Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder's thoughts on spending and his sympathy for Man City
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But speaking ahead of Sheffield United’s trip to Leicester City tomorrow, one of numerous English sides to benefit from the largesse of well-minted owners, the visitors’ manager admitted he has no desire to see the national sport adopt a more egalitarian system - providing those splashing the cash can prove they have it to splash in the first place.
Asked for his thoughts on Manchester City’s successful appeal against a two year ban from European football, after initially being found guilty by UEFA of breaching FFP, Wilder said: “We won’t be threatening the financial fair play rules, I can assure you of that.
“Seriously, though, it’s not like the NFL where there’s a draft system. If they (owners) have the money and it’s shown they have the money, then I don’t see why people should be punished for investing in their football clubs and their communities. But only if they’ve got it.
“For me, there has to be real investigation and real scrutiny to make sure the people doing it are in it for the long term.”
With the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s verdict on Monday making it more difficult for United to qualify for the Champions League - although CAS found City did not disguise equity funding, they did fine them for failing to comply with a UEFA investigation - many observers felt Wilder would accept an invitation join those criticising the outcome of the process and its consequences for competition within the game. However, after calling for teams lower down the pyramid to receive greater financial protection at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 52-year-old is concerned with ensuring a more equitable distribution of central funding than curbing the expenditure of individual teams.
With United only five points outside of the top four with three matches remaining, Wilder is also keen to avoid being drawn into a war of words about FFP as his newly attempted squad attempts to bring major European football to Bramall Lane for the very first time next season.
Like Pep Guardiola’s employers, whose fortunes have been transformed since they were purchased by the Abu Dhabi United Group, Leicester have enjoyed a remarkable rise under the ownership of the King Power International Group from Thailand - being crowned champions of England four years ago and appointing Brendan Rodgers, previously of Celtic and Liverpool, towards the end of last term.
“There has been a lot of money invested in that club,” Wilder said. “To attract Brendan Rodgers was a great coup. They look set to be a really successful football club in the top four five and six of this division. There’s a lot of things going for them and there’s a lot going on.”