The European governing body’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) will meet Tuesday and Wednesday to investigate a slew of cases relating to possible breaches, with the two heavyweights believed to be among the total 76 clubs under the spotlight.
Under UEFA’s FFP rules, clubs must register soccer-related losses of no more than 45 million pounds for the three years ending June 2014, with year-on-year reviews determining whether they might realistically meet the targets put in place.
City and PSG have posted huge annual losses over the last two full seasons, but each have covered those deficits with controversial commercial deals worth hundreds of millions of euros. The Qatari-owned French champions have signed a 200-million-euro-a-year deal with the Qatar Tourism Authority, while the English League Cup winners signed a 475-million-euro sponsorship contract with Etihad and pumped millions into the formation of New York City FC and the rejuvenation of Melbourne Heart in Australia.
UEFA has said it will study the suitability of such cases very carefully, and a judgment is expected to be handed down by the CFCB’s investigatory chamber during its two-day meeting.
If outfits are deemed to have seriously breached the FFP regulations, they will be referred to the CFCB’s adjudication panel for a final verdict. Sanctions will then be announced by UEFA at the beginning of May. The two major clubs under investigation are both expected to appeal any sanctions they face, with a final adjudication by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) possible in every case.
However, former Chelsea chief-executive Trevor Birch told Goal recently that cases which go to CAS could well be played out by some of the world’s finest lawyers.
"Presumably, Manchester City and PSG are being very well advised," Birch said. "They have taken a view that what they have done is appropriate and will stand up to scrutiny by the Fair Play panel.
"On the face of it, it sounds feasible for them to have set up franchises in Australia and America, and for them to buy intellectual property there. But it will come down to the fine detail, and the accountants at City will have to sign off on it. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating in that once these start being adjudicated upon, these clubs will be represented by some very clever lawyers."
Sanctions imposed on those clubs failing to provide good reason for making losses outside of the regulations could range from transfer bans to suspension from UEFA competitions.
The regulations came into force from the summer of 2011 as part of a push for financial equality by UEFA president Michel Platini.