SBD/January 12, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

UEFA Warns Soccer Clubs To Rein In Spending Or Face Consequences

Platini says loss-making clubs could be excluded from UEFA Champions League
UEFA President Michel Platini yesterday warned "top clubs that they will 'face the music' if they fail to rein in their spending as a new report showed more than half of Europe's 655 top-flight clubs reported a loss in 2009," according to Jonathan Clegg of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Europe's top-division teams' total revenue "climbed to a record" $15.1B (all figures U.S.) in '09, but UEFA officials said that net losses almost doubled to $1.56B and that there "was 'massive' spending on player wages." The UEFA report found that "top clubs spent an average of 64% of their income on wages in 2009," with 73 European clubs spending "more than 100% of their revenue on wages." Platini "insisted that loss-making clubs would be excluded" from the UEFA Champions League, soccer's "most lucrative competition, if they do not abide by UEFA's complex new 'Financial Fair Play' rules." UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino described the new rules as an "indirect salary cap." He said that a panel of UEFA officials "will monitor club finances and recommend sanctions." Under the rules, European clubs are allowed a total loss of $6.49M in the "first three years of assessment, or up to" $58.4M "if a wealthy owner makes a one-off donation to wipe out losses." UEFA then "will allow progressively smaller losses from 2015 before the break-even rule becomes mandatory" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/12). The FINANCIAL TIMES' Roger Blitz notes 11 clubs "taking part in this season's UEFA competitions would have fallen foul of the new regulations" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 1/12).
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