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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Financial Fair Play Sanctions Succeeding In Limiting Teams’ Creative Spending

  • Juventus and Chelsea received significant punishments for separate violations.
  • Manchester City could eventually face sanctions after being accused of breaking rules.
Juventus' captain Leonardo Bonucci leads team out of tunnel ahead of game
Juventus FC

The ability of international soccer teams to skirt rules around spending limits is slowly but surely growing more difficult.

Juventus has been given a one-year ban from European competition and a $22 million fine by UEFA, while Chelsea has been fined $11 million for separate violations of FIFA’s Financial Fair Play rules. Due to a previous violation, the Italian club had already been deducted points in Serie A and was only due to compete in the third-tier Europa Conference League.

The punishments are signals that UEFA is serious about curbing “creative” accounting habits, longtime sports lawyer Irwin Kishner told Front Office Sports. “To the extent that creativity comes in,” Kishner explained, “I think it’s being somewhat limited now.”

It’s particularly timely given the similar situation surrounding defending Premier League and Champions League titleholders Manchester City, a club that has been accused of breaking FFP rules — so far without sanctions. 

If and when a ruling on Man City comes down, fans can expect the club to work together with UEFA for a fair outcome.

Kishner, co-chair of the sports law group at Herrick, Feinstein LLP, speculated that the Juventus and Chelsea punishments were agreed to by all parties after some back-and-forth. “I strongly suspect these were cooperative resolutions and ultimately wound up in the right place,” he said.

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