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Encouraging growth and development

Gianni Infantino has welcomed the reinforcement of UEFA's financial fair play provisions and says that the new developments reflect the changed economic state of European football.

UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino
UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino ©Sportsfile

UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino has welcomed the positive results achieved so far through UEFA's financial fair play measures and has explained the reasons for the adaptation of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations, approved by the UEFA Executive Committee at its meeting in Prague this week.

The updated regulations follow consultations which have taken place over two years involving key stakeholders, including the European Club Association (ECA). They will encourage more growth and development, inclusivity and market stimulation, said UEFA, through "a careful broadening and refinement of the requirements, taking into consideration the economic environment and the experience gained over the last five years".

"The reasons for the changes in these regulations are manifold," Mr Infantino told UEFA.org after the meeting. "It is obvious that nothing is set in stone and, every two years, we undergo a consultation process and a process of revision of the regulations.

"The most important reason is that the whole economic situation in European football has changed. When we introduced these regulations, we had in mind the catastrophic financial situation of club football, with losses in 2011 of the top-division clubs in Europe going up to €1.7bn.

"We have seen that, with the introduction of these regulations, losses went down to [just] a bit over €400m. It's normal that after some time, with such successful results, we need to review a couple of things and to make sure that we adapt the regulations accordingly."

The consultation process, the UEFA General Secretary said, was essential to ensure that the regulations would be reinforced for the future. "It is important to understand that these regulations don't change out of the blue – we undergo a very in-depth consultation process. We consult the clubs in particular, because it's the clubs who are affected, and the whole financial fair play concept was introduced jointly with the clubs.

"In the revision process, we discussed with the clubs and we analysed the situation of all the clubs, not only in western Europe but also in eastern Europe – the whole of the UEFA territory.

"What is important to stress is that the rules are adapted. They are not relaxed, they are strengthened. We take into account some situations. We will allow clubs to enter into so-called voluntary agreements. For example, when a club is restructured, and when a new owner comes into a club and wants to invest some money, this new owner can go to the [UEFA] Club Financial Control Body and present [the] case and enter into such a voluntary agreement, which will be carefully monitored by the Body to make sure that there are no losses incurred by said club.

"Some other changes concern, for example, regions in which the financial situation is not the same compared to other regions which have a financial boom in terms of rights [and] revenues. We need to make sure, as UEFA, the governing body for European football, that we create conditions for all clubs all over Europe to be able to compete in an appropriate way. We also have to take into consideration the economic situation in each country."