NYON: European federation UEFA has warned the continent’s major clubs that it is ready to enforce the financial fairplay regulations after revealing that, despite warnings and the economic crisis, the debt levels were increasing not being trimmed.
From the 2014-15 season UEFA will have the power to impose suspensions and competition bars on clubs judged guilty of not responding to the cautions issued after figures revealed that clubs lost more than €1.6bn in 2010 – a 36pc increase and the worst statistics on record. A survey of 665 clubs found that 56pc losses in the 2010 financial year, with 78 spending more than 100pc of their income on wages.
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said only four of the top 30 leagues in Europe are breaking even, compared with 15 two years previously. After a meeting of the UEFA executive committe, he said: “This is the last wake-up call for everyone, this trend has to change very quickly to safeguard European football. We must end this negative spiral and gamble for success. These losses cannot continue.”
Clubs are allowed to make a maximum loss of €45m over a two-year rolling period, followed by €30m for three years – moving ultimately towards breaking even. But 13 clubs monitored in the 2010 financial year would have failed the break-even tests if the rules were applied now. Already 31 clubs, including four this season, have already been refused entry to its two main club competitions since financial licensing was introduced in 2004.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said there had to be a distinction between clubs spending “easy money, and money for investment”.
He added: “Tomorrow’s
model must be built on building stadiums and building youth academies – tangible assets that can benefit football in general.”
Ernesto Paolillo, chief executive officer of Inter Milan, compared the situation to the economic meltdowns affecting the Eurozone. He said: “I can compare the situation of the football industry to exactly the situation of Italy, Spain and Greece’s balance sheet.”
Infantino said clubs that breach the rules could be ordered to cut their squads for European competitions if they keep buying players while incurring unacceptable losses. He said UEFA could also deduct points from teams as well as impose fines and, ultimately, exclude them from European competition depending on the severity of the infringement.
UEFA president Michel Platini had addressed the European Union on the need for legal and political support and legal affairs head Alistair Bell said: “The system is not going to have much credibility if a big club that is in serious breach of the rules is not punished in an effective way. For me the sanctions need to be effective enough that people come into compliance with the system, otherwise clubs are going to become disillusioned rapidly.”