Arsenal's Arsene Wenger changes mind on FFP, wants rules scrapped

LONDON -- Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has made a complete U-turn on UEFA's financial fair play rules, saying they should be scrapped completely to allow investors to pour unlimited amounts of money into the game.

Wenger was one of the staunchest backers of FFP regulations when they were introduced by UEFA but has changed his mind after seeing transfer fees spiral out of control this summer despite the efforts to curb club spending.

Arsenal have always maintained a policy of living within their own means but have seen their financial power fall behind those clubs where wealthy owners pump their own cash into transfer funds.

And Wenger now thinks that if FFP cannot be effectively enforced, UEFA should just "open the door completely" to outside investments.

"That is a question we have to raise, because at the moment it looks like we have created rules that cannot be respected," he said. "There's nothing worse than creating rules that are not respected.

"Maybe we are at a crossroads and have to think, do we open it completely with freedom of investment for people like the Chinese or Americans who want to invest here? Why not? If you want to remain the best league in the world, that is certainly the way we have to go."

UEFA announced last week it had opened an FFP investigation into Paris Saint-Germain "in light of its recent transfer activity," after the Qatar-backed French club bought Neymar from Barcelona for a world-record €222 million and then added Monaco's Kylian Mbappe in a deal set to be worth €180m next summer.

However, UEFA threw out a complaint against Manchester City, who spent more than £200m on new players this summer, and Wenger said there are too many ways for clubs to skirt around the rules.

"Financial fair play raises new questions. I was always deeply for it. Today I am not very convinced that we can maintain it," he said. "There are too many legal ways to get around financial fair play.

"At least the question has to be raised. At the moment it looks like you can buy clubs in China and get the players there, or buy them in other clubs and get them after here [to Europe], where you can get around [the rules]."

Arsenal broke their club transfer record this summer by signing striker Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon in a deal worth up to £52m, but failed in a deadline-day attempt to buy Thomas Lemar from Monaco for £92m.

The club's majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, has angered fans by not putting his own money into the club and keeping minority owner Alisher Usmanov at arms' length despite the Russian billionaire's apparent willingness to assist Arsenal financially.