for over 40 years.
Just fantasise for a moment.
I’m picking four names at random but if John W Henry and Tom Werner suddenly bought Lewandowski, Messi, Alonso and Kompany and Liverpool went on to win the Premier League next season, would the fans complain?
Of course not.
Unfortunately, the only way to attract the top players is by offering them Champions League football.
And one of the reasons for this is the players get more money through salaries and sponsorship when they are playing in that competition.
So the only way to counter balance this when a club isn’t in the Champions League is to compensate the players with bigger salaries.
Otherwise, if you’re a club that isn’t competing, you’ll never catch up.
A club like Stoke are never going to win the league unless they receive mega investment.
Swansea are doing well at the moment but if they don’t keep progressing their star players will eventually leave.
This has happened to Liverpool in recent years, most notably with Torres and now Suarez – there is only so long you can hold on to world class players if the club isn’t playing at the highest level.
If Liverpool were to eventually lose Suarez and not replace him, that would set the club back years.
Let’s say some billionaire took over Norwich…
Would they buy one good player a year, which could take ten or twenty years to achieve success?
Or would they go down the same route as City and Chelsea?
I know which way I think they would go.
And I know which way the Norwich fans would want their club to go.
Because as things stand, the only way smaller clubs can catch bigger clubs is via a rich owner and instant gratification.
It doesn’t exist.