European clubs warned about new financial rules

Associated Press Modified: September 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm •  Published: September 11, 2012
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GENEVA (AP) — European football clubs were warned about their financial management skills on Tuesday, though this season's biggest spender Paris Saint-Germain wasn't there to hear it.

Members of the European Club Association were told by UEFA's chief investigator that many "still need to do their homework" to meet the demands of Financial Fair Play rules, and protect their places in future Champions League and Europa League competitions.

Jean-Luc Dehaene backed his words with action by identifying 23 clubs who face losing their prize money this season for failing to meet financial obligations.

Europa League winner Atletico Madrid and Champions League contender Malaga are among those given until Sept. 30 to satisfy UEFA they have a plan to pay a combined €30 million ($38.4 million) in unpaid players' wages, transfer fees and social taxes.

Dahaene won support from ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, whose members voted unanimously in 2010 to back the UEFA project to curb their spending and loss-making.

"I believe he is right to ask, and to call the clubs to be finally serious," Rummenigge told The Associated Press in an interview, adding that Dehaene's words were "proof that not everybody is respecting the rules."

"We have some black sheep and these black sheep have to wash white," said the Bayern Munich chief executive, whose club is consistently profitable. "These clubs who have been in the auditorium can't misinterpret the wording of Mr. Daheane."

Absent from the meeting was any representative from PSG, which went counter to the increasing UEFA scrutiny and ongoing European economic crisis by spending €250 million ($321 million) on players in the past two offseasons.

In a significant shift of power, Qatar-backed PSG strengthened for its return to the Champions League next week by buying striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and defender Thiago Silva from seven-time European champion AC Milan.

"I believe AC Milan merit only respect in the football world," Rummenigge said at an earlier news conference on Tuesday. "It is much more difficult to go the way of AC Milan than to go the way of maybe a French club, for example."

Rummenigge later declined to name clubs whose spending he disapproved of.

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