UEFA will share 100 million euros among the clubs who released players for the Euro 2012 and qualifying competition, the European Clubs Association (ECA) has confirmed.

The amounts range from 3.095 million euros in the case of Bayern Munich to a more modest 3,494 euros for English lower-tier club Barnsley, Finland’s Jyvaskyla and Turkey’s Bucaspor.

A total of 575 clubs will benefit from the so-called solidarity payments which are regarded as a form of compensation for the time players spend away from their clubs when they represent their country.

The other principal beneficiaries were Real Madrid (2.996 million euros), Barcelona (2.210 million), Manchester City (2.069 million) and Juventus (2.023 million).

FC Vaduz, who supply the majority of the Liechtenstein national side and play in the Swiss second division, received a significant windfall with 209,644 euros.

“I am delighted that we are able to provide clubs with financial benefits from UEFA Euro 2012 to reward their contribution to the competition,” said UEFA president Michel Platini, who acquiesced to growing pressure from the clubs to compensate for the release of players.

“We witnessed a truly fantastic UEFA European Football Championship final this summer, and I am pleased that the clubs can now also be associated with the event.”

Oh, don’t worry, they’ll be running it before too long.

Financial Fairplay kicks in

What UEFA gives away with one hand it takes with another. Yes, that’s right, the much discussed and eagerly anticipated Financial Fairplay (FFP) rules have claimed their first victims.

Twenty three clubs have had their prize money withheld as UEFA unveils the first sanctions. Among those punished were Europa League winners Atletico Madrid, Qatari-owned La Liga side Malaga and Portugal’s Sporting, who were found to have “important” overdue payments to other teams, their own employees or social and tax authorities.

The clubs will have to provide an updated report on September 30 to a UEFA committee led by former Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene.

“This … measure will remain in force until all identified balances have been settled in full or until a final decision by the (UEFA committee) is taken,” said UEFA.

These cases involve the following 23 clubs:
FK Borac Banja Luka (BIH)
FK Sarajevo (BIH)
FK Željezničar (BIH)
HNK Hajduk Split (CRO)
NK Osijek (CRO)
Club Atlético de Madrid (ESP)
Málaga CF (ESP)
Maccabi Netanya FC (ISR)
FK Shkendija 79 (MKD)
Floriana FC (MLT)
FK Budućnost Podgorica (MNE)
FK Rudar Pjevlja (MNE)
Ruch Chorzów (POL)
Sporting Clube de Portugal (POR)
FC Dinamo Bucureşti (ROM)
FC Rapid Bucureşti (ROM)
FC Vaslui (ROM)
FC Rubin Kazan (RUS)
FK Partizan (SER)
FK Vojvodina (SER)
Eskişehirspor (TUR)
Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)

Those of you wondering why the likes of PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City have not been found guilty of abusing the FFP rules can get to the back of a very long queue.

Taxing issue

Francois Hollande, the president of France, has said there will be no exemptions from his 75% tax on those earning more than €1 million a year – meaning a number of footballers will have to conform to the new rule.

He said: “It’s very important that those who are paid more than €1 million are also aware that it should be an example to be a patriot. We have to call on patriotism at this time.”

An argument that makes sense, although probably not to non-French nationals playing in the country. You wouldn’t want to be in the same room as Joey Barton when he opens his first Marseille pay packet and discovers that three quarters of his pay has been docked.

It is understood that around 25 people at Paris St Germain, where even the cleaners’ cleaners drive Porsches, would be affected by the new tax rate.

“This law has been known about for several months, and we respect the laws of the French government,” Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the PSG president, said. “We love France, we respect the regulations, we have no problem with that. We can’t change anything.”

What PSG have done already to appease their out-of-pocket players, is to increase the basic gross pay of players to reflect the new tax regime. It will be interesting to see how that one flies with FFP – especially as clubs are now expected to break even.

Italy gets its house in order

Sticking with the financial theme and the first indications – in Italy at least -that a sense of long-overdue economic realism is beginning to take root.

The Gazzetta dello Sport have published their annual review of Serie A salaries and it shows that unlike some of their continental counterparts, many clubs have taken action in view of the Financial Fair Play rules.

It’s an interesting list – in as much as financial lists can ever be interesting – not least because it illustrates why Milan were so desperate to remove the likes of Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva from their payroll.

Milan have cut their yearly wage bill by €60m, but they are still the biggest payers in the Italian top flight.

Club wage bill and highest earner:

Milan €120m (Pato €4m)
Juventus €115m (Buffon €6m)
Inter €100m (Sneijder €6m)
Roma €95m (De Rossi €6m)
Lazio €66.2m (Klose €2.1m)
Napoli €53.2m (Cavani €4.5m)
Fiorentina €38.8m (Jovetic €2.5m)
Sampdoria €29.8m (Palombo €1.5m)
Genoa €28.9m (Borriello €1.4m)
Bologna €28.4m (Gilardino €1.2m)
Atalanta €23.7m (Denis €1m)
Palermo €23.4m (Miccoli €1.2m)
Torino €22m (Bianchi €1.3m)
Udinese €21.2m (Di Natale €1.3m)
Parma €21.2m (Amauri €1m)
Siena €18.9m (D’Agostino €0.8m)
Catania €18m (Andujar €0.6m)
Cagliari €15.9m (Conti €0.75m)
Chievo €15.9m (Pellissier €0.8m)
Pescara €10.8m (Celik €0.4m).

Meanwhile, the top 10 earners in Serie A are:
Buffon (Juventus), De Rossi (Roma) and Sneijder (Inter) €6m
Totti (Roma) €5m
Cavani (Napoli) and Milito (Inter) €4.5m
Cambiasso (Inter)
Mexes (Milan), Pato (Milan) and Robinho (Milan) €4m.

Rafa, when he was the gaffer

Rafa Benitez has hit out at former Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett in his new book, ‘Champions League Dreams’, claiming the pair caused the financial problems that fatally undermined Liverpool’s domestic and European aspirations.

Well, he was never going to say it as his fault, was he.

As with all autobiographical works there is an element of protecting the myth about this effort, but there is also a concerted attempt by Benitez to play to the gallery as he eyes a return to Liverpool.

“Attempting to work in the transfer market that summer was almost impossible,” he said.

“We knew we would need cover and support for Fernando Torres, as David Ngog was still developing, and we had raised the cash to find it.


Benitez signing Ngog, one of 76 he signed in his six years with the club, is now ‘developing’ in the Championship with relegated Bolton.

“The player we identified to fill that role was Stevan Jovetic, a young Montenegro forward playing for Fiorentina in Italy.

“The funds we thought we had available would also have stretched to another central defender, to provide cover for Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger.

“The two players we had identified were Sylvain Distin, then with Portsmouth, and West Ham’s Matthew Upson, both boasting abundant Premier League experience.

“Signing one of those two, plus the tall, powerful, intelligent Jovetic, would have given Liverpool the squad we needed to build on the previous year’s title challenge, when we had run Manchester United so close.”

Alas for the Spaniard and his lofty aspirations, it was then that the club’s owners decided to pull the plug.

“Liverpool, though, was no longer a football club,” Benitez added.

“It was a business. The money, which we wanted to use to take Liverpool on to the next level, was all gone.

“For five years I had been a football manager at Liverpool.

“By the start of my sixth, it was clear I had become something else entirely. I was suddenly supposed to be a bank manager.


It’s disingenuous nonsense of course. Benitez spent more (both gross and net) than his closest rival, Sir Alex Ferguson, the man to whom all Liverpool managers of the past 25 years are inevitably compared. Notwithstanding the miracle of Istanbul, he achieved far less. This is not to belittle his time at Liverpool, merely to provide the context he appears to have overlooked.

Goal of the day

International week continues and our goal of the day comes from the Republic of Ireland’s 4-2 under-21 victory over Italy – achieved with 9 men! The pick of the goals came from Sean Murray, who burst down the right wing before delivering a delicate chip over the retreating keeper.

Quote of the day

“No, we won’t (lose). Don’t worry.”

United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann makes himself a hostage to fortune by predicting that his side will not lose against Jamaica tonight.

Naming rights

It seems that there is a limit to the extent of abasement the guardians of English football are prepared to tolerate.

Amid speculation that the FA was looking to sell naming rights for Wembley, a stadium official has told ESPN that the FA will not go down that route to raise funds.

“Wembley Stadium will remain Wembley Stadium,” a source said. “It is no secret that there are talks about major commercial partners, but there will be no naming rights for Wembley.”

Fans behaving badly

Lionel Messi and his Argentina teammates received a hostile reception when they landed in Lima ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Peru.

A bus carrying the team was pelted by stones on Monday, according to media reports. Windows of the bus were broken but none of the players or coaching staff were hurt.

When Messi emerged he was greeted by hundreds of fans who chanted ‘Cristiano’ in a bid to antagonise the world’s leading player.

Meanwhile, further north, the Canadian national team received a hostile welcome on their arrival in Panama.

The visitors were treated to a street party outside their hotel with music, honking car horns, lasers and fireworks.

Canada Soccer’s official Twitter account tweeted: “Hundreds of Panamanian fans gathered outside team hotel. Noise is deafening.”

Goalkeeping coach Paul Dolan said: “I have never seen anything this loud, disruptive & orchestrated in my 28 years in CONCACAF!”

Canada have been one of the surprise success stories of the North and Central American qualifying campaign so far. Following a 1-0 win in Cuba this summer, Canada earned a goalless draw against Honduras in June. After beating Panama last Friday, they need four points from their final three group matches to guarantee a top-two finish and secure passage to the next stage.

This was the scene outside their hotel last night.

It’s not about the money, money, money

Lassana Diarra says his move to Anzhi Makhachkala was motivated by a desire to play alongside Samuel Eto’o rather than the prospect of earning more money.

The 27-year-old left Real Madrid on transfer deadline day to sign a four-year contract with the Dagestan-based side.

The deal came as a surprise to many, with several clubs reported;y interested in signing the French midfielder.

“Spartak showed an interest in me this summer, but at that time I was only focused on Real Madrid,” said Diarra at his official presentation.

“Overall, I would not talk about the clubs that were interested in me. Anzhi were interested more than the others, but the most important thing for me is that Samuel Eto’o is here.

“He’s like a big brother to me. Why can’t we succeed together?”

The pair seem to have established a strong bond considering they have never played alongside each other and, given their respective career paths, it’s entirely conceivable that they have never even met.

Diarra also dismissed suggestions that he move to Anzhi for the money.

“It’s a new challenge for me. So far I’ve only been here a few days, but I’ve had time to train,” he said.

”I’ve been very well received and I thank you all. I believe Anzhi can push themselves to become champions, so why can’t I be?

“During my career I have played for some very prestigious European teams and, trust me, I’ve won enough titles and been paid enough. I did not come here for the money.

“Those who believe that should come to the games, analyse my performances and then tell me why they think I came to Anzhi.”

Tomorrow, read how Didier Drogba’s love of dim sum compelled him to accept the $250,000 a week salary offer from Shanghai Shenhua.