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Friday, September 21, 2012
EPL to discuss spending controls

Press Association

Premier League clubs will meet next week to discuss a proposal for spending controls.

The 20 clubs have been split into two groups of 10 on a geographical basis, with the southern group to meet on Monday and the northern group on Wednesday.

The majority of clubs are in favor of some kind of cost control measure. The sticking points are likely to be which measure is adopted and what the sanctions will be for breaking the rules.

Ideas include adopting UEFA's financial fair play system where clubs must break even, or clubs only being allowed to spend a maximum percentage of their annual income on player costs -- for example 70 percent, the system operated by the European elite club grouping G14 a decade ago.

Another proposal is limiting increases in spending on player wages to 10 percent a year, as suggested by Sunderland owner Ellis Short.

Perhaps the option most likely to win universal approval is clubs having to be able to guarantee they can operate for several years in the future rather than just one.

Under the guaranteed liability plan, if club have players on five-year contracts, as most do, they would have to be able to prove they can guarantee those funds for the length of those contracts.

In the case of Portsmouth, the club twice went into administration when some of their biggest costs included paying the salaries of high-earning players who were under long-term contracts but whom the club could not afford.

The clubs most opposed to cost control measures are Manchester City, Chelsea and Fulham but even they might be inclined to accept a system to guarantee financial liabilities.

The sanctions for breaking the rules are unlikely to be as drastic as UEFA's system which threatens to exclude clubs from European competition if they do not come close to breaking even.

In the Premier League, a transfer ban or fine is much more likely to be agreed to punish transgressions.

Top-flight clubs will have more income than ever before to spend when the new 3billion-plus domestic TV deal comes into effect next season, and the league is hopeful there will also be an increase overall in the value of the overseas rights -- though it is likely to drop in some territories due to the economic situation.

The league issued an invitation to tender Friday for the rights to show top-flight matches in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, Premier League chiefs have been delighted with approach of both Liverpool and Manchester United ahead of the clubs' meeting this weekend and are hopeful that the pre-match handshake will go off without any controversy, such as players refusing to take part, and that fans will refrain from any offensive songs relating to Hillsborough and Munich.

The league have no intention of ending the routine despite Anton Ferdinand refusing to shake John Terry's or Ashley Cole's hand last weekend.

They expect Luis Suarez, who caused uproar last season by ignoring Patrice Evra's attempted handshake, to this time shake hands.

England manager Roy Hodgson's remarks yesterday about the dearth of English players and the timing of some live TV matches on Sundays caused a raised eyebrow with league chiefs but it is understood they are not intending to react directly to the FA.




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