Fining wealthy clubs does make sense, says Uefa

Frank Dalleres
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EUROPEAN chiefs Uefa have defended financial fair play (FFP) rules that mean super-rich clubs such as Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are likely to be punished for infringements with fines.

Both teams are understood to be among nine clubs waiting for confirmation of their punishments, which are likely to incorporate, but not necessarily be limited to, fines of up to £50m.

Critics of FFP argue that financial penalties will not be an effective deterrent to clubs who have been able to exceed Uefa’s limit for losses precisely because they have very wealthy owners.

But Uefa secretary general Gianni Infantino yesterday insisted fines can be a useful sanction when used in combination with other measures, such as squad restrictions and even bans from competition. Uefa has nine punishments of varying ferocity at its disposal, and Premier League title-winners City are tipped to be hit with a cap on their Champions League squad as well as a fine.

“One of the strengths of club licensing and financial fair play regulations is exactly that it does not focus on one single sanction,” Infantino said.

“It foresees a list of 10 or 12 (sic) sanctions which could also be combined. There is no single answer to whether a fine is appropriate or not; it depends always on cases and the best is almost always some sort of combination.”

Infantino also denied that City’s apparent refusal to accept Uefa’s proposed settlement deal had held up the process of issuing punishments for FFP offenders.

City were thought to have had until Friday last week to accept or reject a sweetened set of sanctions, or risk being handed a tougher, non-negotiable penalty.

“In terms of deadlines, it’s still on track, so I’m not worried or anxious or concerned,” he said. “In legal proceedings, time has to be taken to analyse everything.”