Review calls for wage cap to curb powers of billionaire owners

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A radical review has called for controls to prevent billionaire owners "buying up all the best players". The new version of the European Football Review insists that salary controls should not limit what an individual player can earn but curb the total amount clubs can spend on wages.

The review was presented by the author Jose Luis Arnaut, a former Portuguese minister, to a meeting of European sports ministers in Moscow.

The final version makes clear that billionaire owners, such as Roman Abramovich, should not be permitted to dominate the game. Talking about salary cost control, the review says: "The aim here is not to place an upper limit on what players can earn but simply to prevent those with the deepest pockets buying all the best players and therefore dominating competition, contrary to the interests of the sport and the public.

"Whilst this is a complex subject that requires further study, one possible approach would be to limit overall salary spending levels to a percentage of club turnover and this would also require clear rules to govern how turnover is calculated." The review says clubs should be punished financially if they go above the set limits.

Issues also previously identified by Arnaut as needing attention include some form of limit on foreign players, and the urgent need to tackle illegal gambling, money laundering, racism and the trafficking of young players.