ISTANBUL: Michel Platini’s romancing of the European Union institutions has paid off with an unequivical statement of support for UEFA’s Financial Fair Play concept from the European Commission.

UEFA president Platini, mindful of the dangers of seeing FFP bogged down in appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, had sought to bring the European political and law-making establishment onside with a series of addresses to the various supporting organisations.

This has now paid off, on the eve of UEFA Congress in Istanbul, with a joint statement issued by UEFA and the competition  commissioner confirming that FFP is in line with EU state aid policy.

Platini and  Joaquín Almunia, the vice-president of the European Commission and competition commissioner, have signed up to agreement after a meeting in Brussels last  December.

Platini described this as a “decisive step to secure a prosperous and stable future for European football and for the European football community generally.”

Almunia said: “I fully support the objectives of UEFA’s financial fair play rules as I believe it is essential for football clubs to have a solid financial foundation. The UEFA rules will protect the interests of individual clubs and players, as well as the football sector in Europe as a whole. I would like to congratulate President Platini for his leadership on this issue.”

Since the meeting between the UEFA President and the commission’s vice-president last December, the services of UEFA and the European Commission have been working together to analyse how FFP fitted within the framework of EU state aid policy.

UEFA’s executive committee approved FFP in May 2010. These measures include an obligation for clubs to balance their books over a period of time and not to spend more than they earn. They start to take effect from this year, effectively upgrading the demands of the club licensing system which has been running for the past eight years.

# # # #