London: English Premier League clubs responded to concerns about spiraling wages by agreeing on Thursday to impose the first spending controls by a major European league. UEFA warned on Monday that the failure to control salaries, which have risen 40 per cent at leading European clubs in five years, was endangering the future of football on the continent.
And the Premier League is keen to ensure the expected $8 billion being generated by a new three-year television rights deal isn't frittered away by clubs. West Ham co-chairman David Gold said the majority of clubs agreed to adopt a restraint on wage increases.
"The majority of the clubs supported change and now it will be up to the board to put into play ... it was overwhelming the support," Gold said. "Not all 20 clubs (voted in favor), some are a little concerned, but broadly, the vast majority of the clubs voted in favor."
Exact details of the rules, which will be voted on by the main Premier League board in April, weren't immediately available. Gold confirmed the main regulation was a "restraint on overspending." "If (clubs) increase their revenues then they can increase their spend," he said. "We have restraint and that's the important thing."
The rules are designed to prevent a repeat of the financial meltdown at Portsmouth, which became the first Premier League club to enter bankruptcy protection in 2010. "What's driving the whole thing is we've got to avoid another Portsmouth," Gold said.
Premier League clubs which enter European competitions have to abide by the financial fair play rules introduced by UEFA to eventually make teams break even on their football-related business.