5 Things to Know About Financial Fair Play

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 16, 2014 at 4:33 pm •  Published: May 16, 2014
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GENEVA (AP) — Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain received the heaviest sanctions Friday when UEFA announced the first set of punishments in its "Financial Fair Play" project to control spending by European football clubs.

City and PSG were fined 60 million euros ($82 million) each and ordered to limit their Champions League squads to 21 players next season instead of the normal 25.

Seven other clubs were penalized among the 237 clubs whose finances were assessed after qualifying for this season's Champions League or Europa League.

Here are five things to know about Financial Fair Play:

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WHAT IS FFP?

Since July 2011, UEFA has monitored the annual accounts of all clubs entering its two club competitions.

UEFA requires clubs to approach break-even on football-related business — television rights fees, buying and selling players, salaries, sponsor deals, tickets sales, prize money.

The complex accounting rules encourage clubs to spend on long-term projects — stadiums, youth training — which do not count as losses for FFP purposes.

UEFA lets club owners cover losses up to 45 million euros ($62 million) in the 2011-13 assessment period just completed.

Clubs judged to have broken the spirit or letter of FFP rules faced sanctions from a warning to being barred from UEFA competitions in the 2014-15 season onward.

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WHY IT WAS INTRODUCED:

After being elected UEFA president in 2007, Michel Platini said he feared clubs which ran up huge debts chasing success were effectively cheating and risked ruin if banks or owners withdrew support. Leeds was often cited, a 2001 Champions League semifinalist then penniless and relegated from the Premier League within three years.

Debate intensified after the Manchester United-Chelsea final in 2008 featured two English clubs carrying combined debts of $1.6 billion-plus.

Amid a global economic downturn, the 2009 offseason saw steep inflation in transfer fees and salaries, driven upward by a few elite clubs.

Platini described Real Madrid's offseason splurge on Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and others as "excessive," while Manchester City's spree was "financial doping," according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Weeks later, UEFA had consent to act and Platini pledged it would be tough. Champions League expulsions were threatened, even if they would be unpopular with clubs, fans and broadcasters.

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TACTICAL SWITCH:

Early on, Platini said "85-90 percent" of club owners supported FFP as a way to stop player salaries spiraling up. Allies included Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich and AC Milan's Silvio Berlusconi, then prime minister of Italy.

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