Some clubs, including City, have argued that the FFP rules favour the rich, established clubs because they effectively prevent wealthy owners taking over a club and pumping in huge sums of money over a short period. That scenario happened with City and Paris St Germain and both were handed £49million fines and transfer restrictions last season, and the European Clubs’ Association has been putting pressure on UEFA for a change. UEFA president Michel Platini has revealed that some of the rules will be “eased” – and the lawyer leading one of the legal challenges against the FFP system has welcomed the move. Platini told French radio station RTL: “The world is two-faced but we will say this openly: I think we’ll ease things, but it will be the executive committee who will decide if it is to be eased and the outcome will be known by the end of June. “I think the regulations have been very good and it is the clubs who voted for FFP. “But the French press say it is not right that [Chelsea owner Roman] Abramovich can buy many players and in France they can not buy them. But if the Qataris had bought AC Milan the French would also say we should make financial fair play even tougher.” One source close to the negotiations told Press Association Sport: “Many clubs want change – the current system means those who have more will always have more, and those who have less will always have less.” Jean-Louis Dupont, the lawyer leading the legal action against UEFA, said in a statement: “We welcome the announcement of a change in the rules in line with the demands expressed by our clients in their various legal actions. Press Association “When the exact content and scope of these changes are known, we will consider with our clients how this development, which on first sight appears favourable, is likely to meet their legitimate expectations and influence the conduct of ongoing actions.” Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak last year claimed that history would prove that his model of heavy investment in the club at all levels is the right one. Khaldoon said in May: “We have zero debt. We don’t pay a penny to service any debt. For me, that is a sustainable model. However, our friends at UEFA seem to believe otherwise. “They have their view, we have ours. I disagree with their views, but we are pragmatic and one thing our fans need to know, we will do, as always, what is best for this club and the fans.” UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said talks on changes to the rules were still going on. He said in a statement: “Consultation remains ongoing and a number of amendments have been discussed. Any potential changes to the existing regulations will look to encourage more growth, more competition and market stimulation while strengthening the emphasis on controlling spending and safeguarding financial stability as our objective is and remains to ensure the sustainability of European club football. “Financial fair play has proved successful in achieving considerable improvement in the financial health of European football in a short period of time. Aggregate net losses of Europe’s clubs have fallen from 1.7billion euro in 2011 to 400million euro in 2014. “Regular review of the UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations is vital in ensuring that they keep pace with the ever-changing football environment and the new challenges that this often poses. “Discussions on amendments to the regulations are ongoing and have taken place since October 2013 within the UEFA club licensing committee and also with the clubs, who are our main stakeholders in this process.” Any changes will need to be ratified by UEFA’s executive committee at its next meeting on June 29/30 in Prague. The financial fair play rules that saw Manchester City handed a huge fine by UEFA last season are set to be relaxed. UEFA is expected to announce next month that the FFP rules will be eased to allow more owner investment – a move that will aim to nullify more than 10 legal challenges that the European governing body is now facing. It will also hand a huge boost to City in terms of challenging for honours next season if restrictions on spending on transfers are watered down. It will mean owners of clubs who do make a loss will be able to cover those losses with injection of equity – but not loans.
Sophomore forward Michael Mersch has complimented the 10 points Mark Zengerle has scored the past five games, scoring eight points of his own with four assists and four goals in that span.[/media-credit]Just three weeks ago, the sun was setting quite early on the 2011-12 Wisconsin men’s hockey season. The Badgers had just dropped their fifth straight game, falling nearly to the bottom of the WCHA cellar with just lowly Alaska Anchorage dangling below them.After being eliminated from top six contention in the WCHA standings for a first round home playoff series, Wisconsin begrudgingly extended its losing streak to five games, at the hands of Denver in the Kohl Center and hit rock bottom. But apparently new life can be found in the eleventh hour for a team that never quit despite a series of hard-fought battles that failed to yield the positive results the Badgers had been searching for.“A month ago we were still trying to get home ice,” sophomore forward Michael Mersch said. “I think it was St. Cloud that things kind of fell apart, but we picked ourselves up from them, we realized we were going to have to go on the road and those road wins against Bemidji [State] and Minnesota helped us become a more confident team.”Suddenly, UW reeled off four consecutive victories, a game two win against Denver and three straight road games with a sweep over Bemidji State and a game one victory at No. 5 Minnesota, before Minnesota rallied in the third period of game two to halt Wisconsin’s streak Saturday.“I would argue that we played some good hockey before we had that big game against Denver,” UW head coach Mike Eaves said. “Everything came together by us scoring five goals and timely goals, but we played well in Mankato [against St. Cloud State]; we could have won both games. We played competitive up at North Dakota and then Denver at home, and Friday we weren’t very good, but Saturday [we won 5-2]. We have been doing good things for a while, and it came together that Saturday against Denver and we’ve been able to carry that on.”With the drastic change in results, the level of confidence Wisconsin is portraying increased dramatically. Immediately after the fifth consecutive loss, the players appeared to be as low as they had all season. For a team that started the season 1-8-1 on the road, a road playoff series was the last thing the Badgers were looking forward to. Now, they can’t wait.“The confidence plays a big factor,” Mersch said. “When we played Denver at home we kind of got a feel for them and what they play like. The win we had against them Saturday night was a big confidence boost for us.”Sophomore center Mark Zengerle lead the Badgers in points this season and also has been the primary catalyst during Wisconsin’s last five games, tallying 10 points on two goals and eight assists over that stretch.But it hasn’t been all about one or two individuals. Seventeen different players have scored points over the recent impressive streak.“We’re a pretty close team, and I think everyone has just been playing their part and wanting to win,” Zengerle said. “You get down to the end of the season and start looking and there is no, ‘Oh well. We’ve got next weekend.’ You are playing for your season and playing for your life out there.”Mersch too has put together a remarkable string of games, scoring eight points, second-most to Zengerle over that time, and says that working on the power play with Zengerle has helped boost the level of his game.“I think our power play is finding its niche, and I have been playing with Zengerle a little bit, so that obviously helps because he is a point getter and he produces offense,” Mersch said. “Things are just coming together at the right time and not just for me individually. Tyler [Barnes] has a great weekend in Minnesota, Mark almost has 50 points this year, obviously Justin [Schultz] is contributing and has been all season, but things are just starting to come together, and we’re getting some goals and points from our back line guys.The Badgers have said all season long that they felt like the team was a lot better than their record indicated. As the WCHA playoffs begin Friday, perhaps Wisconsin’s opening round matchup, Denver, and others will start to recognize that and fear a potential series with the Badgers.“We have talked since day one about being a championship caliber team,” Eaves said. “Now, there are certain elements that those championship-caliber teams have and we have been pushing for that all year. We’re closer to that now. Are we there? Only if we go on an unbelievable run, but that is why you play the game. That is what makes basketball crazy in March, you get the Cinderella teams, and we certainly fall in that category right now.”