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Champions League

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Commission gives FFP clean bill of health

The European Commission has given Uefa's financial fair play (FFP) rules a clean bill of health, stating that they are compatible with EU competition law.    This might seem to be a surprising decision, given that many sports lawyers have argued that the rules are in conflict with competition law.   However, the Commission was extensively consulted about the rules.

City decision may be delayed

A decision on the sanctions to be applied to Manchester City under Uefa's financial fair play rules has been expected for some time now.  Indeed, the details of the Uefa offer including a £49m fine and player restrictions has been widely leaked, although it was clear that the club was unhappy with the proposed settlement.

However, the chair of the Uefa panel, former Belgian prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, has been ill and he has now passed away.   This may result in a further delay in a decision.

Uefa tone down financial fair play threats

It looks as if Uefa is backing down from a confrontation with leading clubs over its financial fair play rules. Michel Platini has announced that no club will be banned from the Champions League or Europa Leage next season.   Of course, they could still receive transfer bans and big fines.

The rich get richer in European football

Critics of the Premier League get a boost when clubs from the English top flight fail to progress.  With the success of Manchester United yesteday evening, two of the eight clubs in the quarter finals are English.  David Conn must have been choking over his cornflakes.

Uefa investigating 76 clubs under financial fair play

UEFA is investigating 76 unidentified Champions League and Europa League clubs for potentially breaking the Financial Fair Play rules designed to curb excessive spending. Chelsea are thought not to be under investigation, but Manchester City are.

The first sanctions against clubs will be announced in April, UEFA announced today. Clubs involved in more serious cases will also be identified then, with UEFA setting a June deadline to publish verdicts ahead of the qualifying round draws for next season's competitions.

Implications of BT deal sinking in

The implications of BT winning Champions League football are still sinking in. Whether it is a good deal for BT shareholders is a matter for discussion. Most Champions League matches are only a big attraction to the fans of the club involved. Sky say that they account for only 3 per cent of their viewership compared with 18 per cent for the Premier League.

BT's Champions League coup

BT is understood to have won the rights from Uefa to televise the Champions League and the Europa League for three years from 2015. Under the present deal worth £400m the lion's share of the games go to ITV rather than Sky.

BT is thought to have paid almost £1 billion, double what the former two companies paid to share the current contract in 2011. Uefa had hoped for £600m so its hopes have been exceeded. Some of the extra money will find its way into Champions League prizes, making the financial importance of qualification even greater.

Sky links up with Twitter

British Sky Broadcasting has teamed up with Twitter to share video highlights of Uefa Champions League football in real time. Sky's plan to share some of its most valuable sports clips free with social media users is a coup for Twitter.

Starting today with three Champions League games including Barcelona against Milan, the Sky Sports Twitter account will share highlights including instant replays of the best goals and post-match interviews. The aim of the project is to promote Sky's sports channels and its internet service Now TV.

BSkyB hit by battle with BT

Although BSkyB has taken a hit from its battle with BT, its quarterly results were better than expected. Even so, it has had to spend more on content and marketing. However, the real beneficiaries of the competition are top clubs who are likely to receive even more for televising their matches.

It's getting tougher at the top says Wenger

Arsene Wenger reflected changing global geopolitical realities and the way they are changing football when he commented at Arsenal's annual general meeting, 'Our world is changing quickly. Europe as a continent is becoming poorer, the rest of the world is becoming richer, especially Asia, and these people invest in football in Europe.' Erck Thohir, an Indonesian billionaire, bought a 70 per cent stake in Inter Milan this week to become the second foreign owner in Serie A.