Soccer

Platini: tough sanctions, no UCL bans for financial fair play

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The Canadian Press
4/24/2014 9:19:05 AM
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PARIS -- Clubs won't be excluded from next season's Champions League for breaking "Financial Fair Play" rules, according to UEFA President Michel Platini

"There will be some tough things ... but if you're expecting blood and tears, you'll be disappointed," Platini told French daily Le Parisien in an interview published Thursday.

UEFA will announce the first sanctions in early-May, and more serious cases will be judged in June.

A UEFA panel is currently negotiating settlements with clubs which have breached rules designed to curb huge investments by owners and excessive spending on transfers and wages since 2011.

UEFA said in February it targeted 76 clubs which played in the Champions League or Europa League.

Speculation centred on big spenders Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, which are owned by the ruling families of Qatar and Abu Dhabi, respectively.

Platini said he was "not sure" if Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain's "innovative" sponsorship deal with Qatar Tourism Authority played by the rules.

UEFA is concerned that clubs could try to balance their finances using inflated value deals with sponsors linked to club owners. Man City's main sponsor is Abu Dhabi airline Etihad.

"Let's say simply that the economic model of PSG is special and atypical," Platini said. "These are questions that the experts must decide."

UEFA appointed former Belgium prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene to lead the panel investigating club accounts. Serious sanctions will be decided by a panel led by Jose Cunha Rodrigues of Portugal, a judge at the European Court of Justice.

Expulsion from the Champions League and second-tier Europa League are the toughest penalty UEFA reserves.

First and lesser offenders will likely face fines and sanctions such as limits on registering players for UEFA competitions.

"I think that significant sanctions will affect the big clubs. We will go through with this," Platini said.

Michel Platini (Photo: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
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