UEFA has warned Europe’s richest clubs, including Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, that they will not be able to “cheat” their way through Europe’s new financial fair play rules. A simulation based on the last three years of club revenues showed that 46 clubs would have failed UEFA’s break-even test. Of the 46, 20 had losses of more than $61 million over three seasons that would lead to an automatic ban from European competition.
Three of the 20 are believed to be super-rich Chelsea, Manchester City and PSG. In an interview with the Guardian, UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino suggested that that the jaw-dropping sponsorship agreements between Manchester City and Etihad ($157 million per season for four seasons) and PSG and the Qatar Tourism Authority ($315 million per season) might not be “fair value.” City is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who also happens to be chairman of Etihad Airways. Similarly, PSG is owned by the Qatari Investment Authority. Since both club and sponsor have the same owner, Infantino said an independent panel of experts would need to assess the “fair value” of these sponsorships.
"Everyone, including PSG, knows the rules and knows when they kick in,” Infantino said. “They know the rules are that they have to generate revenues to cover their costs without cheating.” Financial fair play goes into effect next spring, which means sanctions would be handed out for the 2014-15 season.