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Sep 5, 2012

Clubs to discuss spending limits

Premier League chairmen will be presented Thursday with a range of possible financial controls to limit spending by top-flight clubs.

The league's top executives have produced a discussion paper on financial controls for the chairmen to consider which could eventually lead to clubs being forced to break even every year -- or face sanctions.

It would mean a serious blow to clubs such as Manchester City and Chelsea who have returned significant losses in recent years.

There is strong support at other clubs for such controls -- Wigan chairman Dave Whelan on Wednesday said measures to cut spending were needed urgently, while Manchester United originally sparked the move at the league's meeting earlier in the summer.

No decision will be made on any measures Wednesday -- instead two groups of 10 clubs, each with clubs mixed up to reflect size and region, are to be formed to discuss the options in more detail.

Whelan's own club Wigan have also operated at a loss -- the Latics returned a net loss for the year ending May 2011 of £7.2million ($11.45 million) -- but even he is in favor of the controls.

Whelan told the Press Association: "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.

"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 will 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 rules for clubs in the Champions League and Europa League to only spend what they earn, and he wants the Premier League to follow suit.

The Football League have also introduced a similar system into the Championship and Gill believes the top flight should bring in similar measures.

Gill said last week: "A lot of clubs would be happy just to introduce the financial fair play regulations into the Premier League now, some wouldn't, but that's a debate that has to have happened. And it will happen.

"If you look at it we've got financial regulations in the league below us, the Championship, and the competition above us, the Champions League, so we need to do it.

"The Premier League being the best league in the world, the most commercially effective league in the world, I think there's a real opportunity to introduce some sensible rules that effectively improve and enhance the long term or medium term financial stability."

At least 12 of the 20 top-flight clubs ended the 2010-11 season in the red with Manchester City's losses of £197 million ($313.4 million) dwarfing even Chelsea's £68 million ($108.2 million) and Liverpool's £49 million ($77.9 million).

Critics of financial fair rules argue that it will forever favor those clubs such as Manchester United and Arsenal who make a profit and rule out wealthy benefactors such as Roman Abramovich and Sheikh Mansour putting money into clubs.

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