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Manchester City set to learn FFP fate

ESPN staff
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Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain will learn this week whether they are deemed to be in serious breach of UEFA's financial fair play rules.

The Club Financial Control Body's (CFCB) investigatory chamber, headed by former Belgium prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, is to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday to consider the cases of 76 clubs.

Those clubs considered to have committed serious breaches of UEFA's break-even rules will be referred to the CFCB's adjudicatory panel for a final verdict, with UEFA to announce details of all sanctions, which could include being barred from European competition, around May 5.

City relaxed about FFP case

  • Manchester City remain relaxed about UEFA's impending announcement if they have breached Financial Fair Play regulations and are still confident they have not breached the rules.
  • Citycould face a range of punishments, including being banned from European competition, if they are deemed to have overspent - but sources at the Etihad Stadium told ESPN they believe their financial figures stand up to scrutiny.
  • City made a loss of £51.6 million last year and £97.9m in 2011-12 while UEFA's rules limit clubs to losses of €45m (£37.1m) at two years. But that excludes spending on facilities and other infrastructure projects and City, who are developing a new training complex, have invested in the Etihad Campus.
  • Manager Manuel Pellegrini said he was not worried about the outcome of UEFA's Club Financial Control Body's findings.
  • "First of all it is important to know what UEFA will have to say and then we can have an opinion," Pellegrini said. "It is important for the club but I am not the person in charge of those kinds of things."
  • Paris Saint-Germain, who have been Champions League quarter-finalists this season and last, are also among the clubs reported to have breached UEFA's FFP rules.

Manchester City, who have lost £149 million in the past two seasons, and PSG are both understood to be among the 76 clubs under investigation. The CFCB panel will have four options open to them: to dismiss the case; to agree a settlement with the club effectively putting them on probation; to issue a reprimand and fine of up to €100,000 (£82,656); or, in serious cases, to refer the club to the adjudicatory chamber.

The clubs should therefore know their position, and how much they have to fear, by the end of the week. PSG are believed to be most at risk. The Qatari-owned club effectively wiped out its annual losses of €130m (£107,453,191) by announcing a back-dated sponsorship deal with the Qatar Tourism Authority. As it is a deal with a related party, however, the French club will have to convince UEFA the deal is a fair market value.

French newspaper L'Equipe reported last month that UEFA officials found the Paris club's officials "a bit haughty" in the discussions over FFP, but that Manchester City had been more convincing.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi insisted in January the sponsorship deal was not creative accounting.

"Our contract with Qatar Tourism Authority is not some accounting trick. It's the same contract we have with Emirates," said Al-Khelaifi. "There's no reason for UEFA to disagree. Everything is legal. Our lawyers are very competent."

Clubs can lose up to €45m (£37m) over the last two years under UEFA's rules.

City made losses of £97.9m in 2012 and £51.6m last year, but can write off sums spent on facilities, youth development and a number of other items. Other top English clubs have little to fear, with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United being in the black in both years.

Chelsea made a £49.4m loss last year but made a £1.4m profit in 2012 so will comply. Liverpool and other clubs such as Monaco, who are not playing in Europe this season, will not have to pass the FFP rules until next autumn, with any sanctions applicable in 2015.

Last month, Liverpool announced losses of £49.8m up to the end of May 2013, and a further £40.5m over the previous 10 months.

UEFA confirmed it would announce any decisions at the start of next month. A statement said: "UEFA does not provide any details about clubs' ongoing investigations as part of the monitoring process, nor will it comment on correspondence between the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) and clubs.

"UEFA will only communicate once decisions have been taken by the CFCB investigatory chamber, which we anticipate will happen at the beginning of May."

Clubs can appeal against any decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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