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SBD Global/March 3, 2014/International Football

UEFA Investigates 76 Champions League, Europa League Clubs Over Financial Fair Play

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UEFA said it will announce the first FFP sanctions in April.
UEFA "is investigating 76 Champions League and Europa League clubs for potentially breaking the Financial Fair Play rules designed to curb excessive spending," according to Graham Dunbar of the AP. UEFA said on Friday that the first sanctions against clubs "will be announced in April." Clubs "involved in more serious cases will also be identified then, with UEFA setting a June deadline to publish verdicts before the qualifying round draws for next season's competitions." UEFA Secretary General Gianni Infantino said, "UEFA in this respect is taking the lead in order to protect European football from greed, from reckless spending, from financial insanity." UEFA did not identify clubs under investigation, and officials "declined to discuss details of ongoing cases" (AP, 2/28). The PA's Martyn Ziegler wrote "the clubs will all now have their finances assessed by the Club Financial Control Body to see if the breaches have continued and whether sanctions should apply" (PA, 2/28).

LEGAL CHALLENGES EXPECTED: Also in London, David Conn wrote UEFA "has pledged to defend legal challenges it expects some major football clubs to make if sanctions are imposed on them for breaches of the financial fair play rules." Clubs in European competition "are required to limit their financial losses" to €45M ($62M) in total over '11-12 and '12-13 and this limit will be enforced for the first time before the beginning of next season. Clubs in breach of the rules, introduced to encourage European clubs to be more financially responsible, "face sanctions ranging from a fine to exclusion from European competition in the most serious cases" (GUARDIAN, 2/28). REUTERS' Brian Homewood wrote in April, the CFCB, "which is responsible for implementing the new rules, will announce which of those cases have been dismissed and which will be referred to its disciplinary panel for sanctions." The final decisions "will be announced in June." UEFA Legal Affairs Dir Alasdair Bell stressed that "CFCB was an independent body." Bell: "We have established an independent body and when we say its independent we mean it. This is the separation of powers, this is modern sports governance." Bell said that he expected some clubs to take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport "if they were sanctioned" (REUTERS, 3/2).
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