UEFA EXCO approves financial fair play

UEFA's Executive Committee has given the green light to the Financial Fair Play concept to improve financial fairness in European competitions and the long-term stability of European club football.

The UEFA Executive Committee has approved the Financial Fair Play concept
The UEFA Executive Committee has approved the Financial Fair Play concept ©UEFA.com

UEFA's Executive Committee has approved the Financial Fair Play concept for the well-being of European club football. The committee gave the green light at its meeting in Nyon following recommendations made in August by the Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC), and in the wake of unanimous support by the UEFA Club Competitions Committee and approval by the European Club Association Board (ECA).

Improving financial fairness
The major objective of the Financial Fair Play concept is to improve the financial fairness in European competitions, as well as the long-term stability of European club football. In order to achieve this goal, a set of measures will be put in place. These include an obligation for clubs whose turnover is over a certain threshold, over a period of time, to balance their books or break even. Under the concept, clubs cannot repeatedly spend more than their generated revenues. Guidance will be given on salaries and transfer spending, indicators provided on the sustainability of levels of debt, and clubs will be obliged to honour their commitments at all times.

Stimulate long-term investment
These measures will reach beyond the current UEFA club licensing system and be implemented over a three-year period. They will stimulate long-term investment (youth development and upgrading of sporting facilities) over short-term speculative spending, and adherence to the rules will be assessed by the recently formed independent Club Financial Control Panel. Former Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene has been appointed as the chairman of the panel, which will consist of financial and legal experts who will conduct financial audits to ensure that the UEFA club licensing system is applied correctly.

Helping clubs
UEFA President Michel Platini said: "The idea is not to hurt clubs. The idea is to help them. The basic premise is that clubs should not spend more than they earn. Club owners have asked for the introduction of rules, and this will be an adventure for European football and UEFA." Michel Platini said the measures were essential for the long-term health of the European game.

Jean-Luc Dehaene appointment
The Club Financial Control Panel will be independent, and its chairman has a wealth of respect and experience. Jean-Luc Dehaene was Prime Minister of Belgium from 1992 to 1999, and deputy Prime Minister for the four years before that. He held various ministerial posts with the Belgian government. He has also held a number of European mandates, including vice-chairmanship of the European Convention and membership of the Convention on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and is a member of the board of several important European companies. "Mr Dehaene is very experienced in financial matters, and a great football fan," said Michel Platini. "He is the ideal person to take charge of the economic destiny of European football.

Making history

"I am therefore particularly happy to see that for this challenge we are able to attract a person with the quality and background of Mr Dehaene," the UEFA President added. "As the first chairman of the Club Financial Control Panel, he will set the standard in this area and in so doing, will make history. It was crucial to have this new role handled by a man of his capacity and stature."

Ambitious objective
Speaking of his appointment, Mr Dehaene said: "The rule of financial fair play is aimed at ensuring the healthy, lasting viability of clubs. By imposing this rule on all clubs participating in European competitions, UEFA has taken the path both the European Commission and Parliament had hoped for. By agreeing to chair the Club Financial Control Panel, I hope to be able to help achieve this ambitious objective, which is vital to the future of European football."

New company

In other matters, the UEFA Executive Committee reviewed the structure of UEFA's marketing and commercial operations and approved the creation of a new company wholly owned by European football's governing body. The new company will be responsible for UEFA's business and commercial operations. David Taylor has been appointed as chief executive of the new company as of 1 October 2009. As a result, current UEFA Deputy General Secretary Gianni Infantino has been appointed as UEFA General Secretary, and will take up the role on the same date.