UEFA today banned Partizan Belgrade from the Champions League and Europa League for the next three seasons because of unpaid debts, according to The Associated Press.
The report states:
“The ruling from UEFA says the 2015 Serbian champions had racked up almost 2.5 million euros ($2.6 million) in unpaid debts as of September, most of it to social and tax authorities in Serbia.
“A three-year ban is unusually severe, but UEFA ruled it was needed because Partizan had broken rules on unpaid debts three times in the last five years.
“Citing ”a remarkably similar set of circumstances” to Partizan’s last debt case in 2013, when it was given a suspended one-year ban from European competitions, UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body said only a harsher punishment ”is appropriate and also capable of producing a general deterrent effect.””
This news is bound to send shockwaves through the game in Scotland. The SFA have been under scrutiny for allowing Rangers FC to play in European football in 2011 despite having outstanding social taxes. A group of Celtic shareholders have led the campaign that has taken the matter directly to UEFA and have established that the SFA were wrong and that Rangers should not have been allowed to play in Europe that season.
UEFA, when writing back to the shareholders solicitor, stated that they could not take any action against Rangers FC as the club was in liquidation and that the new club/company were not connected with the situation on 2011.
However the spotlight will be on how the new club, should they finish the season in one of the European qualifying spots, are treated given the financial position at the club.
The SFA know that they will be watched very closely and today’s news on Partizan Belgrade illustrates the point that UEFA are prepared to get tough.