Rangers get FFP ‘watch it’ warning after UEFA show their teeth amid transfer questions
Former league chief executive Roger Mitchell believes the Ibrox side must be careful after they were included on the European governing body’s watchlist.
Rangers are finally making some serious money after completing their journey from the fourth tier back up to the Champions League.
The Ibrox club coined it in by reaching the Europa League Final in May and then by qualifying for the lucrative group stage of the continent’s premier club tournament. On top of that they have banked £28.73million from the transfers of Calvin Bassey, Joe Aribo and Cedric Itten in the summer.
However, they reinvested just over £11m on signing Ben Davies, Antonio Colak, Rabbi Matondo and Ridvan Yilmaz in the last window, plus a loan fee to Bayern Munich to bring Malik Tillman on board. But no new faces came in over the last 38 days of the transfer window and in the wake of back-to-back 4-0 defeats by Celtic and Ajax, fans are wondering where the money has gone.
Rangers were one of 18 clubs along with the likes of Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City, Leicester City, Napoli and West Ham, who were put on a Financial Fair Play watch list by the ruling body as they bid to ensure teams live within their means or face sanctions.
Eight more clubs have been fined a total of £170m, with Paris St Germain forced to cough up £62m for failing to break even. That is all music to the ears of former SPL chief executive Roger Mitchell. He feared FFP would never be scrutinised or properly work when it was introduced in 2011.
But he has changed his mind now the SFA are no longer involved in studying their members’ accounts. He said: “It’s good to see UEFA becoming directly involved in this matter. Financial Fair Play had become a bit of a shambles and the clubs with the best lawyers could just ignore it, as we saw in the past with Manchester City and Paris St-Germain.
“If Rangers believe that these rules have teeth then they’re going to need to be careful when it comes to recruitment,especially since their finances have always been hand-to-mouth in recent years.
“They’ve done incredibly well to get where they are but they’ll just have to watch it. Previously, it was down to the SFA to check their clubs’ finances but Celtic and Rangers are their biggest assets so the SFA were never going to refuse them European licenses.
“That’s why it wasn’t working – it was flawed governance. It was the same all across Europe and I’m not surprised the SFA washed their hands of it. There was a conflict of interest and UEFA probably realised that.”
Questions over Rangers’ summer spending increased as arch rivals Celtic splashed more than £20m and were active right up until deadline day. But Mitchell believes the Ibrox side can still overtake their wealthier rivals domestically, having done it just two years ago.
He said: “When Rangers stopped the 10, Celtic spent a lot more than they did on players that year but Rangers strolled to the title. Of course, Rangers have been slightly hampered by UEFA’s intervention but smart recruitment and good coaching can make up the difference.”
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