UEFA, EC make historic deal on financial rules

UEFA, EC make historic deal on financial rules

ISTANBUL - Reuters
UEFA, EC make historic deal on financial rules

Michel Platini. AP photo

UEFA and the European Commission (EC) closed any possible loophole that could be exploited by overspending clubs when they signed a joint agreement yesterday endorsing Financial Fair Play (FFP).
They said the FFP rules, drawn up by European football’s governing body, were fully compliant with European law.

The central principle of FFP is that clubs should “live within their means” or break even based on football-related income at least matching their football-related expenditure. UEFA and the EC have acted to stop any club mounting a challenge in court to the FFP rules, which come fully into force in 2013-14 with any sanctions imposed in the 2014-15 season.

UEFA president Michel Platini believes the joint statement is a significant step in strengthening the policy, saying: “Our statement confirms that UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations are fully consistent with EU State aid policy.”

Joaquin Almunia, vice-president of the EC and the Commissioner for Competition added:
“I fully support the objectives of UEFA’s FFP 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 football in Europe as a whole.”

Almunia, who has agreed the 14-point statement with Platini, would rule on any complaints and his comments make it clear that there would be little sense in clubs challenging the ruling.

Some observers have questioned whether the FFP rules can work, but the UEFA/EC joint agreement means there will be no room for clubs to manouevre their way out of the framework. At present, many clubs have huge debts which need to be off their books when FFP comes fully into force or else they will risk UEFA sanctions which could include disqualification from European competitions.