NYON, SWITZERLAND (AP) – UEFA punished 11 clubs on Friday, including one in Slovenia where its president Aleksander Čeferin was once a board member, for breaking financial monitoring rules.
Six clubs including Olimpija Ljubljana and Romanian champion Cluj were threatened with a one-year ban from the next European competition they qualify for through 2027.
They have probationary periods of one or two years with financial targets to meet, UEFA said in a statement. Olimpija was fined EUR100,000 (USD106,000) by a UEFA-appointed investigation panel for late or non-payment – so-called “overdue payables” – of wages, transfer fees or social taxes.
More than 200 clubs that qualified to play in the three UEFA competitions this season were all evaluated three times since July, UEFA said.
The fine is the second for Olimpija under UEFA rules formerly called “Financial Fair Play” since Čeferin left the club’s executive committee 12 years ago.
The Slovenian club earned EUR350,000 euros (USD372,000) in UEFA prize money playing in the qualifying rounds of the third-tier Europa Conference League this season. The biggest financial penalties were imposed on Croatian clubs Osijek and Rijeka, whose overdue payables dated to last season, putting them in breach of mandatory licenses granted by national federations for teams to play in UEFA competitions.
UEFA said both clubs were stripped of their EUR450,000 (USD478,000) prize money from playing in the Europa Conference League this season.
The biggest fine for overdue debts was EUR250,000 (USD266,000) imposed on Cluj, which played in the Champions League qualifying rounds this season and reached the Europa Conference League knockout playoffs, losing last week to Lazio.
Other fines ranged from EUR150,000 (USD159,000) to EUR10,000 (USD10,600) for Aris Thessaloniki, Astana, Borac Banja Luka, Floriana, Konyaspor, Kyzyl-Zhar SK Petropavlosk, Osijek and Valmiera.
The panel assessing clubs’ finances for UEFA is chaired by former US Soccer Federation president, who is an economics lecturer at Columbia University, Sunil Gulati.