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Financial Fair Play has club backing: Uefa

sports Updated: Aug 09, 2013 19:40 IST

Uefa general secretary Gianni Infantino has pleaded for confidence in Financial Fair Play, given question marks about whether continued big spending in European leagues flout the new rules designed to curb debt.

Spanish giants Real Madrid in particular have come under scrutiny after reports suggested that the club would pay star striker Cristiano Ronaldo €17 million ($22.7 million) a year and make a world record bid for Tottenham winger Gareth Bale.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said last week that Real's reported offer of nearly €100 million for Wales international Bale "makes a joke" of the new rules.

But Infantino said in an interview with AFP that there were no restrictions on how much clubs spend, provided they had the funds in place.

"Every club is free to act according to the revenues that it generates," he said.

"The system has to be sound. Insofar as a club is able to make transfers and pay salaries while respecting the rules there's no issue."

Problems only occurred "when you spend more than you earn and you live beyond your means", he added.

Infantino also said that it was up to independent bodies to decide whether big-spending, foreign-owned clubs such as French Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco have adhered to the rules.

"Everyone knows the rules. You've got to have confidence. You can't think that people want to dodge it," he added.

Financial Fair Play, introduced by UEFA with the agreement of clubs, is designed to rein in excessive spending on players and to reduce losses, with the threat of sanctions for non-compliance including exclusion from European competition.

Spanish side Malaga were the first to fall foul of the system, when they were banned from competing in either the Champions League or Europa League for one season from this year due to outstanding debt payments.

The Andalusians - quarter-finalists in last season's Champions League - appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in June but lost.

"Financial fair play is working very well," Infantino continued. "It's been in place for a while and has become the bread of butter of everyone in football.

"It's now ingrained in everyone. People in the game realise that we've got to do something to stop the spiral of losses.

"But the success of financial fair play won't be measured by the number of clubs excluded or punished.

"The key to success to its success will be in the figures that will be finalised and published on August 29 in Monaco, where we will have very, very good news.

"Payment arrears have already gone down by 40 percent between 2011 and 2012."