Once upon a time, there was a really prestigious football tournament called the European Cup, which was based on sporting excellence. It brought together outstanding teams from across the continent. To qualify teams first had to prove themselves by winning their own league, this truly was a competition for champions.
With the glory though also came the opportunity for great wealth & eventually the principal of sporting excellence was overtaken by greed. The self-appointed elite of the time "the European Royalty" decided they wanted a greater share of the spoils & they wanted it guaranteed regardless of their performance!
The grubby little cartel (later known as the G14) threatened to break away & form their own Super League, unless everyone else agreed to their demands! Feeling they had little choice, UEFA caved in & the"Champions" League was born.
At the heart of this self-serving little cartel were 3 English clubs (Man United, Liverpool & Arsenal) & coincidentally the format of the new competition granted 3 places to English teams. It also changed from a straight knockout format to an initial group stage. So now not only could they still qualify by only finishing 2nd or 3rd in the Premier League, they were also guaranteed at least 6 lucrative fixtures each season.
BOOM! The money started rolling in & the big 3 got fatter, as they disappeared over the horizon, leaving the rest of the league with little chance of ever challenging their increasing financial dominance!
Then out of the blue, a wealthy Russian Oligarch, Roman Abramovich, rolled into town to bankroll Chelsea & gatecrash the party! With the gravy train now under threat, the greedy little threesome convinced UEFA to increase the English allocation to 4 places! Phew disaster averted, onwards & upwards, no harm done...
That was until the "evil" Sheikh Mansour bought Manchester City with his unlimited "dirty oil money!"!
Now with UEFA unable or unwilling to accommodate this latest unwelcome guest at the top table, a new strategy was required to preserve the dominance of the established elite. Without further a do, the "Financial Fair Play" was conceived!
This had little to do with "fair play", turning a blind eye to debt ridden clubs & owners that systematically drained money out of the game! It was solely designed to stop wealthy owners investing in clubs & making them competitive; thus ensuring the lazy established elite remained unchallenged.
Undeterred by the bogus nature of these new constraints targeted at them & any future investors, Manchester City embarked on transforming the club, with initial investment to break the cartel & putting top quality people in place, off the field as well as on it.
In addition to breaking all records on the pitch, the club has now achieved commercial sustainability & delivered 4 years of profit. The club is now independently valued at over £2B (reportedly outstripping all the Premier League old-guard). This has shown a huge return on Sheikh Mansour's £1.2B investment & dispelling the lie of "financial doping".
So what do the owners of the established "European Royalty" do now? Up their game? Risk their own money to meet the challenge? No! They utilise their stooges in the media to try & discredit City's achievements & demand UEFA do "something" to derail Citys' progress!
Manchester City FC -
Champions of England (again)
FA Cup holders
League Cup holders
The best ran football club in the world!
Thank you Sheikh Mansour, thank you Kaldoon & Thank you Pep Guardiola