Spanish side Malaga CF have received a ban from playing a UEFA European competition for at least one season, as UEFA for the first real time punish those who are failing to comply with their Financial Fair Play rule.
UEFA gave punishments to 8 of the 9 clubs who were believed to have broken the regulations, with Malaga the most notable side.
The ban however, will not exclude them from this season Champions League campaign, with their last 16 tie against Portugese champions, FC Porto drawn yesterday.
UEFA stated the bans for all 8 clubs was;
“Due to the presence of significant overdue payables balances.”
However Malaga have replied with their own statement swiftly;
“Malaga wishes to express its total disagreement at the decision issued today by Uefa, and considers the intended actions against the club to be completely unjustified,”"The club believes they are being made a ‘scapegoat’ and an ‘example of’ by Uefa by this unfair treatment.”
The club were also fined 300,000 Euros and will face another seasons ban if they fail to prove by the end of March 2013 that they have;
“no overdue payables towards football clubs or towards employees and/or social/tax authorities”
The news is yet another negative in off the pitch issues, following a transfer ban issued in January and several big name departures, including the now Arsenal midfielder, Santi Carzola.
The claim they are being made an “example of by UEFA” could in a way be true, with them being the first real big(ish) club to receive a punishment regarding their rules – thus warning all others that the regulations may well be taken seriously.
It comes in stark contrast to the good news of the Rich Quatri family that took over the club in 2010, and last season’s 4th placed finish in La Liga.
Among the other punishments 2 Croatin clubs, 2 Romain clubs and 1 from Serbia have been banned from any European competition should they qualify within the next 3 seasons.
Another club from Serbia and 1 from Ukraine have also been fined.
UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations were first agreed in principle in 2008, but last season was the first were it effectively came into play. The strictness and severity of the rules is expected to continue over the next decade so that clubs can no longer spend more than they earn.
However, for clubs such as Arsenal, the idea can’t come into fruition soon enough, with their major shareholders frequently telling fans that when others are no longer able to spend, Arsenal will be a similar and safe position like they always have been and therefore won’t fall victim to UEFA’s actions.
For real football fans, the news today does come as a positive as it shows the first bit of true action taken by UEFA on clubs who are failing to run a club correctly, and instead are trying to buy their way to success.
But, it won’t be until several notable and big European sides are excluded that we can truly say UEFA is doing the right thing in order to keep the game in a state of sanity – it’s already getting too late.
Would UEFA really punish the likes of Manchester United or Barcelona if they were to fail to comply with the regulations? Or would such an act be to detrimental to UEFA’s Champions League entertainment and reputation? It is a question that one can only wait for now, but we hope, not for bans, but for the major European clubs’ spending to be reduced if it is not fee-sable.
By Stowe Gregory @stowegregory