As readers of this site will be aware, there are 8 available UEFA punishments. However, one of the key FFP questions is whether UEFA will actually ban a an overspending club. Important clarification has been provided in an interview with Alasdair Bell, UEFA's director of legal affairs.
Bell explains that he believes that any club that exceeds the Break Even limit by more than 20% will face the most severe punishments. In practice this means that during the current two year Monitoring Period, a club will need to be about £7m over the £36m maximum Break Even deficit to invoke the stiffest of sanctions.
The most severe of the punishments is,of course, a ban from UEFA competition. However Bell explained in the interview that he believes that initially a less draconian punishment will be applied and that clubs face a restriction in the number of players they are allowed to register for the Champions League/Europa Cup games. Potentially a team's squad could be reduced from 25 players to 20 players.
Bell explained that only if a club is a repeat offender will a more serious punishments be applied.
This interview appears to be the only statement from senior UEFA officials on how the sanctions will be applied and Platini has yet to confirm this approach. However Bell is sufficiently senior to assume that he was speaking 'on message' and that the sanctions will be applied as he outlined.
This will all be a great relief to Manchester City who according to club insiders are set to fail the Break Even test (scroll down the article). The problem for Man City was always going to be the first Monitoring Periods - after that it is possible that they can maximise their commercial income, reduce spending and come close to breaking even. However, with City potentially set to miss the Break Event test by around 100%+ (as oppose to 20%). it will be interesting to see if UEFA are happy to apply the same punishment to all clubs that miss the initialy test by more than the 20% (£7m) threshold.
For English clubs, the huge new TV deal is significant. The uplift in income arising from the deal will arrive next year and, assuming clubs continue to reign-in their spending, the increased income should materially help them all to meet the test. This scenario, of course, only applies to the Premier League clubs and doesn't apply to other big spenders PSG and Zenit. Interestingly, Bell disclosed the proposed punishments before the English TV deal was announced and it will be interesting to see if his approach changes - particularly if some clubs challenge Bell's proposals as being over-lenient.
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