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Liverpool chief warns UEFA must apply financial rules equally

Thu 31st Mar 2011 | Money & Finance

Liverpool CEO Ian Ayre has warned that UEFA’s financial fair play rules will be stifled if they are not applied “hard and fast”.

Speaking on the first day of the Soccerex European Forum in Manchester, Ayre said that the new regulations, which should preclude a club from spending significantly more than it earned, have to be applied equally across the board.

Andrea Traverso, head of club licensing at UEFA, said a rigorous system would be applied to prevent a rich benefactor inventing a ‘ghost’ sponsorship deal as a way of pouring money into a club to keep the books straight. “We will refer any deal with related third parties which appear to be above the market rate to a commission,” he said.

However, Ayre remained sceptical about the ability of outsiders to decide what is market value or not. “This is a concern for us,” he said. “Who can say what the market price is? After all, we renewed our sponsorship deal for a 200% increase. Would that have been acceptable?

"The financial fair play rules are supported by the English Professional Footballers Association, whose chairman Clarke Carlisle said: “Anything which means the clubs are more responsible and more stable means greater stability for the game and security for the players.

"Over the last 30 years we have seen financial mismanagement bring many clubs to their knees. If these regulations ensure that insolvency is not an issue and that money can be invested in youth and coach development, that has to be a good thing for our game.”

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