Gold demands points penalties to curb debts

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The Independent Football

David Gold, the co-chairman of West Ham United, has called on his counterparts in the Premier League and the league itself to help "save us from ourselves".

Gold, who took over at Upton Park with David Sullivan last month, suggests that a points deduction for clubs who exceed certain levels of debt – or any regulations introduced to deal with the increasing financial worries – is the only means of control worth exercising.

"We have got to be saved from ourselves," Gold said last night. "For 18 years the Premier League has been an absolutely outstanding product, but we are in danger in our pursuit of success, or avoiding relegation. We are in a competition with each other that is so ferocious it is bringing us to the brink. Points deduction is the only power – the only thing the clubs understand is loss of points."

Gold's plea came on the same day that Dave Whelan, the chairman of Wigan Athletic, wrote to Richard Scudamore, the Premier League's chief executive, proposing that clubs should not be permitted to borrow more than 25 per cent of annual turnover.

"We need to take our own action – we need some leadership," Gold told Sky News. "I am only paying wages beyond our means simply to compete with our competitors. Dave Whelan is on the right track, but miles out with 25 per cent. Manchester United [with debts of £716.5m] are on 250 per cent."

Gold also revealed that West Ham have "started the process" of making an approach to the Government over buying or leasing the Olympic Stadium.