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SBD Global/July 23, 2013/Finance

Chelsea, Liverpool Execs Concerned UEFA Will Struggle To Enforce Spending Regulations

Execs of Premier League clubs Chelsea and Liverpool said that they "are not confident" that UEFA "can administer new cost-control regulations amid lavish spending by clubs backed by wealthy owners," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. Starting next season, clubs that breach UEFA Financial Fair Play rules will face sanctions that the governing body said "will include fines, transfer embargoes and even suspension from the elite Champions League." Liverpool Managing Dir Ian Ayre said, "We have to see the application by UEFA, we have to wait and see how fair they really play it. I have to say my level of confidence in it isn’t very high." Even "amid the rules aimed at taming" Europe-wide football losses of more than $2B, Man City and Ligue 1 Paris St. Germain, both owned by Gulf royalty, and Monaco, backed by a Russian billionaire, "have continued to spend while losing money." Chelsea CEO Ron Gourlay said the team, which announced its first profit in the Abramovich era last year, is "focused on complying with the rules even though it was 'among the clubs targeted'" by UEFA when the changes were announced in '09. Gourlay: "It’s UEFA's competition so we want to make sure that we comply. All we’ve asked for is that UEFA police and manage the process with a clear, even playing field." Gourlay said that he was "concerned about teams boosting their balance sheets through 'arm’s length' contracts with companies connected to their owners." UEFA said in a statement that its Club Financial Control Body, responsible for administering the rules, will "benchmark" all deals and "only the fair value will be taken into account for the purpose of the break-even reporting." UEFA's statement said, "If clubs do not abide by the rules, the CFCB will use the list of sanctions at its disposal, irrespective of which clubs are not in line with the regulations" (BLOOMBERG, 7/22).
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