New sustainability regulations were approved by UEFA’s executive committee at a meeting in Nyon on Thursday but Aleksander Ceferin could not provide an update on Russia’s attempts to host an upcoming European Championship.
UEFA first introduced Financial Fair Play regulations in 2010 with the aim to pull European football finances “back from the brink” and these initial rules have now been revamped following a significant consultation period with stakeholders.
The aim of the new regulations is to achieve financial sustainability with three key pillars put in place to help with this; solvency, stability and cost control. While these will be gradually implemented over a three-year period, the measures come into force in June.
President Ceferin said: “UEFA has worked together with its stakeholders across European football to develop these new measures to help the clubs to address these new challenges.
“These regulations will help us protect the game and prepare it for any potential future shock while encouraging rational investments and building a more sustainable future for the game.”
A key change, in addition to being renamed from Financial Fair Play to Financial Sustainability Regulations, is an increase in acceptable deviation from £30million euros to £60million euros.
The squad-cost rule is another innovation with limits on spending of wages, transfers and agent fees to 70 per cent of club revenue and assessments will take place on a quarterly basis with breaches to result in pre-defined financial penalties and sporting measures.
According to Andrea Traverso, UEFA’s director of financial sustainability, these punishments could include prohibition on the use of specific players signed during the most recent transfer window or the limitation of the number of players registered for a competition.
Points deductions are also possible while a fourth measure, still to be approved, could involve relegation from one UEFA tournament to another.
“Saying (clubs) can do whatever they want is not exactly correct because I think the deterrents are there and as from a certain moment, they would be so harshly penalized it would be quite dissuasive,” Traverso insisted.
On the eve of the meeting in Nyon, UEFA ExCo member Alexander Dyukov was sanctioned by the UK Government but there was no mention of the Russian during a press conference with Ceferin after the morning meeting.
The UEFA president was asked about Russia’s controversial plans to host either Euro 2028 or Euro 2032 in addition to the ongoing appeal from the Russian Football Union to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over the decision to ban its national teams and clubs following the country’s war with Ukraine.
“We are discussing let’s say about it and you will have the answer very soon,” Ceferin replied when quizzed on Russia’s bids.
UEFA could throw out the declaration of interest if it could be deemed to bring European football into disrepute, according to Article 16, governing ethics, of the bid regulation rules.
Russian club’s and national teams remain banned by UEFA and FIFA until the decision of the RFU’s appeal to CAS with news expected soon ahead of the Women’s European Championship, where Russia were set to compete.
Ceferin added: “There is a court case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the case of the Russian football union and the clubs and its national team.
“We expect some information from there as soon as possible but we know we are in a hurry to decide about this issue. We know the Euros are very soon and we will have to make the decision soon but we need some more information.”
No update on proposed Champions League reforms from 2024 were revealed following criticism over plans to reserve two places for clubs based on historical coefficient rather than league position in the previous campaign.
“It’s absolutely too early and wouldn’t be correct for me to say anything publicly now because discussions are still ongoing and no final decisions have been reached yet so you will have to wait for a month I would say, approximately,” Ceferin revealed.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.