Final 'wake-up call' to halt rising club debts


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European clubs are running out of time when it comes to financial fair play, Uefa said yesterday. The European governing body has threatened to impose player bans and points deductions from the 2014-15 season.

Uefa figures suggested that clubs lost more than €1.6bn (£1.33bn) in 2010 – the worst statistics on record. A survey of 665 clubs found that 56 per cent posted losses; 78 clubs spent more than 100 per cent of their income on wages.

The Uefa general secretary, Gianni Infantino (left), said: "This is the last wake-up call, this trend has to change very quickly to safeguard European football. We must end this negative spiral. These losses cannot continue."

Warning that it would not put up with permanent losses, Uefa said 31 clubs, including four this season, had been refused entry to its two main club competitions since financial licensing was introduced in 2004.

Ernesto Paolillo, the chief executive officer of Internazionale, said: "I can compare the situation of the football industry to exactly the situation of Italy, Spain and Greece's balance sheet."

Infantino said clubs that breach rules could be ordered to cut squads for European competitions, if they keep buying while incurring unacceptable losses. Uefa could also deduct points, impose fines and exclude clubs from European competition.