Uefa on Tuesday imposed its first financial fair play sanctions with the announcement that it was suspending payments for 23 teams involved in this season’s European club competitions, including reigning Europa League champion Atlético Madrid, Málaga and Portugal’s Sporting Club.
European soccer’s governing body introduced the rules to force clubs to operate within their means, and Uefa’s Financial Control Body (CFCB), chaired by former Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, required that “clubs participating in 2012/13 Uefa club competitions had to provide the status of any overdue payables as at 30 June 2012.”
After a CFCB meeting at the end of August, Uefa has now stated that “important overdue payables towards other clubs, and/or towards employees or social/tax authorities existed in 23 cases,” and as such, will hold back any prize money to the clubs in question “until all identified balances have been settled in full or until a final decision by the CFCB adjudicatory chamber is taken.”
Last season four players from Malaga — which has qualified for the Champions League for the first time — launched complaints with Spanish soccer authorities that they had not been paid, amidst rumors the club’s billionaire owner Sheikh Abdullah al Thani had “lost interest” in soccer. Uefa Super Cup winner Atlético has over 500 million euros of unpaid debts, whilst Sporting is up to 400 million in arrears.