UEFA Chief Executive Gerhard Aigner hopes that the hard financial lessons learned by many clubs in recent times will help create a more stable economic climate for football in future years.
Mr Aigner, who retires as CEO of European football's governing body at the end of the year, believes that UEFA's new club licensing system will help create a saner environment after a period when many clubs took spending to excessive limits. He said that UEFA was doing its utmost to help clubs generate revenue, adding that the clubs themselves were taking a realistic view of football's new economic circumstances.
"In the blooming years, we had clubs going to the borderlines of their economic capacity and beyond," the UEFA Chief Executive said. "Some of the clubs have obviously not been very wise.
When you want to create reserves for less fortunate times, you have to do it when you have the money, not when the money is no longer there. But as always, these bitter lessons are sometimes very useful to help improve the general situation."
UEFA plans to introduce its new club licensing system in time for the 2004/05 season, with the aim of providing a framework for clubs to run themselves more efficiently. The system has various objectives to improve quality standards in European football - including improvement of clubs' economic and financial capabilities, through the installation of appropriate financial tools, as well as the adaptation of their sporting, administrative and legal infrastructures to meet UEFA's requirements. Only clubs which are financially healthy and forward-looking in their planning will be granted a licence and, with it, a route into the UEFA club competitions.
'Doing our utmost'
"We are doing our utmost to help clubs generate money, and we hope we can satisfy the clubs as much as possible in today’s circumstances," Mr Aigner said. "We have important changes in some of the markets. This is quite clear to the clubs, since they have experiences with the same rights on a national level, and they know perfectly well what can be realistically achieved today, and what cannot."
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