UEFA to look out for loopholes in financial rules
The European soccer association pledged Wednesday to keep a
close eye on clubs losing money to make sure they don’t find
loopholes in new financial rules.
In a bid to end an era of so-called ”financial doping” by
teams with wealthy owners, clubs that want to play in the Champions
League or Europa League are required to stop spending more than
they earn starting next season.
Clubs persistently losing money can be barred from the 2014-15
season under UEFA president Michel Platini’s flagship ”financial
fair play” regulations.
UEFA’s head of club licensing Andrea Traverso told The
Associated Press on Wednesday that the organization is looking for
”clubs putting in place specific structures that allow them to
easily go around some of the principles that we didn’t think
The UEFA regulations limit the ability of owners to subsidize
losses incurred by paying high transfer fees and salaries, making
them only spend what they earn from soccer-related income if they
want to play in European competitions.
But owners will be allowed to cover losses of up to a maximum of
$63 million over an initial three-year spell, starting in 2012. In
the three years from 2015, just $42 million in losses can be
”We will monitor how the clubs react and if necessary, if we
notice there are measures that need to be taken to address
particular problems then we will address those to the executive
committee for consideration and then eventually (make) some
modifications,” Traverso said on the sideline of the SoccerEx
conference. ”It’s very difficult to anticipate all possible
scenarios. There might be scenarios that we didn’t think of, so if
this would be the case we could amend the rules to catch up with
these situations that we hadn’t been identified before.”
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre warned at SoccerEx that the
regulations would be ”killed” if they are not applied equally
across Europe. National associations issue clubs with a license to
play in Europe, but UEFA has the final approval.
”These rules should be rules and should be hard and fast,”
Ayre said. ”What will kill the initiative or certainly stifle it
is people easing themselves into it rather than the rules applying
and everyone operating within them. The rules should be clearly
defined, you cannot have a half-rule process.”
The spending limits encouraged the Boston Red Sox ownership
group headed by John Henry to buy Liverpool in October. Henry and
Tom Werner bought the team for $476 million through their New
England Sports Ventures.
”We see it as a positive step but the reservations around it
are the proof of the pudding being in the application, how it will
be applied – will people be given grace periods, will the sanctions
be applied?” Ayre said. ”If it is not managed well and delivered
well, we would all question the outcome of it.”
UEFA will allow progressively smaller losses from 2015 before
the break-even rule is mandatory.
Traverso said UEFA will not pander to top clubs like Manchester
City that might not meet the requirements. The Abu Dhabi-owned club
lost $191 million in the 12 months up to May 31, 2010, having spent
more on wages alone than it earned.
”They might have a strategy to maximize their revenues in the
next couple of years … to balance their books,” Traverso
”Rather than saying we will amend the rules because too many
clubs will fail and therefore we will lower down the rules, this is
absolutely not the case, if anything they will be made stricter,”
Traverso said. ”No rule is perfect and there is a constant
evolution of the rules. I would be surprised if four years from now
the rules will be the same as they are now. Probably some fine
tuning will be necessary.”