Why Frank Lampard’s Move to Manchester City Does Not Break Financial Fair Play

Frank Lampard, the highly decorated and lauded former Chelsea and England midfielder, was recently announced as the second major signing for forthcoming MLS expansion club, New York City FC. The money was obviously an attractive offer, just as it was with NYCFC’s first signing, Spanish striker David Villa, but the trouble is that the club won’t officially be part of Major League Soccer until next season. But the owners of NYCFC also happen to conveniently own Manchester City–so naturally they’ve decided to loan him to the Premier League club until January 2015. While it’s difficult to speculate if this was City football group’s intention all along, it has raised suspicions from fans, pundits, and even Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Wenger’s initial comments about Lampard’s loan move come on the tails of City’s UEFA-imposed sanctions over a breach of Financial Fair Play rules. The Frenchman appeared to only be speculating, but his comments (as usual) are much more calculated than he would have them appear. “They will register for the clubs where they will put them and they can go out on loan. Is it a way to get around the fair play? I don’t know.” In a possible attempt at unsettling Manchester City before the upcoming Community Shield match between the clubs, Wenger again took a calculated swipe at Lampard and City, suggesting that the distance between Chelsea and City was much shorter if you didn’t go to New York first. Again, it’s hard to speculate on City’s intentions in signing Lampard, and NYCFC officials have vehemently opposed the notion that they are simply a feeder club for Manchester City. It should also be noted that City’s FFP sanction includes a requirement of five homegrown players in its Champions League squad.

But does the Lampard situation actually violate the rules imposed by UEFA or the English FA? Manchester City and its parent group do not believe so. Wenger’s issue seems to be with the relatively new Financial Fair Play rule regarding a club’s wage increase per year. As of the upcoming season, Premier League clubs with wage budgets exceeding £56m for the season are only allowed to increase their wage budget by £8m. Wenger’s speculation seems to center on an assumption that Manchester City is allowing NYCFC to pay Lampard’s wages during his loan spell. Manchester City officials insist that the club is paying the player’s salary, and staying well within their allotted wage limit.

What this means is that Wenger’s suspicion is warranted, but ultimately false. Even though Manchester City and New York City FC are technically run independent of each other, the river of cash flowing into each has the same source. So yes, even if Manchester City does pay Lampard’s wages during his six-month loan, there are a number of loopholes that can be exploited without ever actually breaking any rules. So while Wenger is ultimately wrong in his accusations towards Manchester City, his comments succeeded in shifting attention away from the upcoming Community Shield match and provide a potential scapegoat should his side lose.

9 thoughts on “Why Frank Lampard’s Move to Manchester City Does Not Break Financial Fair Play”

  1. Scapegoat? The moon could explode the same day on an Arsenal draw and the pundits would still sh#t on Wenger. True, Wenger shouldn’t comment on other clubs, but then that would make for a boring week.

  2. Nice of old Arsey to keep worrying about ‘lickle old City.’ Unfortunately his memory isn’t what it used to be, remember when they ‘borrowed’ Henry from MLS, who paid his wages? Clue…it wasn’t Arsenal!!!!
    Never mind professor you’ll probably get your fourth place medal this season. What, you don’t get one for fourth place!?

      1. City are paying Frankie boys wages while he’s with them, so what’s whinger’s problem?
        They’ve been soaking the arse fans for years with overpriced tickets, and at the same time standing still. Fourth place! This seems to be an achievement to le professeur.

        1. City win 2 Premier league titles and suddenly you’re the gold standard?
          Not to long ago City weren’t playing in Europe.
          No one is licking Arsene’s ass. He points out a valid argument.
          What’s to stop City’s affiliates to buy young talented players and then sell them City for a lesser fee to circumvent FFP. i.e. NYCFC buys a young talented Brazilian and he tears up MLS and then his market value rises. They could sell said player to City for a lesser fee so FFP could then be circumvented.
          I’d like to see any of the other managers in the premier league build a new Stadium and keep the club debt free. Would Mancini or Pellegrini have won the titles that they did if they were financially hamstrung building a new Stadium? That means no Aguero, Silva etc.
          Only now are Arsenal finally starting to break even from the stadium building hence the Ozil signing for a record fee. Do you now realize how hard it is for Arsenal to win the title the past few years?
          Almost all their rivals have a great financial strength while they were hamstrung building a stadium and paying it off.
          If Wenger had a limitless financial backing I guarantee he wins a few premier league titles.

          1. Do you know how difficult it was for second division clubs like Man City to win anything before the Sheik bought them out? With rich clubs like Man United having unfair financial advantages over them, now they’re on even grounds, and the reds feel threatened?

        2. So you don’t see any potential conflict of interest of a team that doesn’t play yet, signing a player… and then that player going to play for the other team owned by the team he just signed with?

  3. Wenger is on the right track: the sanctions imposed by UEFA in May 2014 include “Manchester City undertakes to report a maximum break-even
    deficit of EUR 20 Mio. for the financial year ending in 2014 and a maximum break-even deficit of EUR 10 Mio. for the financial year ending in 2015.” and “Manchester City agrees to significantly limit spending in the transfer market for seasons 2014/2015 and 2015/2016.” MCFC MAY have NOW stated they will be paying Lampard’s wages – 26 weeks x ? = . BUT, MCFC did NOT face a transfer fee for Lampard (second part of quote) – and as such, the “no fee” DID NOT count towards the monetary totals imposed (first part of quote). As Lampard is also English, he conveniently counts towards the “five” “must-have” English players in the reduced 21-man squad. If you don’t think it’s FFP tactics/circumventing, think again!

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