Man City and PSG fined €60m each for FFP breaches
Uefa confirm sanctions although €40m has been suspended for English and French champions
PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was a big money signing for the French club. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Sergio Aguero of Manchester City was one of the club’s more high-profile imports. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Manchester City have reluctantly accepted a conditional €60 million fine and restrictions on their European squad and incoming transfers under Uefa’s new financial fair play regime.
But the club insisted their summer transfer plans would be unaffected by restrictions they said would limit them to a maximum €60m net outlay in the upcoming transfer window.
The Premier League champions joined Paris St-Germain, who were given a similar penalty, and seven other clubs in accepting the first wave of FFP sanctions.
Under the complex ruling, the club must also agree to a string of other conditions: maximum losses of €20m in 2014 and €10m in 2015, to cap their wage bill at current levels for the next two seasons and to “significantly limit” spending in the transfer market for the same period.
The sanctions will limit Manuel Pellegrini’s options when it comes to naming his 21-man European squad, cut from the usual 25, of which eight must qualify as “homegrown”. City pointed out, however, that last season they registered 23 players and used only 21.
If they comply with those conditions they will get back €40m of the €60m fine, which will be deducted from their Uefa prize money over the next three years.
The club, who said they were on course to break even this financial year, insisted they had complied with the FFP rules but said they reluctantly accepted Uefa’s sanctions in order to provide certainty.
City said they would be limited to spending a net maximum of €60m in the transfer window, bringing the splurges of recent years to an end.
“In normal circumstances, the club would wish to pursue its case and present its position through every avenue of recourse,” City said, explaining the decision to settle with Uefa’s club financial control body. “However, our decision to do so must be balanced against the practical realities for our fans, for our partners and in the interests of the commercial operations of the club.”
Theoretically, other clubs have 10 days to appeal if they believe the sanctions to be too lenient.
If City comply with the restrictions, they will be lifted at the end of the 2015-16 season. The club insisted they would have complied with the restrictions anyway during the “natural course of the club’s planned business operations”.
They noted that although the wage bill for 2014-15 would have to remain at the same level as 2013-14, performance-based bonuses could be paid outside that figure.
The penalties will intensify the debate over just how fair the new regime is. Some argue FFP simply entrenches the status quo, whereas Uefa insists it is a vital element in restoring some sanity to football’s inflationary spiral.
The other clubs, who accepted lesser sanctions, were Galatasaray, Trabzonspor and Bursaspor from Turkey, the Russian sides Zenit St Petersburg, Anzhi Makhachkala and Rubin Kazan, and Levski Sofia from Bulgaria.
City have argued that despite combined losses of over €185m during the two seasons under consideration (2011-12 and 2012-13) they deserved to pass Uefa’s financial test. They said that there had been “a fundamental disagreement” about how the regulations regarding players bought before June 2010 should be interpreted.
The FFP rules allowed for wages on contracts signed before that date to be discounted, but only for the season 2011-12.
Uefa also had concerns over the value of their €430m sponsorship with Etihad and deals that raised €58m from image rights and intellectual property in 2012-13. It hoped that by combining sporting sanctions with a financial penalty, it would hit affected clubs on the pitch as well as in the pocket.
Paris St-Germain admitted their jaw-dropping €200m-per-season deal with the Qatar Tourism Authority was overvalued and agreed to Uefa’s proposed sanction.
That has left City’s Abu Dhabi owners with a bitter taste at being bracketed with their Qatar-owned rivals.