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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Premier chiefs consider spending cap plan

ESPN can reveal that Premier League chairmen are considering a rule that would cap clubs' annual spending on the wages of players, managers and coaching staff.

A detailed study of the amount of money clubs spend on their football staff - managers, coaches, scouts and players - is currently being undertaken and the mean average from the research may be used as the figure under which clubs' annual spend on salaries must total.

Severe sanctions would be put in place to punish any club breaking the capping scheme, which could be implemented in time for the start of the 2013-14 season.

The plan is designed to end the financial uncertainty that surrounds many Premier League clubs, which run at huge losses despite the billions that pour into the league ever year.

An insider told ESPN: "It is not possible to introduce a salary cap - that would be illegal - but there can be rules put into place in the form of a limit on spend on players, managers and coaches, for example.

"Breaking even or running into profit is the thinking behind this as so many Premier League clubs run at a loss. The object is to ensure that all the money that flows in doesn't just flow straight back out to the players and their agents.

"The Premier League spends a great deal on academies and youth development work that few people are aware of, as well as many other worthwhile projects."

The club chairmen have discussed the issue at regional meetings, and it is set to be top of the agenda at a meeting scheduled for September 7.

Currently, Manchester City are not convinced about the plans - particularly about the potential for hard-hitting sanctions - but other top clubs, such as Chelsea and Manchester United, are behind them.

The source added: "Seven or eight clubs have already signed up to Financial Fair Play in Europe because they have to, including Manchester City, and this is a form of Financial Fair Play for the Premier League."

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