Following the news of Frank Lampard’s six-month loan move from New York City FC, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger raised questions about Manchester City’s ability to circumvent UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules by owning clubs outside of England.
City were sanctioned by the governing body for breaching FFP rules, with a £49 million restriction put on the club’s net spending during the summer transfer window. Also, now the Premier League champions can only name a 21-man Champions League squad, which must include five home-grown players.
The former Chelsea midfielder joined the club on loan from the MLS side (which is partially-owned by Manchester City) and will be registered in both their Premier League and Champions League squads.
Wenger gave his his thoughts on these developments a few days ago: “It is a surprise after the statements we heard. It looks like all these City clubs will feed the main club. They bought the New York franchise for $100 million [£59.4 million] in the States to play next season and, at the moment, the players they sign cannot play until next year.”
The Arsenal boss then alluded to the fact that aside from the New York City franchise, Manchester City also owns a Melbourne City club in Australia and have invested in a minority share of Yokohama F Marinos in Japan.
He added: “I heard they want to buy five clubs all around the world. The players will register in the clubs where they will put them and they can get out on loan. Is it a way to get around the fair play? I don’t know.”
Today, while at his pre-match press conference preceding Manchester City’s Community Shield encounter versus Arsenal, Manuel Pellegrini was asked his response to Wenger’s questioning of his club’s dealings.
“I think as managers we have enough problems with our own teams to be talking about other teams,” the Chilean boss said.
“The only thing I can say is that we have important restrictions about the amount of money we can spend, and Frank Lampard was a free player – we didn’t spend any money in bringing him from New York City to Manchester City.”
“The problem was not that Frank Lampard did not want to sign another contract with Chelsea – Chelsea didn’t want him any more. He is a competitive player, he will be important for our team and we didn’t spend any money on him, so the rules of financial fair play don’t have any relation with Lampard.”