Michel Platini warns of FFP sanctions
UEFA president Michel Platini has told Le Parisien the imminent announcement of financial fair play punishments will contain "significant sanctions" for "big clubs" but added there would be no "blood and tears."
UEFA will hand down the first FFP rulings at the beginning of May having held talks with a number of clubs to clarify their financial status, including Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City who have said they are relaxed about the prospect.
A major force behind the introduction of the regulations, which seek to improve the perilous economic climate within European clubs, Platini warned certain big-name clubs will find themselves falling foul of the new guidelines.
"You'll see, but I think that significant sanctions are going to hit big clubs. We're going to see it through," Platini explained. "The first decisions will be announced at the start of May, but if you are expecting blood and tears, you'll be disappointed. There will be some hard things, but no exclusions from European competition."
While being kicked out of UEFA competition is the ultimate sanction, clubs could be hit by a range of disciplinary measures, such as a fine or a ban on them using new signings in next season's competitions. The latter eventuality has been evoked for Paris Saint-Germain, whose representatives have been to UEFA HQ to explain their own finances this season.
The major question mark hangs over the French champions' freshly-signed contract with the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), which brings PSG some 200 million euros a year and allows them to squeeze inside the FFP threshold.
Platini suggested PSG may be one of the clubs sanctioned under the new measures, but stopped short of accusing the Ligue 1 leaders of bending the rules in an attempt to swerve sanctions.
"We can't say that. I've spoken to Nasser Al Khelaifi and Jean-Claude Blanc and that isn't their attitude. They have simply chosen a way to finance their investments and balance their books. But are PSG respecting financial fair play for all that? Not sure. It's even not sure at all," the UEFA head explained, adding he felt the measures had already begun to have the desired effect.
"Look at the cumulative losses of European clubs. They have gone from 1.7 billion euros to one billion euros this year. So we're winning our bet. Even if certain clubs are 'on the edge'."
Should clubs be punished by UEFA, they may seek redress at higher levels within European institutions. Platini admitted there was a risk of legal repercussions, but insisted UEFA had sufficient backing for the Financial Fair Play regulations to withstand resistance.
"We have no guarantee. The clubs can take us to court if they so wish, and we'll see. But we have the support of the European Commission, politicians, the UEFA Congress, and the players' union. Never has a project benefitted from such unanimity."