SBD/Issue 238/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Indebted Clubs Could Face Expulsion From UEFA Champions League

Platini Has Become Increasingly Concerned
By Massive Spending On Transfer Fees, Wages
European soccer clubs "have been given three seasons to balance their books or risk expulsion" from the UEFA Champions League, according to Tom Dart of the LONDON TIMES. Under a new policy, a club such that has "spent far more than their income" would "face punishment and the ultimate sanction of removal from European competition." UEFA President Michel Platini said, "We are giving clubs three years to abide by the simple sentence that you cannot spend more than you own or generate." Platini has become "increasingly concerned by massive spending on transfer fees and wages," with EPL clubs "among the worst offenders in his eyes." Under Platini's proposal, clubs would "have to break even on their football budgets, only spending what they earn from ticket sales, television rights, sponsorship and prize money," though clubs "will be able to go into debt to pay for stadium improvements and youth development" (LONDON TIMES, 8/28). Platini: "If a club can get loans from a bank to buy players and then pay it back, that is not a problem. If a club gets a lot of money in subsidies from a big backer and is still in deficit in two years, that is a problem and we don't like that." The AP's Graham Dunbar noted UEFA is "creating an independent financial control panel" that would "warn and fine clubs before expelling them from competition." Platini Thursday said that he is "still looking for an 'eminent personality' to chair the panel" (AP, 8/27).

TAKING A STAND: In London, Patrick Barclay notes Platini named EPL club Chelsea Owner Roman Abramovich "among the leading instigators of his campaign for 'financial fair play' in European football." Platini identified Abramovich, Italy Prime Minister and Serie A club AC Milan Owner Silvio Berlusconi and Serie A club Inter Milan Owner Massimo Moratti as "examples of club proprietors who wanted UEFA to end the inflation in transfer fees and salaries held responsible for increasing debts" (LONDON TIMES, 8/28). Platini: "It's mainly the owners that asked us to do something: Roman Abramovich, Silvio Berlusconi, Massimo Moratti. They do not want to fork out any more. Manchester City can spend [US$491.0M] if they want to but if they are not breaking even in three years then they cannot play in European competition" (Manchester GUARDIAN, 8/28).

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