KEIR RADNEDGE in MONTE CARLO: Financial fair play is starting to bite and UEFA has the statistics to prove it.

Facts and figures were laid out today by Gianni Infantino, the European federation’s general secretary, in the final season before serious punishments can be imposed on profligate clubs.

Infantino sought to put a positive spin on the concept, saying: “What we want to do is help clubs make the system better, more  sustainable and we want a smooth transition period. The success of financial fair play will not be measured on how many clubs have been excluded because an excluson represents a defeat.”

Michel Platini: The clubs are listening . . .

UEFA’s latest report, to be published next month, will show that the total of overdue transfer payments between the 237 clubs in European competition has been cut from €57m (in 2011) to €30m (in 2012) to 9m between 46 clubs (this year).

“That’s very impressive,” said Infantino who noted that last year, for the first time in years, revenues among the Euro-qualified clubs had risen marginally more than wages. Players’ pay had risen by 6.5pc between 2011 and 2012 while the revenue growth was 6.9pc.

Message received

Aggregate losses by all 700 clubs in Europe’s league had also been reduced significantly from €1.7bn last year to €1.0.66bn. This represented a remarkable year on year decrease of 36pc.

All this proved, added Infantino, that “the clubs are getting the message.”

Infantino has had the responsibility of putting administrative and legal flesh on the bones of a concept dreamed up by Michel Platini, UEFA president.

Platini dismissed suggestions that financial fair play would prove an fleeting irrelevance.

He said: “It’s not a whim of the president but a common will of all the football family and the political bodies in Europe such as the European Parliament, the European Commissions and the countries.

“They have all voted in favour of a regulation to counter this scourge of European football which led to losses of €1.7bn every year.

“We have given the clubs the possibility of putting their books in order and now we are coming to the end of these four [preparatory] years and we will see, next year, where we are.”