Chairmen give backing to Short proposals

Sunderland Football Club owner Ellis Short.

Sunderland Football Club owner Ellis Short.

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SUNDERLAND owner Ellis Short’s proposals for Premier League salary controls have moved a step closer after top flight clubs agreed on financial restrictions.

The majority of the Premier League’s 20 chairmen agreed at a meeting in London yesterday that spending controls need to be introduced.

The exact nature of the restrictions are yet to be finalised, but there have been two proposals on the table – a break-even rule and a limit to how much clubs can increase their wage bill each year.

Short has been at the forefront of the campaigning on the latter issue, arguing that clubs should be limited to either an overall percentage salary increase or a fixed figure.

However the exact details of the spending controls have yet to be agreed - specifically around how much wealthy owners can put into the club to cover losses, sources close to the process have disclosed.

The club chairmen have now asked Premier League executives to bring back detailed plans on the spending controls for the next meeting on February 6, and on proposals to cap wage rises for players in the short term.

It is understood Manchester City, Fulham and Aston Villa remained opposed to any controls but only 14 of the 20 clubs are needed for the moves to go through.

Manchester United and Arsenal have been pushing for a pure break-even system similar to UEFA’s financial fair play scheme for clubs in European competition.

A group of other clubs, including Wigan and Chelsea, are also in favour of a break even system but argue that wealthy benefactors should be permitted to put extra investment into clubs.

The sticking point to any agreement is how much investment should be allowed, but the majority of clubs are agreed that this should only be in the form of equity and not loans.

The Premier League’s new three-year television deal is expected to be worth more than £5billion after 2013 and that has prompted clubs to ensure the bulk of the increased revenue does not go immediately to players and agents.