08 October 2008

Fiscal responsibility may be the new price of admission for UEFA tournaments

As the global financial crises mounts, UEFA is suggesting that they will use their considerable clout - in the form of UEFA tournaments - to force responsibility on to clubs in each of the participating organizations.

Currently, the only financial requirements for clubs entering UEFA competitions is that they do not owe money to other clubs and that they pay their staff.

However, today Michel Platini suggested that a new set of entry criteria be imposed; to include a tightening of the licensing requirements for UEFA competitions such that competing clubs are forced to declare their debt and outline their repayment plans.

It should be no surprise that EPL dominance over Champion's league contests may be in jeapordy given this move, considering that more than two thirds of the 3.5 billion pounds of debt in the Premiership is attributed to this year's four Champions League clubs - Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Fiscal responsibility and smart debt management is critical in professional soccer so I tend to like UEFA's incentive approach to the problem. This is not a punishment for debt spending; rather, a means to force a needed behaviour. To paraphrase the great US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, UEFA's plan may be just the antiseptic sunshine that the European leagues, particularly the EPL, need to keep their debt infections from turning deadly.

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