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FFP rules relaxed over pandemic effects

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Quique Setien

Quique Setien

REUTERS

Quique Setien

UEFA has temporarily relaxed its break-even rule known as Financial Fair Play, saying it wants to make sure that clubs are not penalised for unforeseen losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic this season.

The ruling body said in a statement that clubs' accounts for the 2020 and 2021 financial years would be assessed together rather than separately, to give clubs time to recuperate from losses suffered during the last three months.

Under FFP, clubs are barred from spending more than the revenue they generate themselves and face fines and possible expulsion from European competition, as happened to Manchester City, if they break the rules, which were designed to stop rich club owners from buying success.

Yesterday's announcement is unlikely to mean that clubs can forget about FFP, go on a summer spending spree and hope to recoup the investment before their accounts are assessed again.

The monitoring period for club accounts has only been extended, not postponed.

UEFA pointed out that relaxation of FFP was intended to address "revenue shortfall due to Covid-19 and not financial mismanagement" and that its measures would "at the same time protect the system from potential abuses."

UEFA said it would also take into account losses in income from gate receipts, sponsorship and advertising, broadcasting rights, commercial activities and European competition prize money when making the break-even calculation.

UEFA also called on its member associations to harmonise the end of their summer transfer windows, with October 5 as the deadline date. It said the deadline for registering players for next season's Champions League and Europa League, which have been delayed as a knock-on effect of this season's interruption, would be October 6.

Meanwhile, Barcelona coach Quique Setien says UEFA should allow his side play the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Napoli at the Camp Nou in the interest of fairness.

Barca drew 1-1 at Napoli at a full and rocking San Paolo stadium but the second leg was postponed due to the pandemic and is one of four ties that still need to be settled before the quarter-finals can begin.

UEFA will hold a 'final eight' tournament in Lisbon in August in order to complete its flagship competition but has yet to decide where the remaining last-16 matches will take place.

Manchester City still need to host Real Madrid while Bayern Munich's match with Chelsea and Lyon's game with Juventus also need to be played, and UEFA says the venues will be finalised before the quarter-final draw on July 10.

"I want to play the game in our stadium because if we don't we give an advantage to our opponents who played the first leg in their stadium and with loads of supporters roaring them on," Setien said.