UEFA president Michel Platini has visited Italy, where he received a prestigious award in Rome on Monday before attending a sports journalists' seminar at the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) technical centre in Coverciano on Tuesday. During his visit, Mr Platini was also present at a meeting of the FIGC executive committee.
At Rome's Teatro Olimpico on Monday, Mr Platini was presented with the 'Le Ali della Vittoria 2011' prize in the international category, which is awarded by Italy's national amateur league, the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti, in recognition of human and professional services to European and world football.
The Italian sports journalists' seminar, organised by the FIGC and Italy's sports journalists union USSI, and the meeting with the FICG senior management gave Mr Platini the opportunity to explain UEFA's financial fair play measures aimed at protecting European football's long-term well-being, strengthening the integrity of the competitions, and stimulating long-term investment in areas such as youth development and the upgrading of sports installations.
The UEFA president – who was accompanied by the UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino – met with the FIGC president Giancarlo Abete, the Italian League president Maurizio Beretta and the presidents of several major Italian clubs. He explained that the measures introduced by UEFA were essential for football's future.
Implementation will take place over a three-year period and the fundamental break-even requirement – whereby clubs may not spend more than the income they generate – will come into force for financial statements in the reporting period ending 2012, to be assessed during the 2013/14 UEFA club competition season.
Mr Platini emphasised that the measures were not designed to punish clubs, but to help them, and that clubs were being urged to get their financial houses in order to put an end to the excesses which have placed many into considerable financial difficulty in recent times. Initial sanctions against clubs who do not fulfil the break-even requirement can be taken in the 2013/14 season.
The UEFA president stressed some of the figures which have emerged this month as part of the newly published third UEFA club licensing benchmarking report on European club finances. The report states that while football revenues had continued to rise – in the 2009 financial year, total revenues for top division clubs reached a record €11.7bn – increased costs had created net losses of €1.2bn, almost double the previous record.
Mr Platini highlighted the danger of a number of European clubs going out of business because of risky management – hence the absolute need for measures by UEFA from which, he said, there could be no retreat.
Last week, UEFA's financial fair play measures received a clear vote of support from the European Commission, through the commission's communication on sport, which backs many of UEFA's core values and key activities.
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