• Premier League

City set to avoid Champions League ban

ESPN staff
April 24, 2014
UEFA president Michel Platini believes certain big-name clubs will find themselves falling foul of the FFP guidelines © PA Photos

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain will not be banned from the Champions League for breaching UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, according to Michel Platini.

Both City, who carry the biggest wage bill in sport, and PSG are understood to be among the 76 clubs under investigation by the independent Club Financial Control Body's (CFCB) investigatory chamber.

Platini told La Parisien he believes there would be no "blood and tears" and City, who have lost £149 million in the past two seasons, remain relaxed over the impending announcement.

However, the UEFA president warned that big clubs will fall foul in some way of the new guidelines, which seek to improve the perilous economic climate within European clubs, when the body hands down the first FFP rulings at the beginning of May.

Liverpool's biggest challenge? Clubs avoiding FFP

John W. Henry has taken a swipe © Getty Images
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Platini said: "Significant sanctions are going to hit big clubs. We're going to see it through. 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 I believe 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 is a likely punishment hanging over PSG, whose representatives have been to UEFA HQ to explain their finances.

A question mark hangs over the French champions' freshly-signed contract with the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), which brings PSG €200m (£1.65m) 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.

He said: "We can't say that. I've spoken to [PSG president] Nasser Al Khelaifi and [director] 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," Platini said, 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 (£1.4bn) to €1bn (£824m) 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 FFP regulations to withstand resistance.

"We have no guarantee," he said. "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."

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