Champions League - Paper Round: UEFA threaten City, Chelsea and PSG

Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris St Germain have been told that they won't be able to cheat their way around the UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations, according to a report in The Times.

Champions League - Paper Round: UEFA threaten City, Chelsea and PSG

View photo

2011-12 Premier League Manchester City celebrate with trophy

The paper claims that the owners of all three clubs have been "warned" that there will be forensic scrutiny of the "recent record-breaking sponsorship deals that critics claim were inflated in value to offset huge losses incurred by clubs on transfer market spending sprees.

"These include City’s £400 million sponsorship contract with the Etihad Airways, which is closely linked to the club’s Abu Dhabi-based owner, and PSG’s £125 million-a-year deal with the Qatar Tourism Authority, a branch of the sovereign wealth fund that owns the Ligue 1 club."

The paper suggests that PSG are the club with most to fear: "While City’s ten-year deal included stadium naming rights and shirt sponsorship, the French club’s four-year deal excluded both."

The Times quotes UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino saying: "We have a regulation which speaks about fair value of deals and the fact that a related party cannot just inject money into a club directly or indirectly."

Most of the back pages are full of hand-wringing over a different kind of controversy: the football match-fixing scandal, with most of the front and back pages giving the wide-ranging investigation some coverage.

You can read the details of the corruption proceedings in our story but several of the papers do their best to offer alternative viewpoints to the main facts.

View photo


The Daily Mirror digs up former match-fixer Peter Swann, a one-time England defender who was part of a scandal back in the 1960s, to give his view in a gloomy piece headlined "You will never beat the cheats".

"Where there’s money there will always be cheating," he says. "Where there’s money involved you can either win it or you can throw it away. And it’s true what they say. Money is the root of all evil."

That's obviously not entirely true - the aphorism is actually "the love of money that's the root of all evil" - and in any case it's a truism that would be faintly ridiculous to anyone who has ever been caught up in terrorism, or even the rage of a jealous lover.

There is also an implicit suggestion that since you'll never beat the cheats it's scarcely worth trying to do so, an idea attacked by the Daily Telegraph's Henry Winter in a piece entitled "Match-fixing virus must be stopped now before English football is dragged under".

"One of the many selling points of the Premier League in the global rights market is its reputation for honesty, for a perception that any mistakes made by players or officials stem from incompetence rather than illegality," he adds. "It is this image of sporting integrity that helps keeps the broadcasting billions rolling in."

It's a bizarre assertion; we're pretty sure that what keeps fans entertained is the aggregation of highly talented players from around the world going at each other in the classic English blood-and-thunder style each week. But it's hard to disagree with the gist of his argument that "the price of continued prosperity and probity is eternal vigilance".

The Times takes an interesting angle, running a piece written by a betting consultant for UEFA about some of the particular matches that were fixed. Ivo Romano writes specifically about a pair of friendlies played in Turkey, Latvia v Bolivia and Estonia v Bulgaria. The games were played in virtually empty stadiums, while each attracted around £4 million in betting. All seven of the goals scored were from penalties awarded by a match official who was later banned from refereeing.

It might all be circumstantial evidence - but what circumstantial evidence!

There is not much transfer gossip about, though The Sun runs a story - as part of its England v Brazil preview - that Neymar will refuse any move to Europe until after the 2014 World Cup, while the Daily Express reports that Manchester City are keeping tabs on Real Madrid's 19-year-old utility man Raphael Varane.

And finally, a cracking snippet from the Daily Mirror reporting that Italy coach Cesare Prandelli - whose appearance resembles that of a Latin Quentin Willson before he lost his hair - will ditch the Brylcreem and get a mohican if Mario Balotelli leads Italy to glory in the 2014 World Cup.

View comments (214)