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UEFA extends probes of Liverpool, 6 others and opens 6 new cases for transfers, wages spending

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NYON, Switzerland — Five-time European champion Liverpool, Monaco, Roma and four other clubs face further UEFA probes for overspending on player transfers and wages.

UEFA's club financial control panel also opened cases against six more clubs, the European football body said Friday.

The clubs "had disclosed a break-even deficit on the basis of their financial reporting periods ending in 2012 and 2013," UEFA said.

The clubs must provide updated accounts through February as part of monitoring of all Champions League and Europa League entrants to comply with Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

Four of the initial seven clubs investigated — Liverpool, Monaco, Roma and Sporting Lisbon — are in contention to qualify for the Champions League knockout stage next week.

The other three — three-time European champion Inter Milan, Besiktas, and Krasnodar — are playing in the second-tier Europa League.

All seven have attended club hearings with the financial monitoring panel, UEFA said.

The six new cases of clubs who must show they are approaching break-even on football trading are Europa League clubs Sparta Prague, Hull, Lyon, Panathinaikos, Ruch Chorzow and Wolfsburg.

PHOTO: Roma's Miralem Pjanic, left, scores during a Serie A soccer match between Roma and Inter Milan at Rome's Olympic Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Roma's Miralem Pjanic, left, scores during a Serie A soccer match between Roma and Inter Milan at Rome's Olympic Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

UEFA introduced the FFP project in 2011 to curb overspending on player transfers and wages.

Though UEFA's most severe sanction is exclusion from the Champions League, clubs typically face fines and limits on player registration for first offenses.

UEFA currently allows wealthy club owners to cover a maximum of 45 million euros ($55 million) of losses on their football-related business since 2011 with a one-off equity payment.

The FFP rules encourage clubs to spend freely on stadiums, infrastructure projects and youth training without those costs counting in the break-even assessment.

UEFA claims the rules championed by its President Michel Platini are having the intended effect.

"Aggregate losses reported by Europe's top-tier clubs in the 2013 financial year have gone down to 800 million euros ($984 million) from a record-reported deficit of 1.7 billion euros ($2.1 billion) in 2011," UEFA said in a statement Friday.

Still, the project is criticized for protecting traditionally elite clubs — with greater global fan and sponsor bases — from challenges by emerging clubs with wealthy new owners.

In the first round of FFP sanctions in May, the two main victims were Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, the champions of England and France.

Both clubs have recently soared in status, fuelled by big spending by owners from the ruling families of Abu Dhabi and Qatar, respectively.

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