I have been supplied with an internal UEFA document that is not currently in the public domain - it provides information on the FFP process and punishments that are not widely available. I am grateful to Diego, on twitter @Tifbilanciato who runs the website http://tifosobilanciato.it for the 'heads-up'. Diego's site carries a large number of english articles and is a library of footballnews and references - well worth following on twitter.
The pdf presentation below was produced by UEFA for the Croatian football federation. Although anyone interested in the workings of FFP and timing of licensing process will find most of it fascinating, the section of the document that will gain the most attention will probably be the slide that presents the punishments for breaching the FFP rules.
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Last January, UEFA announced their 8 available FFP punishments (see below). However readers will notice that presentation reveals that a new 9th sanction, not previously disclosed, is now available. The punishment is: The withdrawal of title or award
It is interesting to speculate on what motivated UEFA to add this extra punishment ('the withdrawal of a title or award'). It seems likely that UEFA have been influenced by a combination of three events:
1 Chelsea's victory in the Champions League final - the club's spending policy is not generally popular.
2 Atletico's victory in the Europa League - Atletico has their prize money temporarily frozen owing to overdue 'payables (i.e tax or wages)
3 PSG's extravagant spending and progression to the last 16 of the Champions League
Although we don't know in what circumstances the punishment is intended to be applied, it seems likely that a club failing the Break-Even test or having 'overdue payables' faces the prospect of being stripped of a title.
It is not entirely clear but it seems likely that any punishment is likely to depend on whether the transgression happened during the season in which the title was won.
Chelsea seem to have improved their Break Even performance and there is good chance they will now pass the test (although Premier League Chief Executive Richard Schudamore acknowledged that it was likely to be a close-run-thing). Provided they can pass the Break Even test then Chelsea will have nothing to fear. However now that the new punishment is available, even a marginal fail could result in pressure on UEFA to retrospectively strip Chelsea of their title. However I would be surprised if UEFA had an appetite for taking such action in respect of a title won 18 months to two years prior to the Break Even decision. Chelsea's current tilt at the Europa League provides an interesting aspect to consider to new punishment - it is quite conceivable that the club would be stripped of their title if they subsequently fail the Break Even test.
Atletico have resolved their immediate issues and now have a repayment agreement in place with the Spanish government to pay overdue tax.
It is probably specifically with PSG in mind that the new sanction has been introduced.
Unless the Club Football Control Body (CFCB) is astonishingly lenient, it seems likely that PSG will fail the Break Even test. As I explained in my article of 21 December, there are very good reasons why the artificially inflated Qatar Tourist Authority deal (reported to be E150m a year) will be adjusted to a 'fair value' market rate.
As the above slide pack shows, UEFA will announce the first Break Even punishments between December 2013 and April 2014. If Paris St-Germain hold the Champions League title at that time (i.e. by winning it in May 2013), it is entirely possible that they would be stripped of the title. This new punishment seems to have been introduced with this specific scenario in mind; to give UEFA the ability to take the title from a club that had won the trophy through overspending and flagrant breaching of the Break Even rules. It is also interesting to consider why the new punishment has not publicly been announced - it may be because UEFA don't wish to appear as if they are overtly introducing new rules specifically to tackle the issues of one errant club.
The above pack also potentially provides us with an interesting insight into the Break Even punishments that UEFA might apply to any clubs that fail the very first Break Even test. Back in April 2012 Alasdair Bell UEFA legal director disclosed in an interviewthat clubs that fail the very first Break Even test were likely to face fairly lenient punishments. He explained that initially, he expected clubs to be restricted in the number of players they could register in UEFA competitions.
Although the above slide does not carry any explanatory text - it is interesting to note that three of the sanctions are shown in a different, lighter colour text - all these three punishments fit very nicely with the approach outlined by Alasdair Bell.
It is conjecture, but it is possible that UEFA has earmarked the three lighter-shaded punishments for clubs that fail the very first FFP Break Even test (potentially including Man City). At the moment, however, it is pure speculation and we are still waiting to find out in what circumstances the various punishments will be applied.
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