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UEFA ban over FFP would be ´astonishing´, says expert

Sports finance expert professor Tom Cannon says he will be “astonished” if UEFA ban a major club over a breach of Financial Fair Play (FFP).

The rules – which are designed to prevent sides from spending more than they earn, thus ensuring their long-term future – were imposed on English clubs at the start of this season.

UEFA retains the power to punish clubs that flout these regulations with expulsion from European competition, but professor Cannon, head of strategic development at the University of Liverpool, does not believe the governing body will come down hard on any of the “giants” of the game.

“I think there is an awful lot of questioning about how hard UEFA are going to implement these financial fair play rules,” he told Perform.

“I don’t think you’re going to get the dramatic exclusion of a (Manchester) City or a Chelsea, or a Barcelona or a Real Madrid or a Juventus or a PSG or a Monaco on the grounds of financial fair play.

“It may be that they pick some kind of Scandinavian club that’s not perceived to be involved in that category of giants or some Eastern European club.

“But the giants? I’d be astonished.”

Professor Cannon went on to say UEFA would be unlikely to uphold any ban if the case went to court, with clubs being able to contest on the grounds of restraint of trade.

“It’ll only be answered if a major club is excluded and they go to the European court,” he said.

“I don’t think UEFA will be able to win their argument because basically whatever way you say it, it’s a restraint on trade – it’s not something you’d impose on, for example, an aeronautics company.

“I think UEFA would actually lose if they went to court in Europe.”

Tue 4 February, 2014
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