Government not planning to interfere with football wages

Sports minister Hugh Robertson has called the rise in Premier League wages "very worrying" but insists the Government should not intervene to force Premier League clubs to cut spending on player wages.

A new report by analysts Deloitte shows wages at top-flight clubs have risen by 11% to £1.3billion overall, while the Premier League has been overtaken by Germany's Bundesliga as the most profitable league.

Robertson said the Government would put pressure on football's governing bodies to tighten up on bad financial practice but that they would not introduce legislation to force them to - though he did not rule that out for the future.

Robertson told BBC Radio Five: "The concern is that the operating profits have halved and the wages bill has increased and we will be pushing football's regulatory authorities very hard to take some action.

"This report points to a very worrying problem and we are very keen to see action in four areas: financial transparency, the relation of debt to turnover, the fit and proper person test and more independent governance on the board.

"It is absolutely right that we should give football the first opportunity to sort this out.

"If anyone thinks that's a bit wet or not practical then remember we are bidding for the 2018 World Cup and FIFA are very averse to any sort of government interference directly in the game."

Asked if he would rule out direct Government intervention in the future, Robertson added: "I wouldn't rule it out but historically sport should run sport and not Government run sport.

"We have to use our influence to set out a clear way forward and persuade football to tighten up in these key areas."

The Deloitte report shows Premier League clubs' overall operating profits fell to £79million, their lowest level since 1999-2000 and half that of the Bundesliga.

The Premier League still generates by far the biggest revenues - at £1.98billion still £500million ahead of the Bundesliga.

Robertson said the success of English football should not be threatened by any action.

The sports minister said: "You have to take action in a way which does not in any way damage the huge runaway success of English football.

"We have just been through the worst recession since the 1930s yet revenues in the top clubs have increased, and in Premier League clubs quite dramatically .

"There is much we could learn from the Bundesliga but it does not have the global coverage of the Premier League."

The Premier League also remains the least-polarised league compared with the others of comparable size in Europe. Spain is the most polarised, where Barcelona and Real Madrid far outstrip other La Liga clubs in income.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform