Manchester United to argue case for tighter controls on spending in the Premier League

 

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The Independent Online

Manchester United and Liverpool will today both press the Premier League board 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 that Manchester City's level of accelerated spending – which has taken them to a Premier League title – had been the catalyst for Old Trafford pressing for the move.

"This proposal has come from Manchester United – I think City haven shaken them up a little bit – but I think there should be some 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 and there is so much money around that the clubs try and chase it. Something has to be done, so we support these measures."

United's chief executive, David Gill, has been one of the driving forces behind European clubs accepting Uefa's financial fair play (FFP) rules for clubs in the Champions League and Europa League only to spend what they earn, and he wants the Premier League to follow suit. Today's discussion will also include whether the Uefa model is the right one, domestically .

But Liverpool are likely to press the case just as hard, with principal owner John W Henry one of the most ardent proponents of the view that the Premier League must act. He believes that big-spending sides will contravene FFP rules – by which aggregate losses must be limited to €45m (£35.6m) over three seasons from 2011-12 to avoid expulsion from European competition – as the regime is eased in.

"There are a lot of clubs within the league that support financial fair play," Henry said this summer. "We believe the league itself may have to adopt its own rules, given that clubs seem to be ignoring Uefa's rules, which may be porous enough to enable clubs to say that the trend of huge losses is positive and therefore be exempt from any meaningful sanctions."

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.

 

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