Minister attacks 'obscene' Premier League wages

November 1, 2007

LONDON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - British Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe has attacked spiralling wages in the Premier League.

'Good luck to (Chelsea captain) John Terry but I think it is obscene to be on 150,000 pounds per week,' Sutcliffe told a sports industry conference on Thursday.

Sutcliffe, who is fairly new in the job after taking over from Richard Caborn this year, said football was in danger of alienating itself from ordinary people.

'Chelsea are 250 million pounds in the red and they may be able to cope with that but it's not the real world. That is not sustainable.

'This year Manchester United increased their season tickets by 13 percent. That's taking the game away from the ordinary grass-roots fans.

'We don't want to be in a position where people are alienated.'

Sutcliffe also endorsed FA chief executive Brian Barwick's tough stance on behaviour in grassroots football, but said top players needed to clean up their act.

'Players should be exposed if they are not acting properly as role models,' he said. 'I abhor what goes on sometimes.'