UEFA meet to ease financial restraints

Agence France-Presse
UEFA meet to ease financial restraints
The UEFA executive committee will meet to discuss efforts to make investment easier without returning to the days of uncontrolled spending and bankruptcy

PRAGUE, Czech Republic – European football’s governing body, UEFA, started a meeting on Monday aiming to ease their Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules which have faced mounting legal challenges and complaints.

Changes promised by UEFA president Michel Platini could particularly help Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, two of Europe’s biggest-spending clubs and the first major targets of Financial Fair Play.

While Platini has been promising changes for several months, a ruling by a Belgian court last week halting the introduction of a new phase of regulations has increased pressure on UEFA.

The governing body, which launched the rules in 2011, say they have already had a dramatic effect.

With clubs basically facing sanctions if they spend more than they earn, UEFA says that European clubs’ overall debt has been cut from 1.7 billion euros ($1.89 billion, £1.2 billion) in 2011 to about 400 million euros in 2014.

Fourteen clubs, including City and Paris but also Inter Milan, Monaco and Sporting Lisbon, are now under financial restrictions of varying severity. Tens of millions of euros of fines have been imposed.

Dynamo Moscow have been banned from European competition next season after failing financial strength tests. 

But following action by Paris and City fans, amongst others, a Brussels court last week ordered UEFA not to introduce plans to cut permitted deficits from 45 million euros to 30 million euros this season.

UEFA called the ruling “strange” and said the Belgian court was not competent to make such a ruling. It said it would appeal.

The UEFA executive committee will meet on Monday and Tuesday to discuss Platini’s efforts to make investment easier without returning to the days of uncontrolled spending when clubs across Europe regularly went bankrupt as owners sought to buy success.

While Platini has not said what changes will be made, they are expected to make it easier for the wealthy Qatari and United Arab Emirates owners of Paris and City to keep up the big-spending habits that have allowed them to compete with the biggest sides in Europe.

Platini has insisted that the aim of balancing the books remains the same.

After “moving from a period of austerity,” UEFA will “offer more opportunities for sustainable growth,” Platini said last month. – Rappler.com

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