By Nick Harris
SJA Internet Sports Writer of the Year
4 December 2011
Officials from six Premier League clubs made discreet separate trips to Uefa headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland over the past five days to lay the groundwork for a ‘dry run’ test of Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations, Sportingintelligence can reveal.
Senior finance figures from Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham went to Nyon to get a first chance to see the specialist accounting software system that all clubs will be required to use as part of FFP monitoring.
The clubs are part of a Uefa FFP pilot project, and early in the new year they will test how they would have fared in recent times if FFP had already been in place, and they will also share internal financial forecasts for the next two years with Uefa ‘examiners’ to see if they’re on course to meet the FFP ‘break even’ requirements.
By the letter if Uefa’s rules, clubs shouldn’t lose more than £38.5m in 2011-12 and 2012-13 combined (the first monitoring period), and not lose more than the same amount in the the three years from this season either.
Uefa has yet to publish any formal list of punishments for infringement and is understood to be still deciding what they might be: but they will range from warnings to expulsion from European competition in extreme cases.
United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham should have little trouble meeting the rules in the early years, Chelsea probably need to make cuts and City are most in danger of missing the mark: they lost £194m in 2010-11 alone but insist they are heading in the right direction.
‘Uefa will be providing guidance on a club-by-club basis on what what will be allowed or not,’ a source says of the pilot project. ‘Each club will get a clear idea about whether they’re on track – and if not, what measures they might be able to take to avoid punishments.’
A source at one club said: ‘I’m sure we all have a pretty good idea where we are in compliance. It will be interesting to see Uefa’s stance as the pilot unfolds.’