Saturday February 28th, 2015

UEFA has cleared English club Liverpool of financial wrongdoing but will extend its scrutiny of Monaco and several other European clubs, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

A UEFA panel closed its investigation into the accounts of five-time European champion Liverpool, accepting the team's explanations for losses incurred since 2011.

However, the organization has ordered further probes of the finances of Monaco, Inter Milan, Roma and other teams for possibly breaking Financial Fair Play rules. The announcement comes two days after Monaco defeated Arsenal 3-1, strengthening its chances of reaching the Champion's League quarterfinals and earning at least $44.9 million from UEFA this year.

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Manchester City and Paris-Saint-Germain have already been fined $22.5 million each, and could face sanctions totaling $44.9 million if they exceed spending caps put in place last May.

The organization imposed a financial monitoring system in 2011 in an effort to curb what UEFA president Michel Platini called "financial doping" by wealthy teams. Critics have said the plan protects established clubs with global supporters and sponsor bases by preventing developing clubs with rich owners from spending freely.

Manchester City and Paris-Saint-Germain won championships thanks in part to spending by the royal families of Abu Dhabi and Qatar, their respective owners. Monaco attracted scrutiny after Russian billionaire owner Dmitry Rybolovlev spent lavishly to acquire talent, including Colombian star James Rodriguez.

According to UEFA, Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Hull, Panathinaikos and Ruch Chorzow accepted $200,000 fines to close probes against them, while investigations are ongoing against Moscow sides Dynamo and Lokomotiv.

Cardiff City lost $18.5 million last season despite Premier League status

The soccer league's panel aims to finish its investigations by the end of May, and to hand down judgments in June.

- Christopher Woody

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