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Jan 24, 2013

Ex-FIFA chief: FFP not enough

A former high-ranking FIFA official has told French parliamentarians that European football needs more than financial fair play to get its house in order.

From the 2011-12 season, clubs across the continent have been ordered to balance their books with penalties, such as exemption for European competition, for those who fail to meet UEFA regulations.

Spanish side Malaga have already felt the force of the new guidelines, receiving a one-season ban from European competition (currently under appeal) applicable to the next season for which they qualify in the next four years. However, Jerome Champagne, formerly FIFA's director of international relations, believes the steps taken do not go far enough.

"There needs to be other measures. Financial fair play will not put right the enormous inequalities in football," L'Equipe reports he told a National Assembly commission established to investigate how financial fair play will affect French football.

"It's based on a good idea, but it only concerns a small minority of teams who play in the Champions League. The real problems are the inequalities in football. With the new TV contract in the Premier League, the team which finishes bottom will get more money than the side finishing third in Spain, and even double what the French champion will receive."

He added: "Fifteen years ago there were already differences in terms of revenue between the five major European leagues. Now, they are much bigger. And that's without financial fair play setting them in stone. The big clubs support it as they know that it will prevent new clubs coming in."

Speaking on French radio earlier this week, UEFA president Michel Platini justified the introduction of financial fair play regulations by claiming: "I find European football ill. The clubs have never had so much money in their lives, and yet we have an annual loss of €1.7 billion."

Platini appeared before the commission last Wednesday along with UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino to explain the principles of financial fair play.

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