Manchester City will avoid Champions League ban, even if they fail Uefa FFP regulations
Although Michel Platini has promised 'significant sanctions', he has also said no club will be excluded from next season's Champions League or the Europa League tournaments
sports news correspondent
Thursday 24 April 2014
Manchester City will not be excluded from next season’s Champions League should the club be found to have breached Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations. Widely held doubts over the ability of the likes of City and Paris Saint-Germain to comply with FFP will be answered next month but Michel Platini, Uefa’s president, disclosed that no club will be excluded from European competition.
However, he said big clubs will face “significant sanctions” for breaking FFP rules introduced at his behest to control club spending in an attempt to level the financial playing field. A total of 76 clubs were asked to submit additional financial information to Uefa in January and around 20, including City and PSG, are believed to have had their cases looked at this month by the European governing body’s Club Financial Control Board with those who will face action to be announced on 5 May.
Though Platini promised “significant sanctions”, there will be more carrot than stick from Uefa, and the ultimate sanction of exclusion from the Champions League or the Europa League will not be applied for next season.
“In effect, the first decisions will be announced at the start of May,” said Platini in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper. “But if you are expecting blood and tears, you will be disappointed. There will be some tough things but I think no exclusions from European competition.
“I think significant sanctions will hit the big clubs. We are going to take this to the end.”
The FFP rules state that teams cannot make losses of greater than €45m (£37m) during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, although some areas of spending are excluded, such as on infrastructure. City have lost £149m in the past two seasons and are at real risk of a sanction although the club have been working with Uefa to try to comply with the rules. Concerns have been raised over huge sponsorship deals signed by Abu Dhabi-owned City with Etihad, Abu Dhabi’s airline.
Platini also spoke of his doubts over PSG’s deal with the Qatari Tourism Authority. The QTA paid around €200m in 2012-13, half PSG’s budget for the season. PSG is owned by a subsidiary of the Qatari Investment Authority.
Platini admitted he was unsure if the “innovative” sponsorship deal was within FFP rules. He said: “I will say simply that PSG’s financial model is distinctive and atypical. But is it viable? These are questions for the experts.”
Any clubs found to have breached the rules have until the end of this month to accept the board’s decision or contest any sanction.
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