Barcelona, Man United fined by UEFA for breaking financial fair play rules

AP , Friday 14 Jul 2023

Barcelona was fined 500,000 euros ($560,000) by UEFA on Friday and Manchester United must pay 300,000 euros ($336,000) in the last round of financial monitoring using Financial Fair Play rules that have since been replaced.

Manchester United
Referee Clement Turpin shows a yellow card to Barcelona s Sergio Busquets, left, after he fouled Manchester United s Alejandro Garnacho, ground, during the Europa League playoff second leg soccer match between Manchester United and Barcelona at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. AFP


Barcelona was punished for wrongly reporting profits from “disposal of intangible assets” that should not have been accounted for as income according to FFP rules, UEFA said in a statement. UEFA did not specify the asset that was sold.

Man United did not meet its target to approach break-even on soccer-related business that includes player transfers, wages and social taxes for FFP assessment.

The former European champions each earned tens of millions of euros (dollars) in UEFA prize money last season. Barcelona played in the Champions League group stage then lost in the Europa League knockout playoffs to United, which was eliminated at the quarterfinal stage by eventual winner Sevilla.

UEFA’s club finance panel judged United’s offense, and similar ones by APOEL and Konyaspor, to be “minor break-even deficits.” The other clubs were each fined 100,000 euros ($112,000).

United published a statement citing the different way to assess post-pandemic finances for the hundreds of clubs who qualify for European competitions and then are scrutinized by UEFA-appointed investigators.

“This reflected a change in the way that UEFA adjusted for COVID-19 losses during the 2022 reporting period, which allowed us to recognize only 15 million euros of the 281 million euros of revenues lost due to the pandemic within the FFP calculation,” the three-time European champion said.

A group of storied clubs – including AC Milan, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain – who were fined by UEFA last September all met their stricter financial targets for last season. They will continue to be monitored for compliance over the next year.

İstanbul Başakşehir did not meet its targets and was fined 400,000 euros ($448,000).

Two clubs failing to meet break-even targets in new cases were new Belgian champion Royal Antwerp and Trabzonspor. Each must pay 300,000 euros ($336,000) now with conditional fines of up to 1.7 million euros ($1.91 million) more due if subsequent targets are missed.

Anderlecht was fined 100,000 euros ($112,000) as a previously conditional financial penalty was activated.

Three clubs, Riga, Olimpija Ljubljana and Slovan Bratislava, were each fined 10,000 euros ($11,200) for “failing to submit complete and accurate break-even information by the required deadline.” It is the third time Olimpija has been fined under FFP rules since its former board member Aleksander Čeferin was elected UEFA president in 2016.

UEFA has updated the FFP rules that were approved in 2009 with a new monitoring system. It prioritizes financial sustainability for clubs and moved away from setting competitive balance on the field as an achievable target.

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