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UEFA boss asks European politicians to help cut rich-poor divide

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UEFA boss asks European politicians to help cut rich-poor divide

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By Brian Homewood GENEVA (Reuters) – UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said on Wednesday that European legislation is holding back the implementation of measures which could reduce the gap between rich and poor soccer clubs on the continent. The Slovenian reiterated at the UEFA Congress that restoring competitive balance between clubs was the priority of Europe’s soccer’s governing body but said it needed help from European politicians. “We will not be afraid to take firm, bold action to… ensure that smaller teams can continue to compete in the big league and that we keep the dream alive for all,” he said. “This is what makes football so special. We must protect it before it’s too late. But we must be allowed to do so.” The UEFA chief did not specifically mention which pieces of legislation were a hindrance but he outlined measures UEFA could take to level the playing field amongst clubs. “If European and national legislation were to allow it, we could envisage, with more guarantees and greater certitude, a whole arsenal of concrete measures to make the game fairer and better regulated, and improve its ethics and solidarity,” he said. He added that such measures would include “salary caps, luxury tax, squad limits, the evolution of Financial Fair Play (FFP), reforms of the transfer system, the creation of a clearing house to control money flows (and) restrictions on the commissions paid to players’ agents.” FFP rules ban clubs from spending more than their generated revenue, a policy introduced to prevent rich owners from trying to buy success and distorting the transfer market. Ceferin said he “could not agree more” with European politicians that greater sporting balance was needed in soccer. But he added: “I cannot say that you (European politicians) have done much to help us set things straight so far.”

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Ken Ferris)
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