NYON: European clubs’ chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge expressed his satisfaction as Manchester City – after a week’s unexplained delay – finally learned their punishment for failing European federation UEFA’s financial fair play rules.
The newly crowned English champions have been fined £49m – some £32m of it suspended – and can only name a 21-man Champions League squad next season.
Other sanctions mean City may spend only a net £49m on players this summer and their wage bill for 2014-15 must not exceed this season’s.
Paris Saint-Germain, one of eight other clubs to breach the rules, have been handed a similar fine and cap as City.
Support for UEFA, rather than City, came from the European Clubs Association.
Rummenigge, who is also chairman of German champions Bayern Munich, said: “Financial Fair Play is a bonus for the clubs, as it helps them to control costs. The European clubs are supporting such goal. As we have seen today, UEFA applies Financial Fair Play very consistently. Therefore, I call on all clubs in Europe to respect the rules and continue on the path we have chosen together with UEFA.”
A City statement said that the club had only fielded 21 players in the Champions League this season, were not planning to spend a net amount of more than £49m on players this summer and expected their wage bill to be lower next season anyway.
“At the heart of discussions is a fundamental disagreement between the club’s and Uefa’s respective interpretations of the FFP regulations on players purchased before 2010,” it read.
“The club believes it has complied with the FFP regulations on this and all other matters.
“In normal circumstances, the club would wish to pursue its case and present its position through every avenue of recourse. However, our decision to do so must be balanced against the practical realities for our fans, for our partners and in the interests of the commercial operations of the club.”
The statement added that the club expected to be operating without sanction or restriction at the beginning of the 2015-16 season.
Clubs who breached the rules had to reach a deal with UEFA, which City have done, or else take it to an adjudicatory panel in June.
UEFA made its first FFP ruling based on club accounts from the past two seasons – 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Under this monitoring period, total losses of €45m (£37m) are permitted as long as clubs have owners who can cover such amounts.
The other clubs guilty of breaking the rules were Russia’s Zenit St Petersburg, Rubin Kazan and relegated Anzhi Makhachkala, Turkey’s Galatasaray, Bursaspor and Trabzonspor and Bulgaria’s Levski Sofia.
City posted combined losses of almost £149m for the past two seasons – £97m in 2012 and £51.6m in 2013.
UEFA introduced FFP because it feared growing instability in the European game as clubs risked spending beyond their means though critics have averred that the rules reduced opportunities for small and medium size clubs to benefit from sharp new income streams.
PSG’s failure to adhere to FFP is understood to stem from the club’s controversial contract with the Qatar Tourism Authority.
The contract is said to have been ruled as valid by UEFA but the overall value of the deal – worth up to £165m per year – has been deemed excessive.
PSG are also understood to have argued with Uefa that French income tax levels in France made complying with FFP more difficult.
Sources close to the club say that, over a three-year period, they will pay £163.9m more in wages than an equivalent club based in Germany because of taxation.
UEFA ultimately rejected the club’s argument that they have to pay higher gross salaries to attract and keep their star players.