Club licensing vital, says Olsson

The UEFA CEO insists that clubs must have sound finances to play in European competitions.

UEFA Chief Executive Lars-Christer Olsson has repeated UEFA’s insistence that clubs must have sound financial foundations if they want to play in European competitions in the future.

Fulfil requirements
Writing in the latest edition of the official UEFA Champions League magazine Champions, Mr Olsson warned clubs that UEFA was entitled to exclude clubs from its competitions if they do not fulfil the requirements of the new Europe-wide licensing system, which comes into force from the start of next season.

'Financial doping'
"Too many sides are not planning for the long-term future of the club and think only about the very immediate outlook," Mr Olsson said. "There are clubs who have, in the past, indulged in what you could almost call financial doping – they've bought players but not paid their debts or even, in some cases, their players' salaries.

Sound finances
"Under our new club-licensing system, clubs will have to prove to their national associations that they have sound finances if they are going to play in European competition. We are determined to be firm about this.

External auditor
"In future, clubs will not be allowed to have significant debts to other clubs, players or related parties and they will have to have an independent audited statement to show that. We can ask an external auditor to intervene if we suspect that a club is not fulfilling the requirements. After that, we have the authority to expel clubs from our competitions."

Licence obligatory
UEFA's club licensing system will be based on a series of sporting and administrative criteria, designed to ensure that football enters the future in a healthy state. A licence will be obligatory for clubs qualifying for UEFA club competitions for the 2004/05 season.

Strengthening football's credibility
"The clubs, leagues and member associations realise this system can only strengthen football's credibility as an industry," said Mr Olsson. "Nobody in the game wins when, for example, financial mismanagement rather than sporting affairs dominate the headlines. By requiring clubs to meet certain standards in developing young players, the scheme will improve the game's infrastructure and help safeguard the game's future."