Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has called for UEFA to get tough on clubs that exploit “back-door funding” through inflated sponsorship deals and expel those found guilty of such offences from European competition.
Watzke, speaking before his team’s clash against Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League last night, urged UEFA to investigate all sponsorship deals as part of the introduction of Financial Fair Play (FFP). Last year, City’s 10-year sponsorship deal with Etihad, reportedly worth £400 million, drew criticism from some quarters that it was an attempt to circumvent FFP rules. Etihad is the national airline of Abu Dhabi, whose ruler is the half-brother of City owner Sheikh Mansour.
“No tycoon should be allowed to pump crazy money into a club with sponsorship from five companies he controls,” Watzke said, according to the BBC. “If that happens, Financial Fair Play will fail.” He added: “Uefa must find the thin line between sponsorship and excessive back-door funding – they must show strength to expel big clubs.”
Last month, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino told the audience at the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco: “Let me remind clubs to adopt a prudent financial approach in their daily business, so as to be able to meet the requirements of the financial fair play rules that are being implemented for the future well-being of club football in Europe. UEFA and its Club Financial Control Body will not hesitate to take action should clubs not meet such requirements.”