Article published 4 April 2012

At the UEFA conference in Istanbul, UEFA ratified three more disciplinary measures for clubs that breach FFP rules.  As I outlined in my article on 7 Feb, five measures had previously been agreed at the Nyon Conference in January. The full menu of punishments now reads:

  1. Reprimand / Warning
  2. Fine
  3. Deduction of Points
  4. Withholding of Revenue from UEFA competition
  5. Prohibition to register new players for UEFA competitions;
  6. A restriction on the number of players that a club may register for UEFA competitions
  7. Disqualification from a competition in progress
  8. Exclusion from future competitions
Although the European Commission recently announced their approval of the Financial Fair Play regulations, there is a requirement for the rules and punishments to be applied in a fair and consistent manner.  Deciding which clubs receive which punishments and determining the severity of the punishment for all transgressions is likely to prove extremely problematic for Platini.  The FFP rules contain a huge number of potential transgressions, raging from overspend, to failure to have an under-10 youth team.  Even the financial requirements are wide-ranging and UEFA will be challenged when comparing rule-breaking such as  overspend, failure of an owner to inject equity and failure to be up-to date with taxes.   And once the relative seriousness of the crimes are evaluated, there will be issues to be determined within each crime. For example, should a club overspending by £1m be punished the same as one overspending by £50m?  Exclusion isn't an easily scalable punishment. And if the problem isn't difficult enough, UEFA has advised that it is keen to phase-in FFP over the next few years (presumably increasing the severity of the punishments).  When considering this potential minefild, UEFA needs to be mindful that it faces a potential legal challenge if the punishments are not applied fairly and consistently.

Platini has achieved a great deal and surprised many by getting the FFP rules this far - perhaps the hard part is only just beginning.