European clubs were warned on Wednesday that they are running out of time when it comes to financial fair play, as UEFA threatened to impose player bans and points deductions for the continent's worst offenders from the 2014-15 season.
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino revealed figures which show that only four of the top 30 leagues in Europe are breaking even, compared with 15 two years previously.
He told a briefing in Nyon: "This is the last wake-up call for everyone, this trend has to change very quickly to safeguard European football. We must end this negative spiral and gamble for success. These losses cannot continue."
Figures released by European football's governing body revealed that clubs lost more than 1.6billion euros (Â£1.33billion) in 2010 - a 36% increase and the worst statistics on record.
A survey of 665 clubs found that 56% posted losses in the 2010 financial year, with 78 spending more than 100% of their income on wages.
Under UEFA rules, clubs are allowed to make a maximum loss of 45million euros (Â£37.5million) over a two-year rolling period, followed by 30 million euros (Â£25million) for three years - moving ultimately towards breaking even.
But UEFA revealed that 13 clubs monitored in the 2010 financial year would have failed the break-even tests if the rules were applied now.
Warning that it would not put up with permanent losses, UEFA pointed out that 31 clubs, including four this season, have already been refused entry to its two main club competitions since financial licensing was introduced in 2004.
Infantino said clubs that breach the rules could be ordered to cut their squads for European competitions if they keep buying players while incurring unacceptable losses.
UEFA could also deduct points from teams as well as impose fines and, ultimately, exclude them from European competition depending on the severity of the infringement.