Court blocks UEFA plan for stricter Financial Fair Play rules

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UEFA’s hopes of lowering the maximum losses allowed under Financial Fair Play took a hit on Tuesday, as a Belgian court imposed an interim order blocking their plan.

European football’s governing body currently punishes any club that suffers more than approximately $50 million in losses over the course of a season, but was hoping to lower that number to about $33 million.

[ MORE: All Financial Fair Play rules ]

UEFA president Michel Platini is said to be hoping to ease FFP, but not at the expense of this rule. UEFA’s plan is to allow owners to spend their own money, not club money, if they want to dig deeper on player purchases.

Dynamo Moscow was recently banned from the Europa League for breaking FFP rules, while Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were among the clubs punished last season.

From the BBC:

Uefa claimed the Belgian court was “incompetent” and insisted its appeal “automatically suspends the ruling of the lower court”.

“It means that Uefa can proceed with the next phase of implementation of FFP,” it said.

The governing body’s statement added: “Uefa remains fully confident that FFP is entirely in line with EU law, and that the European Court will in due course simply confirm this to be the case.”

The Belgian court is asking the ECJ if Uefa’s ‘break-even rule’, the centrepiece of FFP, violates EU regulations on free competition, free movement of capital, freedom to invest and free movement of works and services.

That last part is the tricky portion of the idea. If clubs are willing to spend themselves into debt in pursuit of on-field glory, at the potential long-term damage to its club, should they be allowed to do so?