In Depth

Man Utd debt could mean FFP fine as Man City petition Uefa

City complain over clubs with huge debts as Arsenal get Champions League seeding blow

Anti-Glazer protests at Manchester United

A bitter new front in the rivalry between Manchester United and Manchester City could begin off the field as Uefa discusses plans to tweak its Financial Fair Play rules to cover clubs saddled with huge debts.

So far Manchester United have not fallen foul of the FFP regulations as, on paper, the club is run at a profit. However, they are also £350m in debt thanks to the deal that saw the Glazer family take over the club in 2005.

"United have sailed through Uefa's existing FFP tests, which focus exclusively on preventing clubs recording annual losses," says the Daily Telegraph. "But European football's governing body has arranged a meeting on Monday to discuss potential tweaks to the regulations, amid criticisms it punishes over-investment but not the accumulation of debt."

Among those clubs attending the meeting will be Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, who have both fallen foul of the regulations, thanks to the lavish spending of their owners.

"Both clubs have long argued that because their losses are covered by cash from their owners, whereas rivals such as Manchester United and Real Madrid are allowed to continue to carry large debts, the rules are unfair," explains The Guardian.

Manchester City chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak has defended the way City is run. "We have zero debt. We don't pay a penny to service any debt. For me, that is a sustainable model," he said. "However, our friends at Uefa seem to believe otherwise."

The Uefa meeting could also do City another favour by changing the seeding system for the Champions League, which has left the club unseeded despite being champions of England, and rewarded others like Arsenal for their qualification record over many years.

From next season the seeded teams will be Champions League winners plus the league champions from Uefa's seven top-ranked nations.

The move "signals the end of teams who finish second, third or even fourth in their domestic leagues having a chance of a top seeding", says The Times. "Although City have been champions in two of the past three seasons, they have been placed in the second or third pot whereas Arsenal, who have finished fourth, fourth and third in the past three campaigns, have remained a top seeding."

This season City, the Premier League champions, are in a group with the German and Russian league winners.

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