Spanish club Malaga are facing punishment for failing to meet financial guidelines. The move is part of UEFA's efforts to implement its Financial Fair Plan plan, aimed at balancing big spending in the sport.
Malaga are one of several clubs targeted for further financial punishment due to unpaid bills, UEFA said in a statement Friday. Europe's governing football body lifted sanctions on 16 of the 23 teams whose prize money for the 2012/13 club competition season was initially suspended, but payment is still being withheld from the Spanish club.
The money was originally suspended because of "significant" overdue payments. Malaga, who this month qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League in their first season of the competition, did not meet a September 30 deadline set by UEFA to prove the payments had cleared.
UEFA said it was referring the Spanish club to its adjudicatory chamber, along with Hajduk Split and Osijek (Croatia), Rapid and Dinamo Bucharest (Romania), and Partizan Belgrade and Vojvodina (Serbia), where it could face further punishment.
The amount owed by Lech Poznan (Poland) and Arsenal Kyiv (Ukraine) worsened during that same time period and they were also referred to the chamber, said UEFA, although they were not among the clubs originally targeted.
Atletico Madrid (Spain), Rubin Kazan (Russia), Sporting (Portugal) and Fenerbahce (Turkey) were among the 16 clubs whose financial suspensions were lifted.
Financial Fair Play
UEFA approved their Financial Fair Play initiative in September 2009, designed to help control big spending in Football. Included in the measures is an obligation for clubs to "balance their books or break even."
Malaga were purchased by a member of the Qatari royal family in June 2010, who subsequently invested heavily the club, signing big-name players like Spanish international Santi Cazorla and the Dutch pair of Ruud van Nistelrooy and Joris Mathijsen. During the summer of 2011, the club spent more on players than even La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
After qualifying for the Champions League last season, major concerns arose about the club's ability to stay financially viable as money from their owner grew scarce. Malaga were forced to get certain players off their books, selling Cazorla to English club Arsenal and delaying payments to others.
Nonetheless, the club has recovered to put together a strong performance in this season's Champions League, currently sitting atop a group that includes seven-time European champion AC Milan.
With the Bundesliga's final matches of the season about to be played, there's still plenty up in the air. Freiburg and Schalke duel for the last Champions League spot while three sides at the bottom fight for survival.
Chelsea claimed the Europa League title - to go with last year's Champions League - on Wednesday night with a last-minute headed winner. They defeated legendary Portuguese club Benfica 2-1 in a frenetic finale.