UEFA Relaxes Financial Fair Play Rules, Sets Transfer Deadline Date

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UEFA has temporarily softened its financial fair play (FFP) rules to help clubs impacted by the economic fall-out of the coronavirus crisis and set October 5 as general transfer deadline across Europe as it wants a harmonised European transfer window ahead of next season’s Europe campaigns.

The Europen Football governing body established the Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFP) in September of 2009; the rule stated that over a three-year period, clubs competing in European competition are not permitted to lose more than 30 million euros ($33.7m).

However, given the damage done to the footballing economy by the interruption to the sport caused by the pandemic, UEFA has agreed to a loosening of the rules which, it says, "aim at addressing the actual problem which is revenue shortfall due to COVID-19 and not financial mismanagement".

It means that clubs will be given longer than usual to show they have met payments owed on transfers and salaries, while "the assessment of the financial year 2020 is postponed for one season, and will be assessed together with the financial year 2021".

These measures do not impact on decisions already taken before the crisis, so, for example, French club Marseille are still set to be punished after they were referred in March to the adjudicatory chamber of UEFA's Club Financial Control Body for not complying with an agreement to balance their books. Manchester City has been banned from Europe for two years and handed a 30 million-euro fine for serious breaches of FFP regulations between 2012 and 2016.

The English club has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, which will announce its judgement on the case in July. The FFP rules were brought in to combat growing debt in European football.

Following its latest executive committee meeting held via videoconference, UEFA said clubs would have until October 6 to register players for the group stage of next season’s European club competitions.

On Wednesday it was announced that the 2020-21 Champions League would start on October 20, with the Europa League group stage starting two days later.

Earlier in the week, the body announced that this season’s Champions League, Europa League, and the women’s Champions League would be completed with a “final eight” straight knock-out format in Lisbon from August 12 to 23.

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