Barcelona are concerned that the Premier League’s spending power is leaving the rest of Europe behind and have suggested UEFA’s financial fair play (FFP) regulations should be adapted to account for the influx of money into English football.
The transfer window closed on Wednesday with Premier League clubs having invested a reported £1.165 billion (€1.38bn) on new signings. In comparison, Serie A clubs spent around €708 million, Bundesliga clubs spent €548m, and the total expenditure for La Liga sides was €488m.
UEFA’s FFP regulations were agreed in principle in September 2009 and clubs as big as Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have since been punished for breaching the spending rules.
However, a lot has changed in the last seven years, most notably the amount of money going into the Premier League courtesy of a new television deal, and Barca feel that should warrant a revision of the boundaries.
“UEFA and FIFA have to implement a way of regulating [spending],” the Catalan club’s director of professional sports, Albert Soler, said at a news conference on Thursday.
“When FFP was created, the Premier League didn’t have as much money as it does now, so it needs to be adapted. It’s not normal that there are such big differences.
“If it continues like this, with one club able to spend €120m on one player, it’s going to cost more and more all the time to get the best players. Our most expensive recent signing was Luis Suarez and even then the club had to make economic adjustments.”
Soler was referring to Paul Pogba, who joined Manchester United from Juventus earlier this summer for a world-record fee. He admitted Barca held talks with the Italian club last year regarding the France midfielder but the soaring cost of players forced the Blaugrana to shift their focus.
“Since the Premier League became so strong in the market, Spanish clubs are no longer the clubs that invest the most,” Soler continued.
“If we’d spent €100m on a player, we could only have signed one. And with €122m we’ve signed six. We have changed the philosophy a little: we’ve gone for younger players.
“Last year we agreed with Juve that if they wanted to sell Pogba during that window we would have priority. But Juve did not want to sell and we did not need to try and push it. We were in an electoral campaign and a signing of that calibre could not be made by a provisional board.”
Barca, though, already have some of the world’s best players at Camp Nou. With the transfer window now shut, Soler said they would turn their attention to renewing Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi’s contracts.
He said: “The other day the president [Josep Maria Bartomeu] said that the next job is to renew Rakitic, Suarez and Messi. The club doesn’t stop. First we will deal with Suarez and Rakitic’s [new contracts] and after that Messi. This is the order, as the president said.
“The objective is for Leo to end his sporting career here, at Barca, Like Xavi, [Carles] Puyol and other players. This is his home.”
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