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European Commission Back Financial Fair Play Rules

Wed 21st Mar 2012 | UEFA

The European Commission have today confirmed that UEFA's financial fair play regulations are in line with European Union (EU) State aid policy.

UEFA President Michel Platini and Vice President of European Commission and Competition Commissioner, Joaquín Almunia issued a joint statement emphasising the consistency between the rules and objectives of financial fair play and the policy aims of the commission in the field of State aid.

In a statement on UEFA’s official website, Platini said: "I am very pleased that UEFA and the European Commission have together taken this decisive step to secure a prosperous and stable future for European football and for the European football community generally.

“Our statement confirms that UEFA's financial fair play regulations are fully consistent with EU State aid policy and I would like to sincerely thank vice-president Almunia and the European Commission for their commitment, constructive spirit and cooperation in this joint process."

Both disciplines seek to achieve a situation in which professional football clubs live within their own means and the announcement today provides a basis for further cooperation between the Commission and UEFA with a view to promoting fair competition between football clubs.

Commission Vice President, Joaquín Almunia commented: "I am a football fan and I hope that future generations will also be able to watch and enjoy first class professional football based on solid grounds. I am deeply concerned by the increasing level of indebtedness of many European clubs. This situation is not sustainable. Both EU state aid rules and UEFA objectives help introduce discipline and rationality in football club finances.”

He added: “I would like to congratulate President Platini for his leadership on this issue."

Professional football clubs pursue their activities in many markets: participation in competitions; buying, selling and leasing players; sponsoring; merchandising; broadcasting and publicity agreements and others.

The announcement means public financial support (state aid) to such clubs is therefore likely to distort competition and affect trade between Member States. Such aid is in principle incompatible with the internal market and can only be authorised under strict conditions. Any aid must, furthermore, be notified to the Commission in advance.

The joint statement announces that the Commission and UEFA will cooperate and discuss issues such as the fiscal treatment of clubs and the treatment of clubs receiving rescue and restructuring aid from public authorities.

 Posted by: Aaron Gourley


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