UEFA threatens to ban clubs in debt

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UEFA chief executive David Taylor yesterday warned that clubs who run up unsustainable debts may be barred from European competition in the future.

Speaking at the Leaders in Football conference, Taylor said: ‘There would be forms of communication, even warnings or reprimands, before one got to a situation of exclusion but it is absolutely possible.’

The concerns focus on fair competition as clubs who run up huge, unsustainable debts can – in the short term – dominate by hoarding the best players. The longer term consequences can of course be disastrous.

It’s ironic that these concerns were raised at Stamford Bridge, venue for the Leaders in Football conference, as Chelsea are one of the most indebted clubs in the world.

Earlier this year UEFA president Michel Platini attacked the west London club, along with Champions League winners Manchester United, over their levels of debt. Liverpool are also thought to be on his radar along with various Spanish and Italian clubs.

Following Lord Triesman’s comments on Tuesday it is clear that there is an appetite within the FA to regulate debt, whether the attitude is shared by the clubs is another matter.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has defended the vast sums owed saying it was ‘acceptable’ and common practise in business so long as debt is proportionate to income and the levels of risk were properly assessed.

One thing is for sure though, at a time when fans are paying more than ever to watch a game of football, you have to ask. How did they get themselves into this mess?