World Bulletin / News Desk
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has said it is withholding prize money from Turkish soccer clubs Fenerbahçe and Eskişehirspor from this season's competition as it investigates the clubs for breaching "financial fair play" rules.
The UEFA said on Tuesday that the two teams are among 23 clubs whose prize money from this season's Champions League or Europa League could be withheld because of overdue payments of transfer fees, wages and social taxes up to the end of June.
Europa League champion Atletico Madrid, Malaga and Sporting Lisbon are also being investigated.
The list of offending clubs was drawn up by Jean-Luc Dehaene, the former prime minister of Belgium and the head of the panel appointed by the UEFA to handle financial fair play cases.
The clubs will have to provide an updated report on Sept. 30 to a UEFA committee led by former Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene.
"This ... measure will remain in force until all identified balances have been settled in full or until a final decision by the (UEFA committee) is taken," said UEFA.
UEFA approved the introduction of the far-reaching financial fair play rules in 2009 in a bid to reduce debt and introduce better and more transparent financial dealings among clubs playing in its competitions.
UEFA president Michel Platini said the measures have been introduced to stop clubs from spending their way into oblivion and to force them to live within their means.
They are also intended to stop wealthy owners from trying to buy success with limitless spending on players, distorting the transfer market in the process.
Transfer fees and outgoing payments have been monitored since the start of the 2011/12 season with clubs tasked with breaking even in 2012 and 2013 and being assessed during the 2013/14 season.
If clubs have not come into line by then, they could be thrown out of European competition.