UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin insists he wants to help clubs comply with Financial Fair Play regulations and is not out to “kill” their ambitions.
There are suggestions European football’s governing body could come down hard on multiple clubs ahead of next season, due to their heavy spending.
Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City received substantial fines and had their Champions League squads restricted after falling foul of FFP rules in 2014, while Porto accepted a settlement agreement prior to this season.
The regulations are in place to prevent clubs spending significantly more than they earn and thereby risk financial instability, although critics of the system say the rules stop Europe’s elite clubs from being challenged by developing sides.
Ceferin, though, maintains FFP is intended to help teams rather than hinder their progress.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 16, 2018
“We’re speaking in general, we don’t want to kill anyone or say ‘do this or you’re out’,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “We’ll do everything we can to help everyone, we’re not the police, but there are also rules to be respected. It’s an independent judiciary.”
Ceferin also stood by UEFA’s decision not to use VAR in next season’s Champions League.
The system has been trialled in various competitions among Europe’s leading nations and will also be used at the World Cup this year.
However, despite controversial incidents in this season’s quarter-finals – including a late penalty for Real Madrid against Juventus and a disallowed Manchester City goal against Liverpool – Ceferin does not think VAR is ready to be used.
— Premier League Communications (@PLComms) April 13, 2018
Asked whether VAR would have helped in Madrid, he said: “Nothing [would have changed]. There are those who saw it 20 times, I’ve seen it 50, but for half it’s a penalty and for the other half it’s not.
“In Manchester City-Liverpool, it would have been useful on the disallowed goal. But then there are other problems.
“It’s early for VAR. One day, we’ll have it in the Champions League, but there is no hurry.
“The Champions League is like a Ferrari or a Porsche: you can’t drive it straight away, you need training, offline testing. Everyone has to understand how it works.
“I have some fear for the World Cup, where we will have referees who have never worked with VAR. I hope there are no problems, but it’s a unique tournament.”
Ceferin also criticised Gianluigi Buffon for his tirades against Michael Oliver during and after Juve’s clash with Madrid, which prompted the referee’s wife to receive abusive messages on social media.
“What he [Buffon] said was not right, he didn’t have to,” Ceferin added. “I understand the frustration and disappointment of losing a match in the 93rd minute.”
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