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Uefa calls clubs to account

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Gordon Farquhar | 09:17 UK time, Thursday, 27 May 2010

"Uefa's executive board is expected to rubber stamp new club licensing and monitoring regulations later today."

It is the kind of news story that catapults most football fans into stifled yawn mode, if not complete catatonia, so I will do my best to explain why you should be aware and what it is going to mean for Premier League clubs from Chelsea to Blackpool, the Toffees to the Baggies and so on.

Uefa already runs a licensing scheme, based around certain financial criteria. Clubs that want to play in its competitions - Champions League, Europa League etc - have to comply with the terms of the license or they cannot take part.

Uefa has a clear view as to why it does this and what the intentions of the revised regulations are. They are to:

  • Introduce more discipline and rationality in club football finances;
  • Decrease pressure on players' salaries and transfer fees and limit inflationary effect;
  • Encourage clubs to compete with their revenues;
  • Encourage investment for the long-term benefit of clubs, such as investment in infrastructure
  • (sports facilities) and in youth;
  • Protect the long term viability and sustainability of European club football;
  • Ensure clubs settle their liabilities on a timely basis.

Frankly, it is hard to argue with any of that. So what is new? The 'break-even' clause, that's what - and it's a pretty significant development.

George Gillett (left) and Tom Hicks
Uefa rulings will put the wallets of Liverpool's owners under further scrutiny

The devil is in the detail but, basically, it means clubs' financial returns will be monitored over a three-year period and they will be expected, on average, to spend no more than they earn, give or take a 5 million euros "immaterial losses" factor.

It is a simple principle but one that has taken a lot of quite clever Uefa men in navy blue suits a long time to frame in a practical and workable way.

Let us just start by saying this is not about existing debt, it is about what you earn and spend. It is also more about what you leave out of that calculation than what you put in.

Certain expenditure will be exempt. You can blow what you like on a new stadium or training ground, on your youth academy and your community activities. So can your wealthy benefactor. However, that wealthy benefactor can only subsidise other spending - transfers and salaries, for example - to a maximum of 45 million euros over three years, above and beyond the break-even level.

That is the bit the Premier League do not like. Let us take Fulham as the example. It would mean owner Mohamed Al-Fayed could not just plough any spare cash he had from the sale of Harrods into the club's transfer kitty with impunity.

This affects the smaller Premier League clubs most, as they generally have lower incomes. It tends to make it harder for a club like Fulham to break into the Champions League places by just bringing in lots of expensive talent, even if they can afford it. That, says the Premier League, is not a "good thing".

OK, so let us cut to the chase. How would your club stand at the moment?

Looking at the latest figures, Arsenal, Blackburn, Tottenham, Manchester United, Hull City and Stoke all tabled profits, so they are fine.

Fulham, Everton, Wigan and Wolves made losses of between £5m and £8m before factoring in academy, infrastructure and community spend, so that's OK, covered by the "immaterial losses" clause.

Bolton, West Ham and Birmingham made losses of between £13 and £20m, again before the permitted items. Considering the 'benefactor' clause allowing up to 15m Euros per season, they would be pretty much OK as well.

Aston Villa, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City would have some thinking to do as their losses are at a level that would trigger concern at Uefa.

It would not, however, suddenly mean they were not allowed to play Champions League or Europa League football at a stroke. The new measure is being added to the regulations as a "monitoring" item, which, if I've got this right, means they would be put under review and given warnings before being hit with the ultimate sanction.

Finally, none of this will cut in before the 2012/13 season, although the 2011/2012 financial returns will be the first benchmark for averaging out profit and loss over the next three years.

Never has your club needed a creative accountant more urgently - or a talented currency speculator given all this rationale has been worked out in euros.

And, as we know, the value of the pound in your pocket can go up as well as down!

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    If you don't have anything constructive to say then don't just write 1st, it's so annoying and immature.

    So UEFA will be punishing the small clubs? Well done to them, as usual the little guys getting screwed over, although the premier league can hardly talk about fair play, they have just been pumping money into the football league and making that less fair aswell.

    I heard about a lot of the European clubs that would not be allowed to participate in any European competition under these new regulations, Real Madrid, AC Milan among others plus the 4 English clubs you mentioned. The possible outcome? These clubs form a breakaway european competition (whilst still competing in their own domestic leagues) then this tournmanent becomes more succesful because these glamour clubs can spend what they want, bringing in more fans, then more advertising money, tv money etc. Champions league teams would become jelous of this unrestricted competition so would ditch the champions league and join said new competition, putting european football in disarray. As more big clubs join the new European competition then smaller clubs will take their allocation of champions league places but this would be worthless as tv money and top class competition would be low.

    What i'm saying simply is the champions league would basically be renamed and the Europa league would be called the champions league?

    Congratulations to uefa for screwing over the little clubs and angering the big clubs.

  • Comment number 3.

    It's worth pointing out that Man Utd only made a profit this year because of the sale of Ronaldo: without that they'd have been pretty heavily in the red (no pun intended).

    So would a big owner be able to pay all the costs (groundskeeping staff wages, utility bills, security) for the stadium and training ground, freeing up all earnings for player wages and transfer fees? That would still give some clubs significant financial clout.

  • Comment number 4.

    Isnt an important point that the owners of a club can also suddenly become their sponsors, to the tune of 100 million a year?
    hum

  • Comment number 5.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 6.

    The financial fair play rules are all about keeping the top clubs in Europe at the top and the stopping any new boys getting the investment they would need to challenge them. This has always been the case.

    In the end, it's all about how you choose to spend your revenue. Clubs like Man Utd and Liverpool maintain massive debts and so interest severely erodes their profitability. That means they have less to spend on players and wages. Being owned as a business also means that they have to pay "reasonable" dividends, which further limits the amount they can spend. Arsenal have debt, but it is long-term low interest and easily covered by revenue. Clubs like Chelsea have no debt (ignore the recent Guardian article, it is based on little knowledge of accounting using out of date accounts). That allows them to spend more on wages. Further, they do not pay dividends. That is why Man Utd/Liverpool keep wages down to 60% of revenue, whilst at Chelsea it is closer to 80%. Inteeastingly, Arsenal's wage bill is not much less than Chelsea (according to their own supporters club).

    Now, if the likes of Villa, Spurs, Everton, etc. want to break into the top positions in Europe, they will have to spend big on players and pay massive wages. They would have to do this over a period of five years to get a coefficients in their favour in European competition. However, their revenues as actually half of what the top clubs get (similar to Man City in fact). If these rules are applied, there is no way that these second tier clubs could achieve this.

    The effect of these rules will be to remove the notion of promotion and relegation beteen the top and second tiers, which in the long term is bad for football as a whole.

  • Comment number 7.

    This is so fraught with problems. The crux of it seems likely to perpetuate the status quo.

    I suppose it may put emphasis on clubs to develop youth as it will be cheaper than buying in ready made talent. However, this will put pressure on young stars in the making. (e.g. Fabregas to Arsenal) although perhaps following the Kakuta case, that whole issue will be addressed properly.

    Not least of which is the fact that all figures are to be expressed in Euro's! Surely there will be a provision to factor in currency gains and losses as well?

    Finally though, if UEFA distributed their money more evenly in the first place, such a have's and have not's scenario that we seem to have at the moment may not have arisen.

    Have you asked UEFA if they plan on doing anything with the distribution of money?

  • Comment number 8.

    "It will simply create an uneven playing field within leagues, leading to a decline in the competitive nature of the leagues over the longer term."

    This is already the case, and is the reason for the proposed measures. It will stop the likes of Man U, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Man City spending money they do not have and is not going to punish smaller clubs

  • Comment number 9.

    MrBlueBurns, you have nailed the crux of the problem, the distribution of money in the CL and EL. In most leagues, we distribute TV revenues in order to try and avoid disparity between the clubs in the top flight and use some of that money to help relegated teams. UEFA is more like the Spanish model, where the revenues are firmly placed in the hands of the most successful clubs ensuring a continuing hegemony. If UEFA actually shared more fairly, the problem would not have occurred. However, there was no way the old G14 clubs would allow this, because they didn't want competition for there places at the top table. UEFA were scared of their power and so created the system we suffer today.

    Webb of Deceit, read the other comments here to explain why this comment is correct.

  • Comment number 10.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 11.

    Interesting blog Gordon which will no doubt stimulate much debate...cheers!

    I find the problem with these new UEFA regulations as is the case with the majority of financial beaurocracy today is that the devil always hides in the detail and though it may have taken a lot of 'clever Uefa men in navy blue suits' years of procrastinating to come up with these regulations it will still be mind numbing gobbledygook to your average footie supporter who just wants to know their club is still competitive.

    'Certain expenditure will be exempt' is the KEY phrase as it implies those with creative accountants as you suggest will still find 'workarounds' just as they do now - they will skirt the boundaries of what is and isn't acceptable within the MANY 'flexible' rules...until the preverbial **** hits the fan. (no pun intended) as is always the case!

    It will take a gargantuan effort to monitor and enforce - only applies to Europe I take it - so African/South American deals etc will still be 'adjustable' and provide manoeuvrability?..will only create yet more pen pushers, has little transparency or accountability to the fans and generally maintains the status quo.

  • Comment number 12.

    so when did Hull City make a profit. Last i heard , only yesterday, they had debts of £34 million and growing daily. Having to sell players to make ends meet.
    Suggest you get the facts before printing.

  • Comment number 13.

    I am curious as to why every other team to stay in the Premier League this year (and Hull City) are mentioned yet there is no sign whatsoever of Sunderland AFC?

    As for the rest well I am sure the clubs with wealthy benefactors will find a way around it, that or simply plough all of their money into academies meaning that those under the age of 18 will suddenly be bought and sold for a lot more money.

  • Comment number 14.

    For all those saying it widens the gap between the big and small clubs. This is probably true but would these new regulations also stop the Portsmouth situation happening again?
    Of all the things to happen since the formation of the PL the Portsmouth (and formerly Leeds) situation is the worst.

    Ultimately, what UEFA are trying to do is make teams less reliant on wealthy owners and high profile transfers and more reliant on the development of their own youth system.

    If this is successful, there will be less Portsmouths and more young players coming through the ranks. Surely this is a better situation than the current one?

  • Comment number 15.

    It's an interesting proposition, and one which should help smaller clubs/home grown talent in the long run. In the mean time though, it will put them at a disadvantage, and potentially put off any new 'big backers' who look to take on smaller clubs (Chelsea/City) and turn them around with massive investment.

    http://sportales.com/soccer/kopstuff-27510-hicks-talks-money-stopper-antolovic-anfield-bound/

  • Comment number 16.

    #14

    I don't think Leeds and Portsmouth are good examples. To be quite cold, so what if a club goes out of business. Doesn't affect 'the competition' does it?

    Also, seeing as all clubs will probably need the same number of players then there will always be the same number of 'youth' coming through.

  • Comment number 17.

    I am pleased that UEFA are trying to address the issue here but I can't help thinking there might be better ways. As highlighted, smaller clubs will find it much harder to climb into the upper echeleons if they are not allowed to spend. Personally, I think that if a chairman wants to plough money into a club for transfers then that is fine. However, this should only be allowed as goodwill investment rather than money they would be looking to recoup. I feel this would probably put off people who just wanted to make money out of clubs.

    http://the-fa-premier-league.blogspot.com

  • Comment number 18.

    Mr Blue, this is one of the situations UEFA are trying to stop. Because to pick up on your second comment "To be quite cold, so what if a club goes out of business. Doesn't affect 'the competition' does it?"

    The clubs dont actually go out of business, ok so the ownership may change hands but Leeds United and Portsmouth football clubs still remain.
    They jump into adminstration as quick as possible and offer creditors % of what they actually owe. Therefore clubs like Leeds and Portsmouth actually de-value the competition.

    I am Leeds fan and watched us through the good times and have felt the full force of what over-spending can do to a football club. If these new UEFA regulations stops this happening in the future I am all for it.

  • Comment number 19.

    #18. just because leeds and portsmouth haven't actually gone out of business doesn't mean that a club couldn't go out of business. look at scotland - clubs like clydebank (i think there's a supermarket where their ground once was) and the old airdrie have gone forever. it's not beyond possibility that an english club in bad finanacial shape would also disappear completely.

  • Comment number 20.

    There seems to be a concensus that this will punish the small and cement the status of the big clubs. What a shock? Well it happens already with the CL which has simply become a tournament for the uber rich and indebted (Porto remain the only winners outwith the Big 5 leagues). Not sure that these regulations will change anything for the smaller clubs, except to prevent them doing a 'Chelsea', a 'Man City' or a 'Hoffenheim'.

    And it won't be the big clubs that walk away from these restrictions, it will be the Ajax's, the PSV's, Celtic, Rangers, and those clubs from countries that don't have big TV incomes: who are looking to expand their revenues are constrained by the league they are in. I would have been more impressed with regulations that sought to create a level playing field by tackling the indebtedness of clubs like Milan, Real Madrid and Man Utd and not restrict others who keep their finances in good order.

    Empahsis on youth? Perhaps. But the big clubs will still gobble up the young stars from the smaller ones.

  • Comment number 21.

    As a Swindon Town Supporter who are currently having a fantastic season on and off the pitch i can 100% understand what UEFA are trying to do. There is nothing worse than a club (whether that be a small local club, lower league or european super-club) having to rely on wealthy owners. As an example Swindo were the first club to go into administration twice and under a succession of chairmen, owners and consortiums who did not invest wisely and overspent we came within hours if not minutes of extinction and there seems to be an ever increasing number of league clubs in similar situations.
    If these new rules encourage sensible ownership, long term investment and most importantly create clubs which can sustain themselves (even at the cost of a few less usperstars) without wealthy owners investing surely this is a good thing?

    It remains to be seen whether in reality these rules will work, but i for one wholly support the ideas and principles UEFA are trying to bring into the game.

  • Comment number 22.

    @dw07, re: #5 and #10. Hull, Portsmouth, Leeds and Newcastle, inter alia, prove that living beyond your means to achieve glory is not a sustainable policy.

    You may be correct that they must live beyond their means to break the Big 4 monopoly, though Spurs fans might disagree. But even if that's generally true then the risks far outweigh the rewards, and these clubs must be dissuaded from betting the farm on such a long shot.

    Consider this: the only club to break through and make it stick in the last 10 years is Chelsea, and they had almost limitless resources. If that hasn't sobered you up, the two in the 90s were Leeds and Blackburn! Yet even getting a sugar daddy is not without risks, as Pompey and Liverpool have discovered to their cost.

    However, this deal does have the G14's fingerprints all over it. I'm sure another way could have been found to provide a more level playing field, if that had been the intention, which clearly is wasn't.

  • Comment number 23.

    I am all in favor of the idea in itself, obviously we'll have to see exactly how this thing will work out but I am interested in this plan.

    Would the likes of Sheikh Mansour or Roman Abramovich have been interesting in buying City or Chelsea if they were unable to invest more than £15m of their own money into the club each season?

    Overall, the intentions of UEFA of trying to stabilise the financial situation in European football are sound. However, the break-even clause is not the way to try to achieve this. It will simply create an uneven playing field within leagues, leading to a decline in the competitive nature of the leagues over the longer term.

    I think it will do the exact opposite. If you look at the Primera Division this season (for example), Barcelona had 99 points and Real Madrid 96. Do you call that competitive? Do other clubs even stand a chance? No I think not, these rules will prevent your Real Madrids to spend on wages like they are doing now trying desperately to buy the Primera Division title away from Barcelona.

    It is the current rules have led to an entrenched elite of clubs, this is not going to sustain this entrenched elite but force them to be at least a little more realistic and not borrow beyond means. The current rules of any club can come in and spend beyond their means hoping they'll get to be a member of the elite clubs have caused this thing.

    The new rules may not be an instant fix or even a full fix but they are not going to make worse than what we already see: an entrenched elite of clubs of which many are heavily in debt and a few (such as Bayern Munich) subject to far more stringent rules because of playing in a country where they have always taken financial matters far more serious. Bayern could never get away with serial overspending like the Premier League clubs can, because the German FA will revoke the clubs licence and demote them.

    And for those who see 'romance' in your Abramovich's or Mansour's effectively buying a club to the top, I'm glad that sort of thing is going to be tackled. What if something happens to the major benefactor and his heirs suddenly decide they don't want to continue and take the money out? This rules will also help prevent an increase in the numbers of Leeds Uniteds and Portsmouths trying to desperately buy their way to the top with money they didn't have in the first place.

  • Comment number 24.

    OLD PEOPLE. LOL

  • Comment number 25.

    It might be worth pointing out to those deluded enough to think that their own clubs are financially stable, just because a few accountants manipulated some figures.
    Enron and RBS, to name just 2 companies out of a list that contains hundreds, maybe thousands of names, both claimed they were in profit less than a year before they went bust, billions in debt.

    UEFA are right to bring in some form of regulation, but everyone must realise that good accountants are paid their obscene wages because they can make even the worst scenarios look ok and know how to find ways around even the most stringent regulations.

    UEFA have strengthened the PL in comparison to all other leagues with this idea too, as no other league shares tv revenue anywhere near as evenly as the PL, because of this and these new rules, expect the gap between rich/big clubs and poor/small clubs throughout most European leagues to grow year on year.

  • Comment number 26.

    Biggest problem is perpetuating the status quo. Either football is a business or it is a 'sport'. Football cannot exempt itself from the real world. If clubs go out of business so be it. If on-field discipline doesn't improve then take points off teams. But if someone wants to give(not lend) money to a football club then what is the problem? This has gone on from when football began. It used to be the local business man who donated money and became chairman. If you take Chelsea, Villa and Man City over the last two years they have spent a huge amount of money but it was 'new' money. Not recycled transfer fee money but money that had never been in the game but now is. David Moyes can bleat and moan but Joleon Lescott means Everton are on a sound financial footing. I assume transfer fees are income therefore it can only help. The real danger is if Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, the Italians and the English set up on their own (bit like 1993 with the Premier League), and cut EUFA out altogether. Now that would be funny!

  • Comment number 27.

    Uefa have clearly not thought this through properly.

    Firstly, if you can only spend what you earn then this gives a huge advantage to the 'bigger clubs', not only Man United, Arsenal etc over the rest but also the likes of Newcastle and Leeds say over the likes of Fulham and Wigan.

    Secondly, many clubs like Fulham, Stoke, Wigan, Blackburn, Hull etc came into the Premier League from the lower leagues on the back of investment from wealthy owners. If these regulations were in place then these clubs couldn't have got in the Premier League let alone Blackburn winning it or Fulham getting to the Europa League Final. This is just a move to make sure the traditional big clubs have it all their own way.

    Finally, why should the owners of Man City be punished for investing into English and European football? I am all for stopping clubs borrowing/ gambling into debt but not for stopping investment.

    Last season Middlesbrough got around £12m from Man City for Adam Johnson and indirectly for Stewart Downing from Aston Villa. Arsenal, Everton, Newcastle and West Ham also receive money from Man City in transfer fees which these clubs then re-invest. Why do Uefa want to stop this investment?

    By all means stop/ punish clubs in debt but don't punish investment into our game.


  • Comment number 28.

    I agree that a club should be economically viable and should be able to support itself week in week out but these rules are ridiculous and as stated before mean the status quo will be maintained.

    I think there is a comprimise between the two though. The way I see it a club should be able to show that it can support it's running costs wages, maintenance etc.

    If their owner then wants to spend £30 million on which ever player every so often as a (for want of a better term)'gift' for the club then so be it just as long as the club can afford his wages.

  • Comment number 29.

    I think it's worth pointing out that this new policy only affects clubs which aspire to compete in Europe. The FAs are not obliged to implement this rule in their national leagues. And it seems that the EPL is not going to implement it any time soon.

    What this means is that clubs with no intention of competing in European football in the next three or so years, may still spend relatively huge sums of money in order to, say get promotion to the lucrative EPL or even just to fight for survival in EPL.

    Comment #4 also raised a big concern. What if the owners just inject money under the guise of 'sponsor'?

  • Comment number 30.

    Nice fudge by UEFA. They appear to be doing something, but leave enough loopholes so nothing actually changes.

  • Comment number 31.

  • Comment number 32.

    Part of the problem is that people confuse two issues, indebtedness and financial fair play. This measure has nothing to do with indebtedness. This measure only affects clubs that register for European competitions, i.e. the top 8 or 9 clubs in the country. These clubs are not about to go out of business.

    This measure is supposedly about achieving financial fair play. The background is that UEFA produced a set of stats to show that the wealthiest clubs are more likely to win competitions. From that they decided that the only way to achieve "fairness" was to ensure that all clubs competed from the same basis. Of course, that's unrealistic because there are so many external factors affecting income and expenditure. So they came up with the notion of balancing revenue and expenditure. However, that does not work because it punishes clubs that invest in anything (including stadia and youth). So they created a bunch of loopholes. And we get to where we are now. A mess.

    If UEFA had distributed the money from all competitions more fairly, then clubs in the second tier (Europa League) would get more money and it would create a financial spring board for challenging the top. However, UEFA would prefer not to upset the top clubs because they fear a break away league.

  • Comment number 33.

    #32
    If UEFA had distributed the money from all competitions more fairly, then clubs in the second tier (Europa League) would get more money and it would create a financial spring board for challenging the top. However, UEFA would prefer not to upset the top clubs because they fear a break away league.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Although I think the danger of the G14 or the top clubs breaking away is less now than it once was and they seem pretty happy with their lot. And why wouldn't they, the CL largely rewards the TV revenue wealthy in the Big 5 leagues season after season.

    I think the real danger for UEFA is from the less TV revenue wealthy clubs in places like Holland, Portugal, Scandanavia and Scotland who will possibly now be more constrained in breaking into the top group (and sustaining it) than they ever were. In Scotland for example, the notion of an Atlantic League has risen again over the course of this season and these regulations may make it an even more attractive proposition.

  • Comment number 34.

    so does this mean there will be no more £80 million transfers like Ronaldo's?

  • Comment number 35.

    So UEFa will peruse the financial records of clubs participating in European competitions? Hmm...

    That is fine and well if the financial records are compiled to the same standards. But they are not, as standards are applicable to sovereign nations. Likewise most British fans have a fair idea what their club's financial situation is, but quite a few European fans do not have a clue, simply because their disclosure rules do not require them to show clarity.

    I am a Gooner and for the life of me cannot work out how Barcelona can afford let alone pay over 150 million Euros for Torres, Fabregas and Villa, when their turnover is circa 400 million Euros. Their Trading statement simply lists Sales, operating expenses and profit - PR releases say they have paid off a bank loan, yet there is no Balance Sheet report to back this up.

    In some countries football clubs have been subsidised by local or central governments directly and indirectly. Remember the city of Madrid bailing out Real Madrid's debt by purchasing their training ground so as to wipe out the debt, and then renting it back to the club for a pittance? What about clubs that have not paid taxes on players wages like Portsmouth?

    But UEFA also encompasses non EU countries and some of them really are the real "wild west". Accounting standards are different the world over, and I suspect that UEFA have taken on more than they can chew. Of course if UEFA are out to get English clubs then our accounting standards of openness and clarity will make it easy for them.

  • Comment number 36.

    Why not just introduce a wage cap - it works in plenty of other sports around the world - and then there won't need to be "big" and "small" clubs as they'll all be playing on a level playing field and so every club will have a chance to win?

  • Comment number 37.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 38.

    So what was MON complaing about regarding Villa's spending?

  • Comment number 39.

    How about this, if benefactors want to throw money into a club, let them. But they have to put the money up front into an escrow account or directly into the club with non-recourse. Then they will be allowed to sign whomever they want.

  • Comment number 40.

    I`ve been always against the UEFA rule on finances, but last season`s headlines about rising debts at a level never seen before, clubs going into adminstration, quite a few winding up applications I`m now for the change.

    In the long term it will benefit the game by forcing clubs to live within their means or being excluded from the two UEFA competitions. As neither the PL, nor the FL was willing or able or both to introduce rules changes by themselves, UEFA stepped in.

    Most of what comes out of the FIFA and UEFA headquarters is pure nonsens, but the regulate the club finances for the club competitions is a good thing for a change. But to make a difference between a bank loan/huge overdraft and the owner to bankroll tranfers and wages is the type of hypocritical legislation we`re used to from our politicians. Nothing is thought through and all implications being considered.

    The new rule is mainly directed at the PL, no doubt about that. Many clubs in continental Europe are simply jealous about the revenue coming in from TV and sponsorship deals and of course of the spending power some individuals have to aquire world class players. The second reason in my view is the very widespread perception England (or rather the UK) is always sitting outside the boat regarding european matters from the EU to footballing affairs and, if at all, rarely involved to push things ahead. I`m sure that view is playing a part as well.

    Another question is, what the new rule stand up in court if challenged by a club qualified, but not licensed by UEFA to compete in either the CL or EL. Both FIFA and UEFA always maintain football is different to the real world and should have it`s own rules. At the end of the day it`s business like any other, paying taxes, VAT, insurances etc like any other business has to do.

    The owner of a company can pour money into the firm out of his own pocket if he want, so why can`t Roman Abramovich or Skeik Mansour do the same. Just because it`s football?

    Nobody complaint when Berlusconi was buying the best players money could buy in the 1980`s and 1990`s, but now it´s bad thing after he has stopped pouring in money quite a while ago. And, there´s another flaw in the new rule regarding the bank loans. How volaotile banks are we`ve seen over the last two years or so and still do. Governments stepping in with tax payers money to rescue them, takeovers etc. If a bank is calling in the loan on a short notices for whatever reason, the club in question could be in real trouble.

    Licensing system in general yes, but if, thought through with all the implications possible.

  • Comment number 41.

    Time to wave bye-bye to outmoded UEFA. Set up the European Super League and run the Premiership, Serie A and La Liga as independent bodies.

  • Comment number 42.

    Who cares what they say, and who cares what the clubs accounts look like? As a supporter all I am interested in is my team winning. I want to see the best players my club can sign, and eat the best pies at the ground. If parity, and financial accounting means mid table mediocrity or worse year in worse out then you can keep it.
    On another note, I am tired of hearing about the Cinderella story of Blackpool winning promotion. They are the 6th best team in the Championship and will be the worst team in the premiership. Its not a Cinderella story its a back half of a pantomime horse story!! Man their is really nothing much to talk about until June 11th is there but this?

  • Comment number 43.

    yeah i didn't quite understand why there is no mention of sunderland's financial security on here? we're pretty sound i imagine.

  • Comment number 44.

    People who say that this will lead to a break away from UEFA controlled competitions are living in cloud cuckoo land.

    UEFA are the European end of FIFA, the world governing body. All football is regulated by FIFA.

    If Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool, Milan, Inter etc etc all tried to break away, they would find themselves outside FIFA.

    This would instantly mean that none of their players could play in FIFA competitions - ok they do not want to play in the CL etc, but what about national cups? And what about European Championships?

    And what about World Cups?

    Yep - all players in breakaway comps outside UEFA & therefore FIFA would be barred from taking part in the World Cup.

    Still think it is a good idea?

  • Comment number 45.

    If a club is struggling under this new regulation, all they will do is charge us fans more money. UEFA think they are looking after the clubs, but what about us fans? Don't we already pay enough?

    The best thing UEFA could have done would have been introduced a wage cap, that would limit spending and help the fans out at the same time. This idea solves nothing.

  • Comment number 46.

  • Comment number 47.

    i can see a breakaway happening. The clubs wont like this one bit, and will probably call uefas bluff and not enter the competitions anyway. Whos gonna watch the champions league, if the likes or Real, Barca,Chelsea and the likes are not taking part?

    Personally i think its great, it will go a long way in the battle to make football a sport again and not a battle of balance sheets.

  • Comment number 48.

    In the long run, this is a must - too many clubs are playing Russian Roulette with their finances - and it's the fans who suffer as their clubs fall off the cliff as the inevitable catches up with them.

    it will need some tweaking - and obvious abuses such as those pointed out - will need to be rooted out, but this is good for the game in the long run.

    In the UK, I think something needs to be done to protect the small business and St John's Ambulance etc who always get burned when a club goes down. It's a disgrace that already overpaid footballers are preferred creditors and family businesses are at the end of the queue.

    The Premier League can't be all precious about this when it's just had one of its members forced into administration, offering its creditors 20p in the pound over 5 years. Football has to run itself responsibly - clubs owe it to their fans to make sure they are stable in the long term.

  • Comment number 49.

    Before we all jump up and down and get excitable about this let's go back and live in the real world for a moment.
    Uefa have the biggest club tournament in the world with huge revenues and blue chip sponsors. It relies on the fact that year after year the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea Liverpool AC Milan (the former G14 CLUBS) are in the competition.
    If it didn't rely on this then we would go back to the old format whereby only the ACTUAL champions would go into the competition.
    So ask yourselves this. What do you REALLY think the chances are of Uefa turning round to one of the big clubs and saying sorry chaps but your finances are in such a mess you can't play this year?

  • Comment number 50.

    That's great news!
    It will mean we no longer have clubs living ( and sometimes acheiving) outside their means.
    Say goodbye Chelsea and Citeh!

  • Comment number 51.

    Do footballers technically have to be professional? Could Roman Abramovich employ Ashley Cole on £80,000 a week as a foreign affairs advisor instead, who happens to spend most of his time playing football...

    I'm sure these outdated socialist principles enforced by UEFA will soon by bypassed by far smarter business brains!

  • Comment number 52.

    WHAT ABOUT MADRID AND THEIR LOANS FROM THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT. I THINK ROMAN WILL TRANSFER HIS LOANS TO DONATIONS..NO LAW AGAINST THAT!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    And as for the comments by the likes of Wengerpore about 'overpaid' footballers, seriously get over it.

    If you don't like how much they're paid, follow a different sport. Its an old and boring whinge. People always talk of fans as 'poor' or 'downtrodden', and players as 'overpaid' or 'mercenary'.

    Well, aren't the fans the ones paying the players?

  • Comment number 54.

    This is fantastic news! I hope UEFA puts in more regulations in the future, because teams will find a way around these regs with creative accounting and the like.

    A suggestion for teams that need to be punished but not so far as to be banned from Europe - they start all their European matches a goal down.

  • Comment number 55.

    Sportsboy you have got it wrong! you said
    "Uefa have clearly not thought this through properly.

    Firstly, if you can only spend what you earn then this gives a huge advantage to the 'bigger clubs', not only Man United, Arsenal etc over the rest but also the likes of Newcastle and Leeds say over the likes of Fulham and Wigan."
    Thats always been the case, thats why clubs want to build bigger grounds, more support means more cash and of course htis will happen in the bigger cities, nothing anyone can do about that.

    "Secondly, many clubs like Fulham, Stoke, Wigan, Blackburn, Hull etc came into the Premier League from the lower leagues on the back of investment from wealthy owners. If these regulations were in place then these clubs couldn't have got in the Premier League let alone Blackburn winning it or Fulham getting to the Europa League Final. This is just a move to make sure the traditional big clubs have it all their own way."

    Nothing wrong with investment from wealthy owners IF they think it is an investment as opposed to throw away spending money.

    "Finally, why should the owners of Man City be punished for investing into English and European football? I am all for stopping clubs borrowing/ gambling into debt but not for stopping investment."

    very wrong- this is NOT fiscally responsible investment and should be stopped. It places a very unfair advantage over clubs who dont have billionaire friends with money to burn

    "Last season Middlesbrough got around £12m from Man City for Adam Johnson and indirectly for Stewart Downing from Aston Villa. Arsenal, Everton, Newcastle and West Ham also receive money from Man City in transfer fees which these clubs then re-invest. Why do Uefa want to stop this investment?"

    YES! This money is harming the game. Teams like Portsmouth overspend to keep up and then go bust.
    Clubs should be able to balance their books; cash in from TV rights, gate receipts, merch etc vs expenses out like wages and administration. Besides if Boro had been able to match the wages City offered to Johnson then he might still be there along with other players and Middlesbro might be better off. This kind of stupid money is leading us towards real Madrid, the richest club in the world who will buy anyone they want. Surely you dont want that?

    "By all means stop/ punish clubs in debt but don't punish investment into our game."

    This is your problem:- this is not investment! this is throwing money at the game with no care about return. Yes Abramovich got his PL title but at what cost?
    Citeh is not a sustainable club. The money they have spent on transfers and players wages they can never hope to recoup,
    It has to stop.

  • Comment number 56.

    Instantly I'm thinking there could be few ways to get round it, eg Abrovamich buys ''rare signed memobarila'' from the club shop. So rare it costs him £10 million.

    Or a new hospitality box gets let out at £20 million for a season. All kosher income on the face of it.

  • Comment number 57.

    Gordon - What will happen if a majority (or for that matter a significant minority) of the clubs that finish as Champions of their domestic leagues (across Europe) fall foul of this new ruling? Will they not be allowed to enter the UEFA Champions League the following year? If (by any remote possiblity) this should become the case, lets see how long the major Champions League sponsors stay onboard. It sounds as if within football's elite body the 'inmates have taken over the asylum'.
    When will UEFA learn it cannot use its competition rules to attempt to regulate an increasingly lucrative subset of the entertainment industry? Professional football is now part of a global sports based industry and like any other industry if the individual businesses that make up that industry are managed properly they will survive, if managed irresponsibily, they will go under.
    It is understandable that UEFA should seek to protect the integrity of its competitions; however it would be advised to start by looking more realistically at the use of goal-line technology, or seek to ensure Referees do something about the scandal of 'shirt pulling', obstruction and man-handling that goes on in every match at set pieces, rather than by trying (from a distance) to effect the competency of football club management.

  • Comment number 58.

    Well done UEFA, welcome back the world of the backhander.

    Do they honestly think that this will help matters? People like Abramovich will simply present "gifts" to players outside the structure of the club itself.

    Every Chelsea player to have a second job at his oil company or to be employed as part of his household staff in order to top up their wages.

  • Comment number 59.

    8. At 11:35am on 27 May 2010, Webb of Deceit wrote:

    "It will stop the likes of Man U, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Man City spending money they do not have and is not going to punish smaller clubs"

    Incorrect, City have not been spending money they don't have, it's been an investment from Sheik Mansour.
    It may have shown up on the balance sheet as a loss, and any player purchases this summer will also be set against profits, but it is in effect a gift from the Sheik, City will owe no-one.

    This new rule in effect gives City two years of spending as much of the owner's money as he gives them, any further purchases and player's wages will have to be found out of tv money, ticket money, sponsorship and prize money, as will everyone else's

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm not sure how people see this as Uefa punishing small clubs

    "Aston Villa, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City"

    are hardley small clubs. 2 of them at the start of last season were 1/2 of the "big 4" one just won the league with the other 2 chasing champions league football.

    If they ignored the rules and eventually got punished what would happen to their revenue would be interesting, the loss of CL football and what it means for Liverpool has allready been debated and the general consensus is it's not good in the medium-long term. If this happened at Chelsea and Roman couldn't throw money at it he may quickly get bored, and with Chelsea owing him more than Utd owe everyone that could get very bad for Chelsea very quickly. Villa and City wouldn't be hit so badly as the Europa isn't as lucrative, but it would still hurt.

    The way I see it the "small clubs" would be the ones to benifit
    Had the 4 above mentioned clubs been banned from next seasons EU competitions for their current loss running and the CL and Europa spots were redistributed you'd have Utd, Arsenal, Totthenham and Everton in the CL and Birmingham, Blackburn and Stoke in the Europa.

    Considering that Birmingham have not long returned to the PL that would be a big money spinner for them. CL for Everton would be a great reward for their sanity in the transfer market and the fact it could come at cities cost would be all the sweater for them!

    In truth I doubt this will do much to upset or re-inforce the balance of power, everyone has plenty of time and warning and it still won't stop a club splurging one season as long as it's tight the next few.

    What it will do is help point sugar-daddies cash at improving facilities and the long term prospects of the club. Blow a ton on a new stadium and in a few years time you will be making a lot more money. This I think will not only improve the quality of the match-day experiance, but in the long term, with the youth exemption could be very good for our national team.

  • Comment number 61.

    There's been talk of bending the rules via sham sponsorship deals, expensive memorabilia, directors box etc.

    UEFA has thought this out, and has clauses in the rules to counter creative accounting.

    For example Sponsorship deals, Corporate hospitality tickets, and services provided to a club would require club management to demonstrate the fair market value.

    Fair value could be most recent value of similar sponsorship rights for the previous season.

    Or, The amount a club would have obtained for use of executive boxes for the season, as evidenced by the revenue obtained from independent third parties

    Etc… So while you can increase your sponsorship deal from £5m/year to £20m/year UEFA can say we're only counting £7m towards revenue, certainly not all £20m.

  • Comment number 62.

    Because of the vast sums generated by the champions league, this will mean that other clubs will not get a look in. Personally I think the FA should show some leadership and announce a new competition, with the real rules of football involved. Hawkeye technology etc. Invite other european clubs to participate.

    FIFA and UEFA are really a total waste of time and we should really consider withdrawing from their competitions and see what we can achieve. The premier league has been a success - and the only way blatter et al stay in control is by getting the votes of smaller and poorer nations.

    Football regulations should stay in football. Financial regulations should stay with the national governments

  • Comment number 63.

    The Abu Dhabi group who own Man City are investing in the club in order to raise their own profile. In other words cash for advertising - the same as shirt sponsorship for example - but on a bigger scale and on a different footing. ManU are allowed unlimited income from business deals - £88m for shirt sponsorship for example. Man City are not allowed unlimited investment even though the income for both clubs ultimately has the same commercial basis. The idea that ManU's business deals are earned income and Man City's investment is unearned and therefore unfair is a pile of horse manure.

    Arsenal make significant income from rent from the Highbury flats. Is this legitimate income? If not what restrictions are going to be placed on it? If so what is to stop Man City buying rented flats and using the resultant income?

    These are 2 more obvious complications from Platini's attempts to play God. There must be a great deal many more. I cannot see this scheme succeeding and I think the end result will be an extreme chaos.

  • Comment number 64.

    one other point. whats to stop mancity owner from being invoiced for 200 million for a consultancy fee. man city's accounts are produced, he can then invoice the club for 200 million as a management fee?

    Businessmen will find the way. unfortanately platini is french and so a likely socialist and certainly has no brains for business.

  • Comment number 65.

    A weekly wage cap and a cap on transfers and their fees to agents would be far better. Paying a star £180,000 a week doesn't make sense unless it was the Zimbabwean dollar but then it would be too little. Anyway whats paid at the end of the day is ultimately up to the fans as they are the ones who will keep the club alive and make it worthwhile.

    A wage cap would be better because lots of peripheral players are demanding more star type money when they are not stars. Clearly money is a huge influence and some wealthy benefactor could not care less if they put a billion or two and create a trust fund for their club. Missing UEFA competitions but building up the stature of the club could make it quite embarrassing for UEFA down the road. But money is only one ingredient for success.

  • Comment number 66.

    "Isnt an important point that the owners of a club can also suddenly become their sponsors, to the tune of 100 million a year?
    hum"

    interesting point. i'd guess uefa have already thought of these things, though.

    "The financial fair play rules are all about keeping the top clubs in Europe at the top and the stopping any new boys getting the investment they would need to challenge them. This has always been the case."

    no, it's about stopping the chelseas and man citys buying league places and silver wear through no good work of their own. it's also there to safe gaurd against cases like portsmouth.

    great rule change by uefa tbh. down with billionair investors buying every thing :)

  • Comment number 67.

    As usual UEFA go at it with good intentions but fail to realise that all they do is play to the strengths of the big clubs whose revenues outstrip the majority. The loophole that rich owners will sponsor the clubs and therefore create turnover is a likely scenario also. Add to the return of players being paid by the club and then employed by their rich owners for other services, an easy way to outspend your revenue but meet the criteria set by UEFA and driving a bigger divide between the clubs.

  • Comment number 68.

    Can a rich owner pay a huge amount for the stadium then sell it back at a more reasonable price, thus enabling the club to show a higher revenue? There has to be a simpler way for smaller clubs to enjoy cash infusions, though.

  • Comment number 69.

    This article is wrong. It is not yawn time for the British football fan. For many neutral fans and fans loyal to one club it is a disaster. Although everybody cringes when they think of the case of Portsmouth there have been many amazing fairytales of club chairmen who have invested money far outstripping their club's turnover. If this rule had applied for the last 15 years there would be no Jack Walker, Abramhovic or even Fayed making their fans dreams come true and turning the Premiership into the wonderful spectacle it has been for so long. Indeed this smacks of jealousy. Yes, the Uk is the only nation that allows foreign ownership of clubs but this has made it the best show on earth. Thanks to Platini this could be over. If this is the fair rule ruling then perhaps Spain will change it's tax laws in line with the rest of Europe. While English players pay 50% tax Spain's players only pay 27% top tax rate even though Spain takes out about 12 billion euros of the European union every year while the likes of Britain are loosing 4-6 billion pounds every year propping up the european union.

  • Comment number 70.

    There is an easy way around this. What if a company the benefactor owns or controls is charged ten million quid for their executive box for the season? Has anybody asked how much Platini or any of the other UEFA and FIFA cronies earn? Remember, it was moronic European law that started massive wage inflation by banning nationality quotas and also the Bosman ruling. The only way to fix this is wage caps related to turnover or revenue from attendances. If a wealthy owner wants to finance transfers, or ground improvements, then they should be able to. They should not be able to underwrite the running of a club at massive losses, or run up loans on the the club's cashflow to fund the acquisition.

  • Comment number 71.

    Football clubs are businesses. Businesses thrive on entrepreneurialism and competition, finding ways to succeed by doing things better than their opposition; including raising money for expenditure which they feel improves their business. EUFA seeks to "Introduce more discipline and rationality in club football finances." As for discipline, Portsmouth shows that the market will sort out indisciplined businesses; and it is rational for a business to pursue what it believes is its best strategy, just as Chelsea, Man U and Arsenal do now.

    The EPL is the biggest sporting draw in the world, it has great global popularity in competition with a vast array of alternative entertainments and activities. Bureaucrats don't understand businesses and can't run them. I suggest that EUFA and FIFA should take a minimalist approach and allow professional businesses to do as they see best.

  • Comment number 72.

    I think it's just a ploy by Uefa to try and gain more power over the European game (and hence it's purse-strings).
    Uefa know that if they press the big European clubs too hard then they will once again threaten to set up a European competition of their own.

    If that happens then Platini will be forced to take a pay cut, possibly a 100% pay cut. So they are moving cautiously to see what they can get away with under the guise of "the greater good" and while there is public outcry about financial mismanagement.

    If the unity of these clubs starts to crumble in the next three years then Uefa might feel strong enough to bully and threaten clubs individually.

    But that approach probably won't work either. Does anyone believe that the Glazers would not take Uefa to the European courts if Man Utd's revenue stream was being willfully threatened by an organisation that has very little real legitimacy?

    Remember that last spat with Chelsea about what they could or could not force upon Chelsea? I thin it was settled pretty quickly in Chelsea's favour and a fig-leaf for the losers.

    It's an interesting thought-experiment to ask the questions: "What would happen if the Heyshel Stadium events occured today? If Premiership teams were banned solely on the basis of being "English" (even if their manager, players, and owners were not) what would be the reaction of their lawyers?

  • Comment number 73.

    What a JOKE!!!!!!!!!!

    So the mancs and scousers get to get bigger because they have huge support and small teams can never compete again.

    How about a MLS style system where everybody has the same amount to spend, that is fair and would not stop the small clubs from being kept small.
    Chelsea wouldnt be where they are today of they couldnt spend over there means.

    If the debt is written off by the owner then it should be ok, UEFA should keep there noses out of private business. That is what it is after all, private.

  • Comment number 74.

    Why can't people understand that this has nothing to do with indebtedness. If it were, then clubs would be being punished for having debts on their asset sheets. No, this is about financial fair play, which is why it's called THE FINANCIAL FAIR PLAY rules. It is seeking to punish clubs who use external capital to fund club development. It uses the measure of repeated revenue losses to determine who they are.

    The top clubs in the country (CFC, MUFC, AFC) have revenues of well over £200m per annum. Most of the next group are at about £100m. So, what this rule is saying is that a club like Man City will only be able to spend half as much money on players and wages as a club like Man Utd. So, how is a club to compete with the top four, if they are not allowed to invest?

    -------------------------
    #49 "Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea Liverpool AC Milan (the former G14 CLUBS)"
    No. Chelsea refused to join G14 when invited. The organisation was not perceived to be in CFC's interest. Instead, we were a founder member of the UEFA club forum which represents the views of all clubs across Europe.

    #44 I did not say this would cause a super league to be created, I said that there was a perception at the time that that might happen. The perception was incorrect for the reasons you say.

  • Comment number 75.

    I wonder what Platini will do if the Chelsea owner ordered 10 million club shirts through his various companies for the next 3 seasons....

  • Comment number 76.

    The simple answer to all the profligacy is a straight forward salary cap. Just as exists in Rugby and in many American sports.

    Implemented by UEFA on a European wide scale there would an absolute limit that a club could spend on the salary of it's club, hence bringing a halt to the spiralling wage demands of players. Clubs unable to turnover enough to fulfil the salary cap have a choice. Live within their means, knowing that the gap between them and the elite clubs is no longer going to expand exponentially and that long term investment and development is the safest way to close the gap. Or, continue to spend millions more than they bring in and eventually go bust.

    I think it's time to stop allowing clubs to shirk responsibilities. The FA and UEFA should not be responsible for policing every clubs finances, if clubs can't take the responsibility of running a sensible business based around a sound business plan, then they don't deserve to exist.

    Quite frankly I'm fed up of seeing millions of pounds thrown the way of footballers and their demands become ever more ridiculous so it's about time we realised that that is where the problem lies.

  • Comment number 77.

    As GF says, the devil is in the detail so as another poster has said is your normal fan much the wiser? Will clubs be penalised for coming from a country where more transparent accounts are required? UEFA says clubs will be 'monitored'. That sounds like supervision and punishment will be vague and discretionary rather than etched in stone.

    Another poster said transfers fees might come down, and that is possible, but you can also see clubs pushing fees up to cut their losses, and rival clubs messing around because they know a club might get expelled from European competition. There's a lot of smoke.

  • Comment number 78.

    Despite the obvious criticisms of the fact that there could be loopholes and that it's going to "punish" smaller clubs in European leagues, I think that this could actually be a very positive step. I would imagine that UEFA have done this with a view to eventually introducing a Bundesliga-style regulations system, which would then be just about foolproof. Or, at least, I would definitely like this to happen, because seeing clubs going into administration is just awful. If this were to be the case with all other continental governing bodies, I would like to think that this would be good for the game as a whole.

    I think one of the better things about it is that it encourages a heavier reliance on the use of youth players. Using the home-grown player rule is actually a much better thing, because talent can then be spotted earlier and nurtured better so that there can be a greater strength in depth when it comes to European football. Of course, I understand that the home-grown rule is not exclusively for English or, indeed, British players, but when it comes round to it, the more English clubs that have top academies, the more likely teams are to include their well-nurtured English players in their first XIs, especially due to the budgetary regulations that will be put in place, which will lead to less transfers and a stronger National Pool for Capello and his associates to choose from when it comes round to England selections.

    It could also potentially change the face of the game, in terms of how transfers work. Of course, player movement is still going to occur, but I would imagine that there aren't going to be Cristiano Ronaldo/Kaka/Ibra-style transfers happening once the regulations finally come into force. Instead, I think there will be a lot more emphasis on clubs taking advantage of the Bosman ruling, and players leaving clubs when out of contract, due to the fact that this is seen as a ploy to get a "free transfer". As well as this, there could also be a lot more deals which include player exchanges in lieu of increased monetary spending. So, while some say it could decrease competition, it might actually level out the playing field, due to a slightly fairer transfer system.

    Also, just to point it out, whoever says that what Man City and Chelsea are doing isn't taking money from sugar daddies in order to increase their chances of success is very wrong. Yes, these cash injections might be seen as "gifts" to some, but the simple fact of the matter is that, if these clubs were not receiving said "gifts", they would not be where they are now. Man City would still be a mid-table-possibly-verging-on-relegation club and Chelsea would be competing with Villa and Everton for Europa League spots if they weren't financed by their respective backers. Don't delude yourselves into thinking otherwise. I would imagine that if Sheikh Mansour and Abramovich manage to find a loophole in the system which would mean that they could still inject their billions into the club outside of the regulations, UEFA would alter the regulations in order to account for it so that the rules will not be bent/broken again.

    As for the idea of a breakaway Super League, don't be daft. If clubs try and work outside of UEFA, then they would be working outside of FIFA, which is the governing body for ALL football, and therefore, the clubs that do will be in footballing exile, their players excluded from all competitions including international tournaments. It would essentially be committing sporting suicide, and therefore, there would be no point in doing this for the sake of clubs getting more money than they actually know what to do with.

  • Comment number 79.

    #65 and #70 hit the nail squarely on the head.

    The main problem for most of the clubs is the amount they are spending on player wages as a percentage of turnover.

    So you either fix the percentage e.g. 50% (which favours the clubs with the bigger turnover), or you introduce a salary cap at say £30 million a year.

    Or you do both. e.g a club can spend up to 50% of their turnover on wages, with a maximum of £30 million per club.

    Using Chelsea as an example, because they're my club, does anyone seriously think that the likes of Lampard and Terry really need or deserve £150K a WEEK. If that was dropped to £40K that would still be more than most people make in a YEAR .. and just for kicking a bit of pig skin around a field ...

    £40K is still £2m a year. A cap at £30M would allow a squad of say 24 with 6 "stars" being paid £2m and the remaining 18 squad members on £1m each.

  • Comment number 80.

    This measure is designed to stop Manchester City or any other upstart muscling in on the gravy train, the idea that a club with a wealthy owner poses the same risk of failure as Portsmouth is purely a convenient and probably unnecessary excuse.
    And what of Portsmouth's financial woes, is it such a big deal, when Leeds went bump a mere 3 years after reaching the CL semi no one in UEFA gave a monkeys.

    UEFA have created a cartel, they have relegated the UEFA Cup to a Cinderella competition. But think about it, why is there scant interest in the UEFA Cup? In a word money, because UEFA give a disproportionate amount to the CL, that encourages clubs to field their best sides, that increases the interest, sponsors etc. If UEFA did say a 60/40 or even 70/30 money split between CL/EL then that would encourage clubs to field full strength teams in the EL, it would fill stadiums, it would generate TV revenue etc, so UEFA have created this unfair self perpetuating system.

    As for looking to cap new investment when the world is in economic dire striates defies belief.

    As a Man City fan in a way we only have ourselves to blame, the pursuit of Kaka put us firmly on Platini's radar, paying over the odds for Lescott or Toure isn’t a big issue, but that statement of intent when bidding for Kaka had the greed league up in arms.
    We should have built or squad slowly, even the Robinho deal didn’t make that many waves, because the sum £32m wasn’t extraordinary whereas a £100m bid for Kaka.was.

    Having said all that when push comes to shove we have a few years to get in the CL, get our revenue up and then take it from there.

    Chelsea can now spend money like its going out of fashion, write off the outlay and then sit back and enjoy, their revenues outstrip their wages so its not going to be an issue for them.

  • Comment number 81.

    Football clubs have been going out of business since it began. we seem to have got to a point in time where no-one is allowed to fail. If it is left ti Platini no-one will be allowed to try, which is much much worse. The financial differences have been caused mainly by the massive amount of cash on offer for the champions league. If Platini wants to re-invigorate sport and competition have no prize money and charge no TV companies for showing the games. Did he mind taking the 'Agnelli' Lira whilst at Juventus? Not at all. This was when FIAT were losing money hand over fist but pouring cash into Juventus. His holier that thou attitude stinks the place out. Where the real difference might be noticed (and all you 'smaller clubs' need to be afraid of this one) is in future domestic TV deals. At the minute it is a joint deal with extra for appearances. If 'income' becomes king then why would Man Utd not start to negotiate their own TV deal, like Barcelona and Madrid do now? Once that happens several clubs for whom there is no tv appeal might as well tirn out the lights!

  • Comment number 82.

    This is an excellent ruling as finances in football are getting out of hand. Why should a club like Liverpool or Man Utd be allowed to run up huge debts to ensure they maintain at the top of the tree ensuring other clubs need to do the same to even compete. This also means that clubs without a huge cash injection outside their means will not be at a disadvantage to the likes of Man City or Chelsea and essentially make a fairer league and competitive nature.

    Having said that, it sounds an awful lot like reducing the european dominance of English clubs to me rather than ensuring the competitive edge to our local league or protecting the clubs within it. Why haven't Real Madrid been spoken about after their supposed bail out from the governement over huge debts in the past? Didn't they have £200m worth of debt wiped clean by selling their training ground to the local council only to have it leased back to them for free for 100 years? How is this any different to the likes of Man Utd running up huge debts that they can afford the repayments of or Chelsea and man City spending money they do not need to account for?

    Let's hope things do get sorted for the long term future of the game but it needs to be fair across the board.

  • Comment number 83.

    Can someone explain to me how this is going to help the clubs in trouble? Take Portsmouth. It would make no difference because Portsmouth did not need to have a UEFA licence so they will not have to conform. This only affects clubs entering UEFA competitions.

    Of the relevant clubs, it won't make any difference to MUFC, AFC and CFC because they generate enough revenue to simply cut their cloth to fit. They will fall behind Real and Barce, because the latter have exclusive TV deals and so do not share revenue with the rest of the clubs in La Liga. That means they can spend nearly three times as much as the likes of Man City.

    The clubs this will disadvantage are LFC, Spurs, Villa, Everton and Man City or any other club that gets just on the edge of CL group stages. These are clubs that make less revenue (after interest) and so will have less to spend. All those Newcastle supporters who have dreams of establishing themselves in the CL might as well give up under these rules.

    So the outcome is a league where the top two clubs in La Liga will hoover up the bulk of CL revenues, the top clubs in the other leagues who will mop up the rest and a host of second tier clubs across Europe who are permanently consigned to the Europa League at best.

    As a CFC supporter, that should suit me. But it doesn't, because I want the game to be more competitive because otherwise its a bit of a bore. This will make it less so.

  • Comment number 84.

    As a non-British football fan, I think all must understand that the PL outside the UK is only interesting because of the big 4 (or now probably 5 or 6). So if you are a fan of a smaller club in the PL you may want to get the PL financial regulations sorted to have a more even playing field. If you support a small team your expectations have to be at that level. Do not forget there are fans in other countries who are unhappy with the changes in the European competitions because they (we) think it only helped the rich (English) teams and not the smaller ones.

    The UEFA acts as a European governing body, so I am happy they do not only care about the PL teams.

  • Comment number 85.

    Rather than bother about arcane accounting rules , UEFA should turn itself to the problem of drugs which have completley undermined its crdibility. Russia used drugs to cheat their way into the finalsof the 2004 UEfA cup and UEFA did precisley nothing. they should havechucked Russia out orf the competition. Also they do nothing about the corruption in Italian football and the bribing of refs when Nottinghma Forrset was in Europe inder Clough.

  • Comment number 86.

    A lot of the suggestions people are making re putting money into a club by the back door can be easily spotted by forensic accountants, but there will be a sneaky way of doing it none-the-less. The main thing that needs to be done is to stop people spending money they haven't got a la Portsmouth. If you stop people using football assets, such as the stadium, as security, they will be far more careful how they spend it and could only spend money once they have put it into the club. Who would accept an IOU knowing there is a good chance it won't be paid. What is more annoying is Platini saying that he is uncomfortable with liberalism. It is not his call to run 15 economies, that is the EU's, so how can we have laws for football which forbid economic systems that a current president doesn't like. Forget the UK, how is that fair to Eastern Europe where they haven't completely settled on an economic model? Countries, companies and football clubs need the option of borrowing or investment there to build big clubs that can compete on the European stage, rather than growing slowly compared to the rest of Europe

  • Comment number 87.

    More jobs for the bureacratic boys in UEFA to monitor it all, is all I am getting out of this.

    Why do UEFA think that they should have a remit that includes deciding whether a club is profitable? Stick to running the competition end of the game and get your nose out of the business side of it, Platini.

  • Comment number 88.

    This is an unfair ruling and is probably against sme european law.

    unfair - Why?

    Because other countries have different tax rulings which would give those clubs an advantage.

    Clubs with rich owners who bail them out every year would just book an out of season tour, which would 'create revenue' for that club and as such, balance the books.

    Players wages would be renegotiated to a much smaller value, but there would be massive bonuses or perks or presents which would fall outside the clubs revenue (maybe a money present directly from the owner at the equivelent of £100k per week for a year, instead of a wage)

    There are loads of ways around this, so it is a waste of time

  • Comment number 89.

    This is the definitive end of FALSE "english football dominance" of the last years. The best TV trailer about this problem was the Champion Leauge final in Madrid between Inter (Italy) vs Bayern (Germany), and NO English teams in the semifinals!!! Why? Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal have cutted the investments because high debts. They spending above their means, a suicidal tendency. Already proven 4-8 years ago by Italian clubs, the sale of irrational figures (Kaka & Ibrahimovic), expensive but not more effective for the teams and the budget of the clubs is just the final example. Bye bye Liverpool-Chelsea-Manchester United-Arsenal-Real Madrid your artificial world don't exits more!!! The football is always BALANCE in the field (offense and defense), and in life (spending and revenues). That's why Italy and Germany have for years been the leading nations, the 4 + 3 World Cup are not an accident. England will return to Real World?

  • Comment number 90.

    Like a few of the other posters I'm a cynic. Why is this happening only when the spending clout of G(reed)14 has been challenged? It's not going to be retrospective so this CL pillaging hegemony is going to keep the rewards from a climate Platini now says is wrong and into the bargain be able to use those rewards to make it even more difficult for anyone else to get their hands on any.

    The former Juventus player's talk of fair play would be more credible if everyone started off from a level playing field, CL money was distributed less selfishly, and he had been more outspoken about his former club's corruption and FIFA's retrospective moving of the goal posts to increase the likelihood of bigger nations winning WC playoffs at the expense of smaller nations. Don't believe for a second this has anything to do with helping the Portsmouths of this world. This is UEFA's Patriot Act.

  • Comment number 91.

    I am loving all the Chelsea and Man City fans coming out here exclaiming how unfair this is and how they will be able to find ways round it.

    Financial doping is cheating, whether you like it or not. A poster was saying the Sheik is 'investing' in Man City and that should be allowed. It is not an investment as he will never see a return on it, just like Abramovich at Chelsea, he will never see the £726 million he has put into the club. Both clubs are run at a loss EVERY year in order to try and bring on-field success, it is complete madness and the football is teetering on the brink of ludicrous. Abramovich bought Chelsea those PL titles, and if Man City were to hypothetically win the PL in the next few years then the game would be brought into complete disrepute.

    There is no point in saying Man City and Chelsea's situation is different to Portsmouth, I'm amazed how much faith these fans have that the owners will always back the club and never see it go to the wall. Man City and Chelsea are held to ransom by the owners and without them subsiding the losses every year they wouldn't just go into administration, they would be undoubtedly liquidated.

    Liverpool's and Man United's debt are a result of leveraged buy-outs and nothing to do with transfer and wage expenditure. For some of those posters before me that cannot see the difference between the two situations are clearly following the wrong sport.

    What next? Bill Gates buys Bolton, spending £500 million players and then subsequently they win the PL? Would Man City and Chelsea fans have a problem with then?

  • Comment number 92.

    As a Man City fan in a way we only have ourselves to blame, the pursuit of Kaka put us firmly on Platini's radar, paying over the odds for Lescott or Toure isn’t a big issue, but that statement of intent when bidding for Kaka had the greed league up in arms.
    We should have built or squad slowly, even the Robinho deal didn’t make that many waves, because the sum £32m wasn’t extraordinary whereas a £100m bid for Kaka.was.

    Having said all that when push comes to shove we have a few years to get in the CL, get our revenue up and then take it from there.

    Chelsea can now spend money like its going out of fashion, write off the outlay and then sit back and enjoy, their revenues outstrip their wages so its not going to be an issue for them.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Chelsea would be in just as much trouble as Man City mate. They lose $73 million last season and still didn't win anything, but lo and behold, Abramovich wrote it off and Chelsea just carried on next season business as usual. The PL was brought into disrepute when Abramovich bought Chelsea but the ludicrous situation multiplied tenfold when Sheikh Mansour bought Man City and took the scatter-gun approach to football transfers.

    You are right about the Kaka deal though, I think that epitomised the situation football is in today. You have 7 times European Cup winners AC Milan, a legendary club which is a crucial part of the fabric of European football nearly being bought off with an offer they can't refuse by a Sheikh who just happened to have bought Man City.

    How can a club valued at only £157 million make a £100 million bid for a player? It is beyond madness.

    If that deal had gone through football would have died that day.

  • Comment number 93.

    The idea that ManU's business deals are earned income and Man City's investment is unearned and therefore unfair is a pile of horse manure.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You fool. That is the whole crux of the entire issue.

    Man United, Barca, AC Milan, Real Madrid. etc have large revenue streams that took decades of on-field success, trophy wins, stadium reconstruction and global marketing to produce.

    Yes, these clubs did EARN that money and they have every right to spend a proportion of that annually on transfers and wages.

    What is ludicrous is Chelsea, and particularly Man City, both clubs who have far smaller revenue streams and are run at losses every year, spending £100s of millions on transfer spending and wages. Only to have this debt 'written off' at the end of every year.

    Except of course, it isn't really written off, as some deluded fans think City and Chelsea are debt free. In the case of Chelsea, Abramovich thought converting his loan into shares from Chelsea Limited (holding company) to Chelsea FC would make it appear like the debt is cleared. However, of course, Chelsea Limited still owe £726 million to Abramovich personally and he will never see that money returned.

    It would take decades and decades of treble wins and global marketing to even see a fraction of that returned. Chelsea have made losses for 10 years yet somehow they continue to buy players and compete for trophies, in essence, why is this even allowed at present? Chelsea's losses last year were $73 million, which comically were their lowest since Abramovich took over. That really tells you all you need to know.

    Although what is funny is Man City 'fans' who claim to be so loyal and passionate for the club being perfectly happy with their club being used solely as a marketing tool for Abu Dhabi. You are at the Sheikh's mercy as your transfer spending since he arrived already eclipses Man City's actual value.

    Incidentally, last year, Man City spent 97% of their total revenue (not profit, they didn't make any) on wages alone, please tell me, is that fair and right? Or is that just stark raving mad?

  • Comment number 94.

    Cynical Joe, take off those red blinkers and delve into some football history, e.g. Franco, the banks and RM, Berlusconi and AC Milan, G14, etc.

    And City shirt sponsorship is every bit as earnt as United shirt sponsorship.

  • Comment number 95.

    94. At 3:47pm on 28 May 2010, JapRobin wrote:
    Cynical Joe, take off those red blinkers and delve into some football history, e.g. Franco, the banks and RM, Berlusconi and AC Milan, G14, etc.

    And City shirt sponsorship is every bit as earnt as United shirt sponsorship.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Of course Franco's connection with Real was suspect, but what can you do about it now? Real's finances are as crooked as they come, whether it be selling their training ground to Madrid Council for £278m and then getting it leesed back for a pittance! Or even how Perez through his own companies and contacts manages to get Real favourable loans in order to further bankroll transfer spending.

    Juventus's success were funded by the FIAT group for years, but again, what can you do about it now?

    Berlusconi certainly bankrolled AC Milan in the 1990s but not any more, he is as tight as they come with the club at the moment and refuses to invest much further.

    Despite these previous occurrences with other clubs the situation at Chelsea and Man City has taken things to an entirely new level. And of course City's shirt sponsorship is earned, but it is a fraction of what many other clubs receive and can not cover even a small amount of transfer spending and wages.

    However, this makes my point about Man United even more legitimate. Man United are arguably only one of a few of the big clubs of Europe that are entirely self-made and self-sufficient as well as having been impeccably run before the leveraged Glazer buy-out.

  • Comment number 96.

    The usual suspect has been let out!

    Sheikh Mansour total investment to date i.e. buying the club and players, £500m.

    Club current theoretical value £250m.
    Club current income per year approx £100m.

    So lets say City invest another £100m in players, get CL or even challenge for the PL title, income would be up by say 50-100%, then increase the size of the stadium to 60,000 as currently being investigated (that’s allowed you know!) the glory hunters dont stop at OT, the coach turns right at the Northerndern junction instead of left and arrives at COMS instead of OT.

    Like it or not City were a relative bargain and there is a very good chance the Sheikh will get all his money back and more.

    Oh and what if the Sheikh walks away? we still support our club because you may have noticed over the past 30 years, that’s what we do.

  • Comment number 97.

    96. At 4:43pm on 28 May 2010, bluedefence wrote:
    The usual suspect has been let out!

    Sheikh Mansour total investment to date i.e. buying the club and players, £500m.

    Club current theoretical value £250m.
    Club current income per year approx £100m.

    So lets say City invest another £100m in players, get CL or even challenge for the PL title, income would be up by say 50-100%, then increase the size of the stadium to 60,000 as currently being investigated (that’s allowed you know!) the glory hunters dont stop at OT, the coach turns right at the Northerndern junction instead of left and arrives at COMS instead of OT.

    Like it or not City were a relative bargain and there is a very good chance the Sheikh will get all his money back and more.

    Oh and what if the Sheikh walks away? we still support our club because you may have noticed over the past 30 years, that’s what we do.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    The numbers you have just produced are pure fantasy.

    Man City are currently valued at £157 million. Reuters revealed that Man City lost £92.6 million in the year up to May 31 2009, yet achieved a shocking 10th place in the PL, achieving nothing. God knows what it will be in the year up to May 31 2010, considering the £200 million you spent in the summer? The mind boggles.

    As for Man City income, you don't have any income or profit! Your total revenue last year was £87 million but you spent 97% of that on wages alone! That's not even counting transfer spending or all the other costs of running the club.

    As for stadium expansion, you don't even own the stadium you lease it from Manchester City Council! So how do you know you will be able to expand it? Even you did hypothetically increase it by 15,000 to 60,000 how much difference is that actually going to make?

    You just proved my point, Sheikh Mansour has 'invested' circa £500 million into the club yet the club itself is only valued at £157 million, can you not see the madness in it? The Sheikh will never get his return back from Man City, the only way he might start to see a return is if Man City as a marketing tool for Abu Dhabi actually works in the long-term over many many years.

    But if the marketing strategy for Abu Dhabi looks likes it is not working and he ditches the 'project'. Where does that leave Man City then? Liquidation? Obviously you and other City fans don't care about the long-term stability of the club because you are so desperate for on-field success, at any cost.

  • Comment number 98.

    You dont seem to understand, City have lost nothing nothing, zero, zilch.

    You owe £721,000,000 we owe £0.

    You talk of liquidation, excuse me, why would that happen, how could that happen, I think you are trying to delude yourself.

    Pinning all your hopes for City's demise on UEFA is desperation stuff, your figures are wrong as well.

    You are following the Leeds model, using borrowed money to shore up your club, its a huge gamble, fall out of the CL which is likely when Fergie retires and your in big trouble, you know that, I know that, 100,000 Green and Gold merchants know that.

    One final thing, the council part own COMS, we paid £40m to convert into a football stadium so won a percentage, not bad value and of course your original Utd Rd stand and the latest offering where government funded, the first for the WC66 the 2nd part lottery funded after the Taylor enquiry, maybe now you are a cash machine for Americans and have such a high handed approach to public funding you should give me and other tax payers our money back with interest.

  • Comment number 99.

    98. At 5:14pm on 28 May 2010, bluedefence wrote:
    You dont seem to understand, City have lost nothing nothing, zero, zilch.

    You owe £721,000,000 we owe £0.

    You talk of liquidation, excuse me, why would that happen, how could that happen, I think you are trying to delude yourself.

    Pinning all your hopes for City's demise on UEFA is desperation stuff, your figures are wrong as well.

    You are following the Leeds model, using borrowed money to shore up your club, its a huge gamble, fall out of the CL which is likely when Fergie retires and your in big trouble, you know that, I know that, 100,000 Green and Gold merchants know that.


    -------------------------------------------------------

    My figures are wrong? Except mine all come from Reuters and FORBES whereas yours come from your head? I think I know which one is more reliable. Your figures were laughable, did you get them from Garry Cook himself? You said City are worth £250 million, try again it's £157 million. You said City's income was £100 million, as I have said last year Man City made a LOSS OF £92.6 MILLION. That is actually quite staggering.

    Even if you got into CL, which you won't because you will banned along with Chelsea, it doesn't bring that much more money. It's not just how far you get it is how big you are, the season before last Man United took more TV revenue than Barca in the CL despite the fact that we lost the final.

    You say Man City owe nothing, zilch. You clearly know that isn't the case, just because it isn't represented on the balance sheet it doesn't mean it isn't there. The total sum that Sheikh Mansour has invested in Man City i.e. circa £500 million is what you ultimately owe to him, one way or another. Same with Chelsea, not that I am suggesting Abramovich will ask for the money back, but Chelsea ultimately owe him £726 million. The only difference being there are two holding firms between CFC and Abramovich in order to mask the debt.

    Man United and Leeds are incomparable, if you think they are even remotely similar you must be a cretin. Leeds used loans to buy big players and pay big wages, they gambled on the fact future success might be able to pay it back, except of course that success never really materialised. United are in debt because of a leveraged buy-out, if hypothetically Glazer defaulted on loans then there would be a queue from OT to Picadilly to buy Man United, more Sheikhs than you can shake a fist at.

    Leeds thought someone might bail them out because they considered themselves a bigger club than they actually were, by European standards they were small, with a small stadium, few saleable assets and a tiny fanbase outside England and therefore no one was interested in taking them over. Thus they went to the wall, it's not hard.

    People often say 'Leeds thought they were too big to go down' in reply to United fans. The two clubs were/are not even in the same universe.

    Why would liquidation for Man City be so improbable in your eyes? The club itself has a pitiful value, just £157 million, you spent more on players last summer than that alone. Besides, you make no profit whatsoever, and probably never will over the next 10 years. Your wage bill is almost equal to your turnover. Do you know any other business sector where someone would invest a greater amount of money into a firm than the actual value of the firm itself?

  • Comment number 100.

    I got bored after your first sentence and decided not to read the rest, you are sad and boring.

    Goodbye.

 

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