Marseille fined by UEFA but keeps Champions League place

Marseille will pay a fine of three million euros to UEFA for breaching Financial Fair Play rules, but has escaped a Champions League ban.

Marseille

Marseille will retain its place in next season’s Champions League but will forfeit 15 percent of its European competition prize money over the next two seasons.   -  Getty Images

French club Marseille has been ordered to pay a fine of three million euros ($3.4 million) to UEFA on Friday for breaking the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

UEFA said the American-owned club will retain its place in next season’s Champions League but will forfeit 15 percent of its European competition prize money over the next two seasons.

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Marseille’s place in the group stage of next season’s Champions League is worth tens of millions of euros. The three French clubs in the competition last season each got at least 41 million euros ($46 million) from UEFA.

Marseille’s squad will also be limited to 23 senior players instead of 25 for the next three seasons in UEFA club competitions.

The team, coached by Andres Villas-Boas, was in second place behind Paris Saint-Germain when the league was ended early amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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The latest sanctions replace a settlement Marseille agreed to with UEFA last year for earlier breaches of Financial Fair Play rules which cost the club an initial 2 million euros ($2.2 million).

Marseille had agreed not to exceed a loss of 30 million euros ($33.6 million) under FFP calculations this season, and limit the ratio of player salaries compared to overall revenue.

UEFA’s signature FFP policy is aimed at stopping reckless spending on salaries and transfer fees, and can lead to bans from European competitions in the most severe cases.

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Clubs which qualify for the Champions League or Europa League are required to submit accounts and show they have approached break-even on their player trading and commercial deals without relying on bailouts from wealthy owners.

Critics of FFP say it protects storied clubs with huge fan bases and commercial partners from being challenged by ambitious rivals.

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