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UEFA plans tointroduce newspending rules

CLUBS competing in the Champions League will have to ensure players' salaries and transfer fees are proportionate to their income under new plans from UEFA.

European football's ruling body said yesterday it wanted the measures, which would also cover the new Europa League, to be finalized in September.

The executive committee also agreed in Vilnius, Lithuania, to give referees the power to halt or abandon matches in European competitions if there is racist chanting and confirmed an experiment with an additional assistant referee behind each goal would take place in this season's Europa League group stage.

UEFA president Michel Platini is aiming to curb excessive spending by clubs in order to maintain their long-term sustainability.

Platini wants the details to be agreed in August at a meeting of the Professional Football Strategy Council, which also features representatives of four European leagues and the players' union.

The Frenchman hopes the regulations that come out of that meeting will then be rubber-stamped by UEFA's executive committee in September, leading to their phased introduction over two or three years.

"The only club which did not have debts this season was Barcelona, while all others lived beyond their means," Platini said. "Especially shocking to soccer were actions by Real Madrid. In the future we will see to it that clubs have enough funds to finance the players. UEFA will be more active in this process."

Big-spending has come into sharp focus in recent weeks with Madrid buying three of the game's most sought-after players: world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazil playmaker Kaka and France striker Karim Benzema.

Platini has singled out Ronaldo's record 80 million pound (US$131 million) move from Manchester United to Madrid.


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