UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules were the hot topic in a Thursday morning football panel, “The Globalization of the Beautiful Game: Building Brands Beyond Borders” at the ’13 IMG World Congress of Sports in Florida. The panelists debated the topic, but were primarily in support of the initiatives.
NOT LOOKING TO LOSE: AS Roma CEO Italo Zanzi said, “We view this as a business, not as a loss leader. All of the things that the rules embrace, we embrace. As new owners of an international franchise, frankly, the new rules are welcomed. We want to win championships and make money.” Liverpool FC Managing Dir Ian Ayre agreed, but expressed some concerns. “Financial Fair Play is less about losses and more about spending within your means,” Ayre said. “In Liverpool, we generate a lot of revenue and, of course, that should be put back into your teams. The nucleus of financial fair play is riddled with difficulties. UEFA has a lot of work to do.” Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber said Financial Fair Play throughout the world is important as MLS strives to reach its goal of being one of the world’s top football leagues by ‘22. “For us to achieve our goal, we need normalcy around the world,” Garber said. “What’s going on now is abnormal.” Two-time Women’s World Cup winner and current ESPN analyst Julie Foudy wondered, “But how do you get talent? You have to pay the money. But more than half the teams in Europe are losing money. It’s imperative that something is done about it.” Seamus O'Brien, Chair of the re-born N.Y. Cosmos, who will begin play in the NASL in August, was optimistic about the game’s financial growth in the U.S. O'Brien: “The good thing is, talent is transportable. The U.S. has the greatest economy in the world. The audience will pay to watch talent, and the talent will go to where the dollars are. We’ve got to raise our game on and off the pitch to be able to compete.”