FSG have completely transformed Liverpool Football Club. The Boston Based firm has worked a miracle in the last decade, helping Liverpool get back on their perch after decades in the wilderness. However, the impacts of the global health crisis coupled with Manchester City’s controversial acquittal by CAS could mean that FSG are facing a decisive year of their ownership – will they stick around?
A model of fairness
FSG bought Liverpool because they spied an opportunity when UEFA introduced their FFP laws in 2010.
The management firm believed that they could turn the club around and see their hard work pay dividends if other clubs were prevented from just buying trophies – they could slowly wake and profit from a sleeping giant without having to worry about their investment being compromised by bored billionaire owners.
The FSG project came good, the club are now the envy of the footballing world – dominating on the pitch and in good shape off the pitch. Recruitment has been shrewd and commercial revenues have been growing year on year. FSG have achieved what they set out to.
A CAS in the face
Given that the introduction of FFP was one of the factors that motivated FSG to buy Liverpool in the first place, Manchester City getting away with their controversial financial dealings has been a shock to John Henry and co.
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According to James Pearce FSG were ‘stunned’ when CAS acquitted City and lifted their two year ban. You can only imagine the board’s frustration given that this landmark moment could trigger further reckless flouting of FFP protocols and in turn further buying of trophies.
FSG are now faced with a new reality. When the Americans bought the club they were under the impression that savvy business and discipline would see them come out on top, would see their investment come good.
So, why bother?
Now the owners are having to come to terms with the fact that a club built on self sustainability may not have a place in the modern footballing landscape, now that FFP has been undermined by the CAS ruling there could be little stopping the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea from undoing all of FSGs could work with just a few swift blows from their cheque book.
Given that Liverpool have been operating within their means since the 2010 takeover, the impact of the global health crisis is set to curtail this summer’s transfer plans. In the meantime Chelsea have already begun their spending spree, bringing in Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, and the Manchester clubs are plotting to spend their way back to the top – all whilst the Reds are forced to stand still by financial realities.
So, why bother? If FFP cannot stop teams outspending conscientious, rule abiding clubs, then why should FSG stick around? This season could be a decisive one in their ownership. The Boston firm will for the first time have to reckon with what happens when you keep your money in your wallet whilst the rest of the league makes it rain – we can’t blame them if they can’t stomach the results.