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Sep 11, 2012

FFP: UEFA 'could suspend players'

UEFA will impose Financial Fair Play (FFP) sanctions including withholding TV money and suspending players from clubs failing to comply with the regulations, a source has told ESPN.

• Marcotti: Is FFP working?

The news came as UEFA announced that 23 clubs involved in its 2012-13 competitions have had prize money withheld as financial investigations are carried out.

The source said the developments showed that the UEFA president Michel Platini was "doing exactly what he told us all he would do".

"Firstly it is withholding prize money, next it will withholding TV money, then it will be suspensions of players bought in the transfer window going back a year," the source said. "Finally, UEFA will implement even sterner punishments, perhaps culminating in elimination from the European competitions for clubs who make losses [beyond the specified limits]."

On Tuesday morning, European football's governing body said on its website that, as part of the first phase of FFP requirements, clubs taking part in this season's UEFA competitions had to provide information "regarding the status of any overdue payables as at 30 June 2012".

Its Club Financial Control (CFC) investigatory body met last month and identified 23 cases in which a club owed "important overdue payables" to other clubs, employees, or tax or other authorities.

The investigations will continue and the clubs have been asked to provide updated information by September 30. The withholding of prize money will remain in force until all the "overdue payables" identified by investigators have been paid or until a further decision by the CFC.

The CFC, which is chaired by Jean-Luc Dehaene, a former prime minister of Belgium, said on the UEFA website that the following 23 clubs were under investigation:

FK Borac Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
FK Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
FK Zeljeznicar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
PFC CSKA Sofia (Bulgaria)
HNK Hajduk Split (Croatia)
NK Osijek (Croatia)
Atletico Madrid (Spain)
Malaga (Spain)
Maccabi Netanya (Israel)
FK Shkendija 79 (Macedonia)
Floriana FC (Malta)
FK Buducnost Podgorica (Montenegro)
FK Rudar Pjevlja (Montenegro)
Ruch Chorzow (Poland)
Sporting Clube de Portugal (Portugal)
Dinamo Bucharest (Romania)
FC Rapid Bucharest (Romania)
FC Vaslui (Romania)
Rubin Kazan (Russia)
FK Partizan (Serbia)
FK Vojvodina (Serbia)
Eskisehirspor (Turkey)
Fenerbahce (Turkey)

No English clubs are subject to the investigation. Premier League clubs have already debated the implementation of their own version of FFP, proposing to effectively introduce a cap on wages.

Talks to determine the format are scheduled for this month, and the source added: "It will be up to the clubs to decide how it will work and the sanctions that should be imposed. English football has seven clubs in Europe, but the Premier League clubs want their own FFP rules, and that looks like happening."

One Premier League chief executive told ESPN clubs were not prepared to allow players and agents to seek huge wage hikes on the back of the billions coming into the game with a big increase in TV cash next season.

At a meeting last Thursday, chairmen and chief executives agreed to move forward the plan to introduce a form of salary capping. Clubs have been divided into North and South groups to discuss the best ways to introduce restrictions on the amount spent on players, mangers and coaching staff.

The chief executive said: "We all agreed that we have a windfall coming into the game in a year's time, and we don't want to give it away to one part of the industry. The talent is most important - we also all agree on that - but that doesn't mean there can't be any limits on how much is spent on players and their agents.

"We need a formula on how to make it work - to find a middle ground, a sensible solution. There is still some way to go - West Ham would like to cap salaries, while Manchester City wouldn't - but most clubs are agreed that there needs to be a common sense restriction on spending on players' salaries."

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