In 2010, ECA officially endorsed the initiative for a more sustainable football club business model, Financial Fair Play. ECA has been committed to the Financial Fair Play project ever since and has been instrumental in creating the regulations and overall framework. ECA, via the Finance Working Group and the Financial Fair Play Panel, work collaboratively with UEFA to develop the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations to ensure the financial sustainability of European football clubs.
The ECA Finance Working Group has featured heavily in the consultation process leading up to the development of regulations, as well as the Financial Fair Play Panel which seeks to collaborate with UEFA in order to further elaborate, implement and assess the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations.
UEFA Club Licensing & Financial Fair Play Regulations 2015-18
With the start of the 2015/16 season, the new UEFA Club Licensing & Financial Fair Play Regulations came into force, further contributing to the positive evolution of Financial Fair Play as a whole. ECA, via the Finance Working Group and the Financial Fair Play Panel, continues to collaborate constructively with UEFA at the forefront of the project. The updated regulations, which came after a two-year collaborative and consultative process, encourage more growth and development, inclusivity and market stimulation through a careful broadening and refinement of the requirements, taking into consideration the economic environment and the experience gained over the previous five years.
The updated financial fair play (FFP) regulations address situations where clubs have undergone a recent business restructuring or takeover and occasions where clubs wish to invest sustainably within the spirit and essence of FFP. Under these circumstances club monitoring will increase and broaden in scope through the application of rigorous conditions. Furthermore, the amendments take into account disadvantages faced by clubs due to sudden economic shocks or severe market structural deficiencies within its operating region. The regulations also include a strengthening of the overdue payables criteria and new determination of related parties. All of these enhancements further encourage responsible investors and stakeholders to continue to contribute to the strong and healthy growth of club football in Europe.
The club licensing criteria of the regulations have also been expanded to encourage inclusivity, promote integrity and increase awareness. Refinements improve youth education and coaching quality by requiring educational programmes that focus on the problems and dangers of match-fixing and a minimum standard of youth coaching qualifications. In addition, expenditures related to youth and women's football development are now excluded from the break-even calculation to incentivise more development in these programmes. In order to foster inclusiveness and accessibility, the updated club licensing regulations now require clubs to appoint a disability access officer to assist in improving stadium facilities and access for disabled supporters.
Financial Fair Play 2.0
In June 2017, a meeting took place at the UEFA Headquarters between representatives from the ECA FFP Panel and the UEFA FFP Department.
The meeting served to kick-off the consultation process on a possible evolution of the objectives of the current Club Licensing & Financial Fair Play Regulations and the technical amendments in relation thereto. UEFA and the FFP Panel agreed that the current FFP rules, as introduced in 2009, led to significant positive results, particularly in terms of reduced aggregated losses and the financing of clubs. Both parties expressed their willingness to discuss the possibility of using FFP as a tool to address new strategic themes by adding new objectives on top of the existing FFP scheme.
ECA will continue to engage with UEFA on this important matter in the coming months.