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Positive Financial Fair Play results

New regulations, new horizons and continued success were the dominant themes as the 2015 UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Workshop took place in Dubrovnik.

Encouraging financial fair play results were presented in Dubrovnik
Encouraging financial fair play results were presented in Dubrovnik ©UEFA

Representatives from UEFA, its 54 national associations, FIFA and its confederations attended the 13th edition of the 2015 UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Workshop which took place in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The workshop brings together experts in the field of club licensing and financial fair play for two-and-a-half-days, in order to reflect on the latest developments, improvements and future challenges to the system through knowledge-sharing and an exchange of experiences.

Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations
As such, a key focus of the workshop centered around the new edition of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations, which were approved by the UEFA Executive Committee at its meeting in Prague in June 2015, following a lengthy and extensive consultation process which involved all stakeholders and which began in earnest at a previous Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play workshop that was held in Cascais in 2013.

The refining of the regulations has resulted in crucial evolvements aimed at further encouraging responsible investors and stakeholders to continue to contribute to the strong and healthy growth of club football in Europe.

A detailed breakdown of the key amendments were examined in depth, with the reduction in the acceptable deviation from €45m to €30m, the more stringent overdue payables criteria and clubs now being subject to early and ongoing club monitoring underlining that the financial fair play regulations have been strengthened.

Benchmarking report and positive results 
The 150-plus attendees were also provided with a preview of the latest UEFA benchmarking report, which highlights the positive impact of the financial fair play provisions.

The general feeling of a more stable and sustainable position for top-division European clubs was recognised as a result of European clubs' losses falling by two-thirds between 2011 and 2014, from €1.67bn to €486m, and due to the reduction of overdue payables from €57m in 2011 to €5m in 2015.

These positive results are built on the back of the considerable work performed by the national associations in implementing the club licensing system, and this was in evidence during discussions around the 2015 licensing decisions.

The cases of sportingly qualified clubs not receiving a licence to participate in UEFA club competitions (of which there were five in respect of the 2015/16 season), emphasise how licensors strictly apply the requirements of the club licensing system, despite the significant consequences and impact that come with such difficult and challenging decisions.

A stimulating panel discussion on how club licensing has evolved since the system was introduced more than ten years ago involved the licensing managers from Azerbaijan, Croatia, Cyprus and Iceland explaining the positive impact that club licensing has had in their respective countries, and the results they have been able to achieve through the implementation of the system.

Hearing these success stories, and how club licensing is now cemented into the mind-set and functioning of European clubs, was enlightening for the representatives of UEFA's sister confederations, and was another example of the annual Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play workshop providing an excellent forum for the exchange of best practices.