ECA president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and vice chairman Umberto Gandini (ECA)

(WFI) The chairman of the European Club Association is calling on ECA members to respect the rules of Financial Fair Play after Tuesday’s announcement that UEFA is temporarily withholding prize money from 23 clubs, including defending Europa League champs Atletico Madrid.

“ECA members unanimously endorsed the Financial Fair Play project back in 2010,” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said at the closing press conference of the ECA’s 9th General Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

“However, it seems that quite a few clubs have not understood the message. Time has come to take the new rules seriously. ECA will continue to support Financial Fair Play.”

Rummenigge’s remarks followed a keynote address delivered by Jean-Luc Dehaene, the chief investigator and chairman of the Investigatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body for UEFA.

“I am still very worried about the current situation,” he told ECA delegates.

“The Financial Fair Play Regulations are known for more than two years, but I have the impression that some clubs still need to do their homework.”

According to Dehaene and his CFCB, the 23 clubs are under investigation after failing to provide information about overdue payables, information that was due by June 30 for all clubs participating in 2012/13 UEFA competitions.

“The CFCB investigatory chamber will continue their investigations and request these clubs to provide an updated situation as of September 30 with regards to overdue payables toward other clubs, employees and social/tax authorities,” UEFA said in a statement.

“This conservatory measure will remain into force until all identified balances have been settled in full or until a final decision by the (panel’s) adjudicatory chamber is taken.”

Tuesday’s announcement follows previous promises by UEFA to come down hard on clubs who overspend or otherwise overlook financial management responsibilities.

In conjunction with the European Commission, leaders of UEFA are working to ensure clubs pay player wages, transfer fees and taxes on time.

“I am very pleased that UEFA and the European Commission have together taken this decisive step to secure a prosperous and stable future for European football and for the European football community generally,” UEFA president Michel Platini said back in March when the Financial Fair Play regulations were confirmed to be in line with EU State aid policy.

In addition to Atletico Madrid, Malaga CF, Sporting Lisbon and Fenerbahce are among the top clubs who have had prize money temporarily withheld as UEFA investigates their finances.

By INSIDER’s Hannah Reid and Matthew Grayson

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