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Sep 13, 2012

City and UEFA in sustainability talks

Manchester City are one of a number of clubs holding talks with UEFA ahead of the implementation of Financial Fair Play in order to convince them that they aim to achieve long-term sustainability, ESPN can reveal.

The FFP rules being introduced by European football's governing body mean clubs must break even within a margin of "acceptable deviation" of €45 million over the first two years - next season and the one after that.

Any club showing a loss of more than that figure will be punished by UEFA sanctions, with City and Chelsea the two most vulnerable in English football because of their high levels of spending.

But a City source told ESPN: "The ambition of the club, from the outset of new ownership in September 2008, was to build a sustainable football club. The club remains fully committed to that principle."

City are not alone in holding direct talks with UEFA about the issue. ESPN understands that up to 19 clubs across Europe are currently involved in similar discussions.

The club's claims to be chasing long-term sustainability will be received sceptically in many quarters. The Premier League champions have bought many of the best players available, running up an enormous wage bill and running at record losses.

However, this summer's transfer window showed they are no longer willing to pay vastly inflated fees, even though that meant manager Roberto Mancini missed out on his prime targets. Instead, the club bought in less expensive players.

They are cautious about Premier League plans to introduce a domestic version of FFP – an approach, an insider told ESPN, that could be shared by "three or four" other clubs.

But with 14 votes required to push through Premier League FFP rules, the chances are that they will be brought in for next season.

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