A WORLD War II veteran handed his €500 monthly pension over to Omonia Football Club yesterday, in a bid to help his beloved team collect €5 million in order to meet UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

Omonia president, Stelios Mylonas, came out yesterday to confirm rumours that the club, which is a total of €17 million in debt, needs to collect €5 million by March 31 or risk sanctions from UEFA for not meeting the FFP regulations over clubs getting into excessive debt.

UEFA has set up an independent panel, the Club Financial Control Board (CFCB) to assess if clubs have broken the FFP rules. Between December 2013 and April 2014 the CFCB will advise clubs of the outcome of their assessment and any punishments. The most serious punishment would be a ban from UEFA competition.

In his letter to the club which accompanied his pension, the veteran who wished to remain anonymous, wrote that he was giving his monthly income in the hope other Omonia supporters would follow his lead.

“I have cried many times since Omonoia was founded,” he said. “My beloved players, play football, and you will receive your money,” he added, referring to the fact that players have not been paid for the last four months.

The club expressed its gratitude towards the pensioner through its official website.

Omonia has also begun the pre-sale of season tickets for the 2013-2014 season in an effort to collect funds.

“The club has not yet exhausted the possibility of receiving help from supporters,” a statement from the club’s board said. “The board is obliged to give its all in a final effort to meet the deadline of March 31 to meet the FFP rules,” it added. “If the current board does not meet the deadline then the members will resign,” the statement said.

The club’s financial plight came to light last season after previous president Miltiades Neophtyou had bank-rolled a number of big money transfers. The club’s failure to reach the knock-out stages of the Champions League in the 2010-2011 season meant it was not in a position to meet the large wages it had agreed to on many of the players’ contracts. Although Neophytou decided to forgo the €17 million Omonia had owed him personally, a number of decisions to overspend on transfers and wages have crippled the club.

Cyprus Mail

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