UEFA has revealed that 76 clubs in European competition this season – about one third of the total – are being investigated for possible breaches of its financial fair play (FFP) rules.
The 76 clubs all failed Uefa’s break-even calculations for 2012 and have been asked to provide financial information for 2013. Manchester City, and French club Paris St Germain are believed to be among the 76 clubs involved.
The clubs will all now have their finances assessed by the Club Financial Control Body to see if the breaches have continued and whether sanctions should apply.
Uefa general secretary Gianni Infantino said: “This figure of 76 clubs is a high figure but it has to be looked at in the perspective of what the end figure will be.”
Clubs face a range of sanctions, from a warning or a fine up to being forced to play in Europe with a salary cap on the squad, or even being barred from competing and having trophies stripped.
The sanctions will apply from the start of next season but, in April, Uefa will name the clubs that are facing possible action. Some clubs will be offered settlements if they agree to certain conditions, but clubs who have been found to have severely breached the conditions will be referred to the adjudicatory arm of the financial control body which will announce sanctions in the middle of June.
The only appeals will be straight to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Uefa expects final decisions will be made before the Champions League and Europa League group draws in August.
Uefa’s legal affairs director Alasdair Bell is anticipating a number of legal challenges. He said: “This will be no surprise to us. We are not afraid of them being contested.
“We fully anticipate there will be challenges – it would be strange if there weren’t. July and August could be a busy time.”
Chelsea are understood not to be one of the clubs facing investigation. The Blues made a £49.4 million loss last year but actually made a £1.4m profit in 2012 so are set to escape any action.
Among the English clubs, Manchester City would have the most to fear having returned losses of £97.9m in 2012 and £51.6m last year.