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Liverpool, Roma, Inter Milan, and Monaco to be Investigated by UEFA

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After missing out on Europe last season, UEFA's financial watchdog plans to take a closer look at Liverpool, Roma, Inter Milan, and Monaco's books to determine if they ran afoul of FFP.

Harold Cunningham

With Liverpool, Roma, Inter Milan, and Monaco returning to European competition this season after missing out last year, all four clubs are set to have their finances investigated by UEFA's financial control body. The clubs will be required to provide additional financial information to UEFA's finances watchdog in order to determine if they may have been in breach of Financial Fair Play over the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.

In this case, at least for Liverpool, an investigation is far from certain to lead to any charges. UEFA allows clubs to post losses of £35.4M over the two year period being investigated, but it also allows clubs to write off expenses related to stadium expenditure and youth development. Liverpool's posted losses over the 2011-12 season were £40.5M and £49.8M over the 2012-13 season. However, £49.6M of those losses were recorded as stadium costs.

If UEFA adjudge those losses to have been properly reported, it would mean the club would only be around £5M over spending after factoring out stadium expenses over the two-year period. With all youth development spending able to similarly be written off by the club for FFP purposes, it is unlikely—if UEFA accept that Liverpool's information is fair and accurate once they have examined it—that the club would end up having run afoul of FFP.

For those clubs back in Europe this season, if they were to be determined to have violated FFP—and of the four big clubs under investigation, Monaco seem the most likely to actually be charged with having done so—they would not be in line for the kinds of punishments meted out to Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. Instead, the most likely punishment would be UEFA withholding Champions League payments for the current season.