UEFA has reportedly punished Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain for breaching the financial fair play guidelines, handing both teams a Champions League squad cap, major fine and wage restrictions, after failing to fall in line with new financial regulations.
Martin Ziegler of the Press Association revealed the details:
Man City's FFP sanctions: 21-man CL squad instead of 25; 60m euro fine over 3 years; no rise in CL squad wage bill allowed. Same as for PSG.— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) May 6, 2014
It is worth noting neither club has confirmed the sanctions, per Ziegler:
Sanctions not been confirmed by either party, but obtained via sources. L'Equipe also running PSG sanctions today.— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) May 6, 2014
While it may seem both teams have gotten off lightly after UEFA threatened exclusion from European competition, the aforementioned disciplinary procedures throw up plenty of problems for both sides of the Channel.
Do you think UEFA's reported sanctions are severe enough?
The squad cap's implications cut far deeper than having a lack of options to choose from. Top players already at the club may be forced out of the squad as managers select a group of only 21.
Potential transfer targets may also look elsewhere when deciding to join in fear of missing out, while current squad members are likely to feel unwanted if they aren't included in the final 21. Considering UEFA has also imposed a wage limit for the competition, high earners could find themselves withdrawn from the tournament to ensure no further breaches are made.
At City, individuals such as Alvaro Negredo, Gael Clichy and Stevan Jovetic all failed to start more than half of this year's Champions League ties, per WhoScored. Jovetic, while injured for parts of the season, didn't make a single appearance.
PSG also have world-class players on the periphery. Javier Pastore, Lucas Moura and Jeremy Menez are amongst those who started 50 percent or less of this year's European ties.
Youngsters such as Adrien Rabiot and Lucas Digne may also have their development interrupted, although their lighter wage packets could see them provided with additional time if deemed essential when sticking to this year's limits.
An alleged fine of €60 million (roughly £49.3 million) means both sides are set to miss out on key transfer targets over the coming years. Putting that in terms of player valuation, Edinson Cavani cost PSG £56.7 million at the start of the current season, per TransferMarkt.
UEFA president Michel Platini has certainly taken a strong step along the road to eliminating "financial doping," per Richard Conway of BBC Sport.
The governing body's new system ensures losses can total £37 million during each of the 2011-12, 12-13 and 13-14 seasons, while the number lessens to £25 million the year after. This continues to drop until 2018, ensuring restrictions are tighter every 12 months, per Conway.
While UEFA will reportedly receive at least €120 million in fines across the next three years, it does not know what to do with the money yet, highlighted by Ziegler:
Have asked UEFA what happens to the money from any FFP fines. "Still to be decided" is the answer.— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) May 6, 2014
UEFA's punishment appears hefty, especially as sanctions for such offences are in their infancy. Further breaches from either club—which is more than possible considering the next set of accounts to be judged is already filed—could be even sterner.
While expulsion from European competition is the most instantly shocking disciplinary procedure, UEFA's triple whammy will have City and PSG worried. Both teams have spent lavishly in previous seasons after receiving prosperous financial takeovers, but it seems the monetary advantage is set to take a backseat until accounts effortlessly make it into the black each year.
Worryingly for City fans, the Manchester Evening News indicates they are the "furthest away from reaching any final settlement" with UEFA after "strongly challenging" the fine. The report also noted a total of nine teams face sanctions.
It remains to be seen just how deeply such implications alter the output of England and France's likely champions. UEFA has proven it means business with punishments that are likely to be insidious as time moves on.
This situation will progress quickly, and both clubs can be expected to make a public response now their expected penalties are known. UEFA's ruling is sure to embarrass those affected, harming the image of any team caught up in such a mess.