The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Man City, PSG fined 60 million euros by UEFA over financial fair play regulations

  • Print

NYON, Switzerland - Big-spending clubs Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were fined 60 million euros ($82 million) by UEFA on Friday and ordered to limit their Champions League squads to 21 players next season for breaching the body's financial fair play rules.

In the first series of sanctions handed down by UEFA over its new regulations meant to curb over-spending by wealthy owners, nine clubs in all were handed punishments — but those given to the Premier League winner and the French champion were by far the heaviest.

City said it will accept the sanctions and will not appeal, but insisted that the club has a "fundamental disagreement" with UEFA about its "interpretations of the FFP regulations on players purchased before 2010."

PSG also accepted the punishment "in spite of the tremendous handicap they represent in terms of the club's ability to fully compete on an equal footing against Europe's biggest teams."

PSG also said in a statement that it "deplores the fact" that UEFA hasn't recognized "the full value" of its partnership with the Qatar Tourism Authority, which the governing body said was inflated.

The fines given to City and PSG are the heaviest ever handed by out UEFA. However, UEFA said 40 million euros will be returned to the clubs if they fulfil their financial obligations over the next two years.

Those obligations include limiting the deficits to 10 million euros in the financial year ending in 2015 for City, with PSG allowed a deficit of 30 million euros for that period before being obligated to break even by 2016.

City said it expects to break even by the end of 2014.

UEFA said both clubs have agreed to "significantly limit" their spending in the transfer market over the next two years. However, City said it is allowed to spend 60 million euros, plus whatever it earns for selling players, in this summer's transfer window. It said the UEFA sanction "will have no material impact on the club's planned transfer activity."

The reduced Champions League squads may not have much of an impact either. Teams are ordinarily allowed 25-man squads for the competition, but few end up using that many. City and PSG both used 21 players on the field this past season — not counting unused substitutes.

"Our ambition to build one of the best and most competitive European Football clubs will not be undermined by these measures," said PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. "We will continue to invest in developing a highly competitive team and will continue our investments in our stadium and training infrastructures while at the same time remaining, as we are today "debt free."

The FFP rules require clubs who play in the Champions League and Europa League to balance their finances, and are meant to curb huge investments by owners and excessive spending on transfers.

The sanctions were handed down five years after UEFA President Michel Platini launched the program to tackle "cheating" by overspending. No club was expelled from next season's Champions League or Europa League, which had been billed as the harshest punishment available.

The other clubs to have failed FFP were Galatasaray, Trabzonspor and Bursaspor from Turkey, Russian sides Zenit St Petersburg, Anzhi Makhachkala and Rubin Kazan, as well as Levski Sofia from Bulgaria.

Those were handed fines ranging from 200,000 euros — for Galatasaray, Trabzonspor, Levski and Bursaspor — to 12 million euros for Zenit.

UEFA was expected to rule against Man City and PSG, which far exceeded a limit of 45 million-euro losses over the first two seasons of very complex accounting rules for FFP assessment. Both clubs tried to balance their finances with inflated sponsorship deals linked to their owners in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, respectively.

City was also scrutinized for booking tens of millions in revenue from selling image rights and consultancy fees to third parties.

Critics of FFP say it was effectively manipulated during UEFA's lengthy consultation with clubs who saw an opportunity to lock out emerging rivals whose new, wealthy owners wanted to spend quickly to join the elite.

Clubs such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Real Madrid, which have lucrative commercial deals worldwide, will all likely benefit from City and PSG now having to rein in their transfer strategy.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.