Will Uefa really get tough on financial fair play?



First published in Sport

AT the start of next month, sanctions for clubs being investigated under Uefa's Financial Fair Play rules will be announced.

Then we'll see just how serious football's governing body in Europe is about practicing what it preaches.

Cynical though this will sound, I'm guessing not too much will happen to rock the boat come the start of May.

Uefa always talk tough but seldom back it - just look at their pathetic stance ion racism in recent times.

Here, they have the opportunity to make the continent's big hitters know that they have to play by the rules - by not spending more than they earn - or face the consequences.

Both Premier League title contenders Manchester City and French giants Paris St Germain are in the firing line from the authorities.

Both have spent colossal amounts of money to earn a seat at Europe's top table in the Champions League.

It is now up to Uefa's policing unit, known as the Club Financial Control Panel, to decide whether they have done it fairly.

Manchester City's 10-year £350m sponsorship deal with airline Etihad and PSG's deal with the Qatar Tourism Authority, reportedly worth £165m per year, are both under scrutiny.

Were these value-for-money deals or simply ways of generating huge amounts of income to get round the regulations?

If clubs are found guilty, the sanctions range from a slap on the wrist by way of a warning, fines or even banning from European competition.

But, of course, that won't happen as it would immediately damage the integrity of the the Champions League, watched by millions across the globe.

Uefa aren't going to bit the hand that feeds it, which effectively undermines the process before any punishment is dished out.

Whatever happens, it is going to be difficult for Uefa to be taken seriously on the subject.

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