Soccer

UEFA targets Real Madrid, Manchester City spending

UEFA is concerned that Real Madrid and Manchester City have distorted the transfer market in Europe by paying big fees for new players and high wages.

UEFA is concerned that Real Madrid and Manchester City have distorted the transfer market in Europe by paying big fees for new players and high wages.

Backed by its wealthy Abu Dhabi owners, Manchester City is still spending despite having paid about £100 million ($181 million Cdn) for Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz, Gareth Barry, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure.

With Real Madrid having spent £160 million ($290 million Cdn) on Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema, other clubs are struggling to compete for new players — a situation that is displeasing European football's ruling body.

"I would say in this financial climate, it is surprising — a little bit destabilizing of the market," UEFA general secretary David Taylor said Tuesday in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp.

"It is certainly raising the ante in terms of the player costs, in terms of the general market place, which is not a thing that gives us a great deal of comfort in these difficult times."

UEFA president Michel Platini has already expressed his disquiet at the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea financing their spending by taking on debt — a practice that has been referred to as "financial doping."

With Leeds still struggling in the third tier of English football five years after being relegated from the Premier League with huge debts, Taylor highlighted the danger of spending huge sums trying to compete with big clubs.

"We've seen what has happened in recent years with a number of very high-profile clubs — Leeds United for example," he said. "They fell into serious financial difficulties by overextending themselves."

Newcastle deals with woes

Newcastle faces challenges both on and off the pitch after being relegated in May.

Just days ahead of its first match of the season in the League Championship, it has no manager and has been unable to trade players because owner Mike Ashley is trying without success to sell the club.

Ashley bought Newcastle for £134 million ($242.5 million Cdn) two years ago and paid another £110 million ($199 million Cdn) to reduce its debt.

But relegation severely hit the club's value and has left him trying to sell for £100 million ($181 million Cdn).

"There are stories concerning some English clubs that are of significant concern," Taylor said. "There are a number of English clubs where the value of the club itself has fallen significantly."

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