Arsene Wenger says rules on financial fair play could be rethought but insists the credibility of sport depends on regulation being respected.
Manchester City were banned from all UEFA competitions for two seasons by European football’s governing body on Friday for Financial Fair Play rule breaches, a ruling the club are appealing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Former Arsenal manager Wenger accused City of “financial doping” – a phrase he first coined in respect of Chelsea – in 2009 and says City should not escape sanction if their financial irregularity is upheld.
Speaking ahead of the Laureus World Sports Awards, Wenger said:
“I was always for control of the financial rules and that the clubs work with the natural income that they have.
“The rules have been created. I am convinced that at the moment there is an evolution to be made in the way the rules are built up at the moment, but they are what they are and you have to respect them.
“People that don’t respect them and are caught by trying to get around the rules in more or less legal ways have to be punished. If it is proven that this has been done on purpose you cannot let that [go] unpunished.”
“I don’t know the rule exactly well enough to see what kind of punishment has to be made when the rules are not respected,” said Wenger when asked for his verdict on the length of the punishment.
“They have not created that. It must be in the rule book. Somebody has not said ‘let’s do that’. No, this is certainly the sanction that is planned if the clubs don’t respect the rules.”
City said they were “disappointed but not surprised” by the verdict from UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body, describing the process as “prejudicial”, and indicated their intention to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.