Marseille keep Champions League place despite breaking UEFA FFP rules

Dimitri Payet MarseilleGetty Images

Marseille will retain their place in the 2020-21 Champions League, despite breaching UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

Having finished second to Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 during the aborted 2019-20 campaign, OM won a place back in Europe’s premier competition for the first time in six years but faced a nervous wait for their passage to be stamped due to their financial issues.

While UEFA has backed OM to compete at Europe’s top table next season, a variety of sanctions have been placed upon the Mediterranean club. Firstly, they will forfeit 15% of the prize money they earn in European competition over the next two seasons, while the 2018 Europa League runners-up will also be limited to naming a squad of 23 senior players for the next three campaigns.

Additionally, they have been forced to pay a €3 million (£2.7m/$3.3m) fine. 

Marseille have come under the eye of UEFA as they failed to abide by previous FFP sanctions laid upon the club by UEFA. The Stade Velodrome side had to pay a €2m fine previously, and they had agreed not to exceed a loss of €30m this season while keeping a limit on player salaries compared to overall revenue.

Andre Villas-Boas’ side are, therefore, likely have to watch their budget closely as they approach next season, though the squad was already rather threadbare as they surpassed expectations with their runners-up finish in Ligue 1 last term.

Villas-Boas used only 23 senior players throughout the campaign, including veteran midfielder Luiz Gustavo, who departed the club for Fenerbahce in August.

Already this summer, Marseille have been threatened with the loss of a string of important players, including creative midfielder Morgan Sanson and centre-backs Boubacar Kamara and Duje Caleta-Car as well as promising teenager Isaac Lihadji, who rarely featured last season due to a contract dispute with the club. 

Clubs can be banned for severe breaches of FFP, which is designed to stop unchecked spending that could lead to long-term financial problems for clubs, although detractors point out that the current system has simply served to create a stronger powerbase for established clubs who have strong support and strong commercial ties. 

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