Aston Villa and Man Utd owners slam Premier League's financial regulations

Sir Jim Ratcliffe
Sir Jim Ratcliffe / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Premier League club owners Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Nassef Sawiris have joined forces to express their concerns over the league's current financial regulations, warning that the existing rules could lead to the ruin of the Premier League.

Nassef Sawiris, co-owner of Aston Villa, has been vocal in his criticism of the Premier League's Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR), which restrict clubs to a maximum loss of £105m over a three-year period. Speaking to the Financial Times, Sawiris contended that these regulations have stifled upward mobility and fluidity within the league, creating an uneven playing field that makes it increasingly challenging for clubs like Aston Villa to rival the financial might of the league's elite. Sawiris stated,

"Some of the rules have actually resulted in cementing the status quo more than creating upward mobility and fluidity in the sport. The rules do not make sense and are not good for football."

He further emphasised that managing a sports team has become more akin to being a treasurer or bean counter rather than focusing on the team's needs, believing that the current regulations have turned football into a financial game rather than a sporting one, with clubs prioritising paper profits over real profits.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, co-owner of Manchester United, echoed Sawiris' sentiments, warning that excessive regulation could lead to the Premier League's downfall. In an interview with Bloomberg, Ratcliffe cautioned that if the league continues to interfere and bring in too much regulation, it will find itself embroiled in endless legal battles with clubs like Manchester City, Everton, and Nottingham Forest. Ratcliffe emphasised,

"If you're not careful, the Premier League is going to finish up spending more time in court than it is thinking about what's good for the league."

He also criticised the proposed anchoring system, which would restrict teams to spending a proportion of the estimated £103m the bottom club receives in TV and prize money on transfers, wages, and agents.

Ratcliffe believes that this would inhibit the top clubs in the Premier League and prevent them from competing with European giants like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and PSG, stating,

"That's absurd. If it does, it ceases to be the finest league in the world."

Addressing the mounting apprehension, the Premier League has revealed that clubs have consented to pilot a new league-wide financial framework in the upcoming season on a voluntary basis. While the current Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR) will persist, clubs will simultaneously assess the efficacy of the Squad Cost Rules (SCR) and Top to Bottom Anchoring Rules (TBA) to thoroughly evaluate the system and engage in comprehensive discussions with all relevant parties.

As the debate over financial regulations in the Premier League intensifies, it remains to be seen how the league will address the issues raised by prominent club owners like Ratcliffe and Sawiris. The outcome of this discussion could have far-reaching implications for the future of the Premier League and its ability to maintain its position as one of the most competitive and successful football leagues in the world.