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Page last updated at 13:39 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 14:39 UK

Uefa approves new spending plans

Uefa president Michel Platini
Platini is concerned with the finances of European clubs

Plans to force clubs to balance their books has been approved at a Uefa executive committee meeting.

The proposals will prevent clubs from spending more than they make from their revenues and aim to curb billionaire owners investing huge amounts of money.

The new rules will be in place from the 2012/13 season and clubs could be thrown out of European competition if they do not abide by the regulations.

"We don't want to kill or hurt the clubs," said Uefa boss Michel Platini.

"On the contrary, we want to help them in the market.

"The teams who play in our tournaments have unanimously agreed to our principles.

"Living within your means is the basis of accounting but it hasn't been the basis of football for years now.

"The owners are asking for rules because they can't mplement them themselves, many of them have had it with shovelling money into clubs and the more money you put into clubs, the harder it is to sell at a profit.

"I think a lot of owners would like to sell at the moment but can't because of the line of business they are in.


"Fifty per cent of clubs are losing money and this is an increasing trend. We needed to stop this downward spiral. They have spent more than they have earned in the past and haven't paid their debts."

The Uefa president added that clubs would be given incentives to invest in youth development and facilities, including stadiums.

"The only people who want fewer rules are the ones who line their pockets," he said.

The Club Financial Control Panel, which has been formed to oversee the introduction of the new rules, will be led by former Belgium prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene.

"The rule of financial fair play is aimed at ensuring the healthy, lasting viability of the clubs," he said.

Platini has been pressing for measures which would ensure clubs live within their means.

The plan had already been approved by the European Club Association, which represents Europe's clubs.

Uefa believes the spiralling inflation of transfer fees and players' wages cannot be sustained.

Some of Europe's major clubs are carrying debts counted in hundreds of millions, with Real Madrid estimated to be in the red by £500m at the end of the 2007/08 season.

If you depend only on a rich benefactor however, then the financial model is too volatile

Uefa president Michel Platini

Now, Uefa wants to limit clubs to spend only what they earn from football-related income such as ticket sales and television deals.

Platini, who says the measures are backed by owners including Chelsea's Roman Abramovich, added that an independent panel would be set up to judge whether clubs had broken the rules.

Uefa is also concerned with the influence of wealthy owners coming into the game.

The new measures would mean owners such as Manchester City's Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan would not be able to make huge gifts of cash to their clubs.

"If you buy a house, you have a debt but that doesn't mean someone is going to stop you from working," added Platini.

"If you depend only on a rich benefactor however, then the financial model is too volatile."

Uefa would also look at losses incurred by clubs' parent companies who have to service loans, said Platini.

England's Premier League brought in new financial rules this week, which includes the requirement of each club to provide annual accounts by 1 March every year to show that it does not have outstanding tax debts, or debts to other clubs.

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see also
Clubs agree to 'home-grown' quota
15 Sep 09 |  Premier League
Uefa warning over clubs' spending
28 Aug 09 |  Europe
Uefa to consider cap on spending
18 Feb 09 |  Football
Platini rejects EU regulator plan
27 Nov 08 |  Football
Man Utd parent company makes loss
09 Apr 09 |  Business
Football clubs must 'think long term'
20 Aug 09 |  Business
English club finances worry Uefa
04 Aug 09 |  Premier League
MPs raise fears over club debts
20 Apr 09 |  Football

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