United to argue the case for tighter controls on spending


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The Independent Online

Manchester United and Liverpool will both press the Premier League board today to introduce financial controls on clubs' spending that would force every side to break even each year or face sanctions.

The Wigan Athletic chairman, Dave Whelan, yesterday said the measures, discussed at the league's meeting earlier in the summer, were badly needed, and suggested Manchester City's accelerated spending – which took them to a Premier League title – had been the catalyst for Old Trafford pressing for the move.

"I think City have shaken United up a bit – but I agree there should be controls on spending," Whelan said.

"Some clubs are spending way more than they can afford and get into trouble – look at Portsmouth. The Premier League is so big and powerful that clubs try and chase it."

United's chief executive, David Gill, has been one of the driving forces behind European clubs accepting Uefa's financial fair play (FFP) rules. Aggregate losses must be kept to €45m (£35.6m) over three seasons from 2011-12 or clubs face expulsion from European competition.

Now Gill wants the Premier League to follow suit but Liverpool will also press the case hard, with their principal owner, John W Henry, firmly of the belief that big-spending sides will contravene FFP rules as the regime is eased in. "We believe the league may have to adopt its own system, given that some clubs seem to be ignoring Uefa's rules, which may be porous enough for them to say the trend of huge losses is positive and therefore make them exempt from meaningful sanctions," Henry said this summer.

At least 12 of the 20 top-flight clubs ended the 2010-11 season in the red, with Manchester City's losses of £197m dwarfing even Chelsea's £68m and Liverpool's £49m.