Premiership big spenders could face loss of points
Top-flight clubs will face a points deduction if they breach new spending controls agreed by the narrowest majority at a Premier League chairmen’s meeting yesterday.
The 20 club chairmen voted by 13 to six, with one abstention, to implement two significant controls – to limit players’ wage bills from next season, and longer-term measures that will restrict the amount of losses clubs can make to £105 million over three years.
Clubs whose total wage bill is more than £52m will only be allowed to increase their wages by £4m per season for the next three years.
The effect of the financial controls should prevent hugely wealthy owners achieving the almost overnight success of Chelsea and Manchester City. Any club breaching the rules will face tough sanctions – and Scudamore said they would be pushing for points deductions.
Scudamore said: “The clubs understand that, if people break the £105m, we will look for the top-end ultimate sanction range – a points deduction.”
The vote for the financial controls could hardly have been closer – only 13 of the 20 clubs voted in favour, six against with Reading abstaining. It meant that the “yes” vote only narrowly achieved the necessary two-thirds majority of 19 votes cast.
Clubs sources say Fulham, West Brom, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Swansea and Southampton all voted against.
Of the 20 clubs in the top flight, only Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool have reported losses of more than £105m over the past three years, according to the most up-to-date published accounts.
Scudamore said that the measures would mean it will take longer for benefactor owners to achieve success – but that it would still be possible.
He said: “The balance we have tried to strike is that a new owner can still invest a decent amount of money to improve their club, but they are not going to be throwing hundreds and hundreds of millions in a very short period of time.”
Chelsea won the Premier League two years after Roman Abramovich’s takeover, and Manchester City’s title success came three years after Sheikh Mansour’s takeover.
The ceiling when the wage increase restrictions kick in will be £52m next season, £56m the following year and £60m in 2015-16. Only seven of the current top-flight clubs would be under that ceiling at the moment.
West Ham’s co-owner, David Gold, said: “It’s not a salary cap, it’s a restraint on over-spending. If clubs increase their revenues then they can increase their spending. We have got restraint, that’s the important thing. What’s driving the whole thing is we’ve got to avoid another Portsmouth.”
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