Gary Neville believes Manchester City will beat their Financial Fair Play punishment and says he has ‘no confidence’ in UEFA upholding their two season ban on the club from European competition.
The Premier League champions have been slapped with a two-year ban from European competition after being found guilty by UEFA of breaching FFP regulations, the governing body also hitting the club with a fine of €30m.
Despite his allegiances to Manchester United, Neville – a part owner in League Two side Salford City – was sympathetic towards the club following the verdict, believing Financial Fair Play ‘stifles’ the ability for clubs to close the gap on the established elite.
“I have always thought that FFP is the wrong way to apply the rules,” Neville said on Sky Sports Monday Night Football.
“Ultimately, if owners sign clubs up to contracts, they should have the money to fulfil the contracts. I think Manchester City’s owners have got that.
“If you look what Chelsea, Manchester City, Leicester and Blackburn going back to the days of Jack Walker, those clubs below Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal, who have all the revenue and the tradition to be able to compete under FFP.
“What we are saying is that FFP stifles investment into football clubs that can stimulate communities, like Blackburn and like other clubs.
“To suggest that Manchester City could ever catch Manchester United through sustainable organic growth is nonsense. Manchester United are so far in front with revenue, with scale, with fanbase, with everything compared to City. The only way City could ever get to a level playing field with Manchester United was through owner investment.
"I think City will beat UEFA. I have no faith in them at all" @GNev2 on Manchester City's European ban
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 17, 2020
“Do I like it from a point of view that I want Manchester City to succeed? No because I would rather Manchester United be successful but the idea of being anti-competitive in football is ridiculous.
“The idea that the same two or three clubs are able to win every single year through financial might is anti-competitive.
“I am obviously an owner at Salford. We would never be able to do what we are doing if we weren’t able to invest in our club.
“We are saying that essentially we should be creating a status quo in football, almost like a franchise.
“I think the top clubs in Europe like Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid, they would take football towards a franchise model if we didn’t have the emergence of owners who could invest in other clubs.
“There are negatives with that and we have seen horror stories where owners have invested in clubs but then not followed through with their investment. That has got to be stopped but there are other ways of stopping that without applying FFP.
“So, I have a real problem with FFP and I have done for seven or eight years.”
Man City immediately announced their intention to appeal the verdict to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Neville believes Pep Guardiola’s side will beat the decision, labelling UEFA as a ‘hopeless organisation’.
“I think City will beat FFP,” Neville continued. “I have no confidence in UEFA to be able to do the right thing. I think it will be overturned.
“I have no faith in them whatsoever, I think they are hopeless organisation who just apply erratic disciplinary sanctions.
“I think City will beat them in the courts. It will get stuck in the courts for some time, but I think City will win in the end.”