Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool hope to avoid sanctions

Liverpool are expected to turn a near-£50million loss reported in 2013 into a profit last season - figures that the club are confident will mean they avoid any sanctions from UEFA for financial fair play (FFP) rule breaches.

UEFA has announced that Liverpool are one of seven clubs who did not play in European competition last season who are under investigation for potential FFP breaches.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said the club were "comfortable" with UEFA's action and it is understood the 2013-14 figures will show a profit when they are formally announced in the spring. That is a significant turnaround given that Liverpool made a loss of £49.8million for the 2012-13 season, and £40.5million for the 10-month period before that.

UEFA's FFP rules dictate that losses must be restricted to £35.4million over a two-year window so ending the 2013-14 season in the black - thanks to a combination of the bumper new Premier League TV deal, commercial income increases and cost-cutting - will be a huge boost to efforts to avoid sanctions.

The Merseyside club will also aim to write off a big chunk of losses as allowable stadium expenditure - the 2011-12 accounts reported that £49.6million was associated with Liverpool's stadium costs, £35million coming from former co-owner Tom Hick's aborted plan to build a new stadium on Stanley Park which current owners Fenway Sports Group had to scrap.

UEFA announced that Liverpool, Monaco, Roma, Besiktas, Inter Milan, Krasnodar and Sporting Lisbon are all being subjected to investigations relating to "potential break-even breaches'.

Rodgers said: "It's obviously something that will be dealt with by the directors. It's something we're comfortable with because we're great advocates of financial fair play. It's ongoing with the club."

UEFA will not withhold any Champions League or Europa League money from those clubs, but prize money has been held back from five clubs - Bursaspor, CFR Cluj, Astra Giurgiu, Buducnost Podgorica and Ekranas - as a result of "over-due payables" - non-payments to other clubs, players and/or tax authortities.

A UEFA statement read: "The CFCB (club financial control body) has opened formal investigations into seven clubs as they disclosed a break-even deficit on the basis of their financial reporting periods ending in 2012 and 2013.

''These clubs will need to submit additional monitoring information during October and November upon the deadlines set by the CFCB, subsequent to which an additional communication shall be made and conservatory measures may be imposed.''

Manchester City and Paris St Germain were the clubs hit hardest by UEFA last season for breaching FFP rules - they were each fined £49million and handed restrictions on transfer spending and a reduction in Champions League squad size.

UEFA said the impact of FFP was showing positive results.

The statement continued: "The introduction of the UEFA club licensing and financial fair play regulations has already had a very positive impact on the scale of overdue payables, as they have decreased from 57 million euros in June 2011 to eight million euros in June 2014.

"In addition, aggregate losses reported by Europe's first-division clubs in the 2013 financial year have gone down to 800 million euros from a record-reported deficit of 1.7 billion euros in 2011."

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