Despite the thoughts of many, football is not immune to a global recession, and that is exactly what is going to be caused by the coronavirus outbreak which has forced businesses and institutions to close, reports Mail.
As such, UEFA is evaluating the possibility of lifting the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules on clubs for a temporary period.
With matches being suspended across the continent, European clubs are starting to feel the pinch financially, with a decrease in income forcing clubs to adjust their pre-arranged budgets.
Without any further details having been given, leagues in both France and Italy have proposed cuts to salaries being paid to players.
At this point it seems inevitable that the economic landscape of football is going to be changed for the foreseeable future, with clubs losing a lot of money that they had either already spent or budgeted to have in the future.
Common sense would then dictate that keeping the Financial Fair Play rules in place, as they are currently, would be an unfair measure on every single club at this time.
Clubs have thus appealed to UEFA to change or abandon the current FFP format at this time, with Fox Sports Italia reporting that the governing body will soon meet with the International Football Association, the Association of European Clubs and representatives from various leagues to decide just what the next step on this topic is.
These groups will discuss the expected limits that can be expected on finances in football caused as a result of the COVID-19 virus and it’s hoped a plan to move forward will be agreed upon.
Clubs hope to suspend FFP entirely for one year, with many clubs expecting to move into significant debt in order to get their sporting projects back up and running once things get back to normal.
In life away from football we’ve already seen measures be brought into place to help people who are to be impacted by the long-standing interruption to everyday life.
The European Union suspended the stability pact that it held with each member country that will now allow them to spend more than they can afford in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
MARCA has consulted with UEFA sources who have confirmed that this meeting is merely a ‘first step’ towards a more widespread response to the current climate that has been created by the outbreak of the newest strain of coronavirus.
The FFP rules dictate that only an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of clubs can be considered as reasoning for suspending the FFP regulations in place.
What is Financial Fair Play?
UEFA launched the initiative in 2011 and it covers all clubs that participate in both the Champions League and Europa League.
In order to obtain permission to enter the tournament, clubs must show that they have no outstanding debts with other teams or players, and that they are up to date with the tax agencies in their respective countries.
In simplistic terms, the general rule of thumb for clubs since 2011 has been to not spend more than they earn, however since the 2014/15 campaign UEFA has assessed the financial figures for clubs over a period of three seasons.
UEFA acknowledge that there may be a reasonable level of debt for a club to be in created by the environment of football, so a spending margin is given to clubs as long as it is covered by a direct contribution from the club’s owner or sponsors.
For the season that has just ended, clubs are able to spend an additional 30 million euros, although that was expected to decrease for 2020/21 prior to the coronavirus crisis.