European football news

Platini to explain Financial Fair Play

January 16, 2013
By Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

UEFA President Michel Platini is to appear before France's National Assembly on Wednesday to explain his plan to get European football's finances into order.

Champions League
PA PhotosThe Financial Fair Play rules have been a defining part of Platini's tenure

The French government's Cultural Affairs and Education Commission recently asked for a report on how UEFA's new financial fair play rules, which will be first applied for the 2014-15 season, will affect French football with the cumulative debt of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 sides amounting to €107 million in June last year.

"The deputies want to understand how financial fair play works," Platini, who has been in Paris since the weekend, explained in L'Equipe. "I'm going to answer their questions with [UEFA general gecretary] Gianni Infantino on the technical aspects of it. As I'm in Paris anyway, it'll be a pleasure."

The former French international and national team coach has been the driving force behind the regulations, which are aimed at reining in football's finances. Come the 2013-14 campaign, UEFA will begin actively monitoring club finances while the previous two seasons' accounts will also be pored over with penalties, such as exclusion from European competition, laid out for those who do not adhere to the new rules.

"Today, European football is €1.7 billion in debt even though it's never generated as much money. It's important to get together to draw up a plan," Platini said. "The clubs have had time to get themselves in line with the new rules."

Platini has been particularly critical of the arrival of super-wealthy club owners, such as the Qatari investors in Paris Saint-Germain or those from the United Arab Emirates at Manchester City. The recent announcement of a four-year deal between PSG and the Qatar Tourism Authority, worth between €150 million and €200 million annually to the French club, was greeted with scepticism as merely a device to help put big-spending PSG, who have splashed out some €250 million on their squad in the last 18 months, within financial fair play limits.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas claimed the agreement would not be ratified as it does not meet the stringent requirements on how clubs balance their books as set out in the UEFA guidelines. Platini warned the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), which recently suspended Spanish club sanctioned Malaga to its poor financial state, would be keeping an eye out for those attempting to find loopholes.

"We have the best financial experts in Europe. In each case, they will decide if the rules we have put in place have been respected. Certain investors arrived after the adoption of the principle of financial fair play. All the better for them if they have their house in order, and tough luck if they don't."