Spending cap plan gets Premier League backing despite trio voting against

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A majority of Premier League clubs have voted to explore measures that would put a cap on player spending, with only Manchester United, Manchester City and Aston Villa voting against.

Plans for a new “anchoring” concept that would limit spending on wages, transfer fees and agent fees to a multiple of the TV revenue generated by the league’s bottom club were at the centre of the latest meeting of the shareholder clubs. If approved, anchoring would be a key component of the league’s proposed new financial rules, but the deal is not guaranteed to be done.

Sixteen clubs voted in favour of subjecting the anchoring proposals to a full economic and legal analysis. Alongside the three nay votes, Chelsea abstained. Passing the motion gave a strong indication of support for anchoring but also confirmed that hurdles remain. Concerns that anchoring could fall foul of competition law have been mooted and the players’ union issued a strong warning over the proposals.

The Professional Footballers’ Association said it would “wait to see further details” but insisted “we have always been clear that we would oppose any measure that would place a ‘hard’ cap on player wages. There is an established process in place to ensure that proposals like this, which would directly impact our members, have to be properly consulted on”.

The Guardian understands that conversations between the league and the PFA are expected to be part of the analysis which will take place over the next month. Although a multiple for spending has yet to be determined, it is understood to be in the region of four to five times the TV revenue of the bottom club, which last season was the £103.6m earned by Southampton. Premier League sources have argued this would not count as a hard spending cap, because if the revenues of the league grew, so would the headroom on spending.

The league says further details of the rules will be worked out after the economic and legal analysis, leaving open the possibility that clubs could be allowed to spend more than the allotted figure provided that were offset by sales.

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The Premier League hopes to put a full set of new financial regulations to the vote at its AGM in June. The league has agreed to go ahead with controls that would limit clubs’ spending on player-related costs to 85% of their revenues (or 70% in the case of clubs playing in Europe). These “squad cost ratios” would run alongside anchoring, if approved.

Source: theguardian.com

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