- Jason Davis

UEFA chief Michel Platini's baby - a soft salary cap that would require clubs to keep player compensation in proportion with their revenues dubbed "financial fair-play" - is supposed to take effect by the start of the next European season. No one yet knows what the ramifications will be; bigger clubs might not take a hit at all (or could even benefit), while smaller clubs will constantly have to watch the books to ensure they're in compliance. From the fan's perspective, there's some worry the change will mean higher ticket prices. The more a club brings in, the more it can spend. Infusions of cash from a rich owner don't count towards turnover.

Locals aren't the only fans that might feel the effects of financial fair play. Americans are massive consumers of European soccer. As consumers, they have rights under the law. Since financial fair play is effectively restraint of trade, it stands to reason someone, somewhere, would conceive of a lawsuit.

VoilĂ . The Conglomerate blog asks the question, Can American Soccer Fans Bring Antitrust Claims Against European Football For Financial Fair Play?

As a non-lawyer type writer guy, I'm trusting that the author of the post knows what he's talking about. The idea, even if not appealing to me personally, is intriguing; as consumers of the European product and because Americans are involved on the ownership level, there might be grounds for an antitrust lawsuit filed in an American court.

It's a can of worms I'd rather not see opened. Financial fair play might not level the playing field of European football, but it should reign in some of the wild spending threatening to tilt some clubs right off the proverbial playing field. Platini's rules will slow the rise in temperature of a market already overheated, and what's good for Europe (i.e., less crazy player salaries) is good for the rest of the world. No one, not even the most ardent America-first soccer fan, wants to see European soccer implode.

As someone focused on a league that happens to have a salary cap (which I'll defend as necessary, but wouldn't want in a perfect world), I can't help but feel some satisfaction the Europe is clamping down on the out-of-control market so many Europhile American soccer fans laud as the best way to do things. MLS doesn't have it perfect, but Europe can't continue down the path they've been on without catastrophic results at some point. Financial fair play is a step in the right direction.

Essentially, the law guy's post boils down to the fact that Europe doesn't have a players union to collectively bargain - and therefore accede to - a salary cap. No union equals collusion.

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