Football: Nine Euro clubs face punishment over financial losses


LONDON (REUTERS) - Nine European soccer clubs face punishment under new rules designed to force teams to rein in their financial losses, UEFA said on Friday, without naming any of the offenders.

Media reports this week said big-spending Manchester City and Paris St Germain have been given the chance to settle breaches of the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules that will leave them free to play in next season's Champions League.

There had been speculation that details of those settlements would emerge as early as this week.

In a statement issued after a two-day meeting of its Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), UEFA said it had given a clean bill of health to 67 of the 76 clubs who had been asked earlier this year to supply additional information about their accounts.

The remaining nine clubs have exceeded the maximum permitted losses under the new regulatory system and sanctions are expected to be announced by the end of next week. "Further information shall be provided once this process has been completed," UEFA said.

UEFA has the power to ban teams from European competition if their losses exceed its limits but is expected to shy away from imposing that punishment at this stage.

The likely sanctions range from a reprimand, to a fine or a cap on squad size for next season's European competition.

Rival clubs could seek to challenge the verdicts if they think they have been unduly lenient.

Having spent heavily to compete with the best teams in Europe in recent seasons, Manchester City and PSG appear most at risk of falling foul of the rules.

City, in the running for their second Premier League title in three years, have been bankrolled by cash from Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour while PSG have been lavishly funded by their Qatari owners and now dominate French soccer.

Under FFP, the headline numbers limit club losses to 45 million euros (S$78.2 million) over the past two seasons, but there are various exemptions for spending on youth development, stadium infrastructure and older contracts.

The aim of the rules is to bring greater financial stability to European soccer.

However, critics of the system say it makes it harder for a new owner to come in and challenge the biggest clubs in European soccer.