UEFA is considering easing its Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules for Russian and Ukrainian clubs that are being hurt by their countries’ economic problems.
The FFP rules were introduced for the 2011-12 season to discourage clubs from spending beyond their means, with the threat that particularly profligate clubs would be barred from European competition.
With the Russian and Ukrainian currencies having dropped sharply in value over the last year, UEFA appears prepared to soften its stance on FFP.
UEFA told The Associated Press in a statement that the economic problems “may be taken into account as an exceptional circumstance and a mitigating factor” in FFP investigations, though no clubs will be exempted entirely from the regulations.
“The impact of the currency devaluation will need to be evaluated carefully and on a case by case basis,” UEFA added.
UEFA’s top FFP official Andrea Traverso visited Moscow last month for talks with the Russian Football Union, league and clubs.
Last month UEFA confirmed that two Moscow clubs, Lokomotiv and Dynamo, which are both in the running to qualify for next season’s Champions Leagu, were under investigation regarding possible breaches of FFP rules in their 2014 accounts.
Russian sides Zenit St. Petersburg, Rubin Kazan and Anzhi Makhachkala were all fined in May for breaching FFP rules.
Russia and Ukraine, have both seen their currencies fall sharply over the last year of political and economic turmoil. The Russian rouble has lost almost half of its value against the dollar since January 2014, while the Ukrainian hryvnya is down by nearly two thirds.
The currency falls have proved disastrous for clubs because most players are typically paid in dollars or euros
More recently, the financial struggles affecting Russia was illustrated by the country’s football federation failing to pay coach Fabio Capello for over seven months until February. Eventually, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov offered a helping hand to clear the deficit. Capello is paid in euros, making his salary significantly more expensive as the rouble plummeted.