Clubs rapped as Financial Fair play rules bite

EUROPEAN football’s regulatory chief has painted a bleak picture of clubs’ response to new Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules after 23 teams became the first to be punished under the scheme.

Atletico Madrid, who last month beat Chelsea to win the European Super Cup, and Sporting Lisbon were among those to have prize money withheld by governing body Uefa for having outstanding bills.

It is the first sign of Uefa acting on its president Michel Platini’s promise to usher in an era of greater financial prudence among clubs, who collectively make record losses despite record income.

“I am still very worried about the current situation,” Jean-Luc Dehaene, chief investigator of Uefa’s financial control body, told a meeting of the European Club Association, which represents 207 top sides.

“The Financial Fair Play regulations are known for more than two years, but I have the impression that some clubs still need to do their homework.”

Atletico, last season’s Europa League winners, and Sporting were joined by Qatari-owned Malaga and Turkey’s Fenerbahce on the list of teams found to have overdue payments to other clubs, employees or state bodies.

FFP rules will also require clubs to cap their losses at modest sums, reducing to virtually break-even, in coming seasons, with the first assessments, of the period 2011-2013, due to be carried out next term.

Yet the summer transfer window saw some sides, including Champions League winners Chelsea, Paris St Germain and Zenit St Petersburg continue to spend lavishly despite the threat of bans from European competition.

“ECA members unanimously endorsed the Financial Fair Play project back in 2010,” said ECA president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, also chief executive of Bayern Munich. “However, it seems that quite a few clubs have not understood the message. Time has come to take the new rules seriously. ECA will continue to support Financial Fair Play.”

Clubs that fail to meet FFP rules regarding levels of loss face suspension from the Champions League and Europa League.

CLUBS PUNISHED

■ FK Borac Banja Luka
■ FK Sarajevo
■ FK Zeljeznicar
■ CSKA Sofia
■ Hajduk Split
■ NK Osijek
■ Atletico Madrid
■ Malaga CF
■ Maccabi Netanya
■ Shkendija 79
■ Floriana FC
■ FK Buducnost Podgorica
■ Rudar Pjevlja
■ Ruch Chorzow
■ Sporting Lisbon
■ Dinamo Bucharest
■ Rapid Bucharest
■ FC Vaslui
■ Rubin Kazan
■ FK Partizan
■ FK Vojvodina
■ Eskisehirspor
■ Fenerbahce