Okay, so, an assessment on any team in particular has been done and it seems it doesn't break even for the past two reporting periods.
Well, not a lot, in all honesty.
At this point, teams don't have to break even. In fact, they potentially never have to break even.
For starters, there is an allowance within the FFP rules for teams to have a "maximum aggregate deficit" of €5 million—in other words, they can fall €5 million short of breaking even with no penalty implied against them.
This is then increased to (a further) €45 million deficit for the first two rolling over assessment periods, assuming that the "equity participants"—what most people would call the owner, majority shareholder or investment vehicle that owns the club's parent company—are willing to foot the bill.
In laymen's terms, what that means is that the Roman Abramovich's of the world are allowed to spend almost €50 million more of their own money into the club, unaccounted for in terms of breaking even, over each of the next two monitoring periods.
From 2015/16 and for the three seasons thereafter, this will decrease to €30 million.
It is expected to continue to decrease in the future, though no date nor decision has been taken.
So... even with the €5 million acceptable deviation out the way, and the "rich owner's" €45 million investment taken care of, if the club is still showing nothing approaching breaking even, is it then in trouble?
If the side can show a positive downward trend in the annual break-even accounts of individual years, in addition to a solid future business strategy, then it can say that it is en-route to self-sustainability, it just simply hasn't arrived yet.
In addition, the club can attribute any high wages of players signed before June 2010 as a reason of failing to break-even over the reporting periods in question.
For those of you wondering, yes, Carlos Tevez's deal would come under that particular exemption, as he signed in 2009 for Manchester City.