Clubs to learn salary restrictions

Clubs competing in the Champions League will learn tomorrow if they are to face stringent restrictions on spending on wages.

The European Clubs' Association (ECA) are meeting in Geneva where they are expected to come up with proposals to limit the proportion of a club's income that they can spend on salaries.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the chairman of Bayern Munich who heads the new clubs' body, is pushing for a 50 per cent limit of turnover going on wages.

Among English clubs, Chelsea would have the most to fear from such a ruling - they spend 71 per cent of their turnover on salaries. Liverpool, according to the most recent figures available from 2006, would also be affected with 57 per cent of turnover going on salaries.

Manchester United would have least to fear - they have made a policy of prudent spending on wages, and their current level is 43.6 per cent. Arsenal's proportion is also comparatively low at 45.4 per cent, although this rises to 49 per cent if the income from property sales at the old Highbury stadium is discounted.

Rummenigge said of his plan: "The 32 participants [in the Champions League] would have to meet certain conditions. Only 50% of the club's total revenues could be invested in wages."

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon is on the ECA board, as is his Liverpool counterpart Rick Parry, and they are likely to argue for a less drastic limit such as 60 per cent or even an initial 70 per cent with clubs being given several years to cut their wage bills.

A 50 per cent ruling would not trouble the Old Firm in Scotland too much - Rangers only spend 43 per cent of turnover on wages, while Celtic's figure is a less comfortable but still acceptable 50 per cent.

Rangers vice-chairman John McClelland is also on the ECA board.

UEFA president Michel Platini is keen on imposing limits and he has already met with Rummenigge for talks on action.

Speaking in London last week, Platini used Manchester City's £100m bid to sign Kaka as an example of why some restraints were needed.

Platini said: "Clubs have to operate within their income.

"How one guy can cost 150million euro is ridiculous from a social, football and financial point of view.

"It's why we have to do something to have a transparency and a fairness in football. It's not good for the popularity of football."

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