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Feb 7, 2013

Premier League clubs in favour of FFP

Premier League clubs have voted in favour of introducing a Financial Fair Play deal and restrictions on wages.

Representatives of the clubs first met in December to discuss proposals on a new system obliging teams to break even, as well as imposing some sort of cap on wages. The clubs agreed to reconvene on Thursday with 13 votes out of 20 needed to accept the proposals.

Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool were all expected to back the new plans, while Manchester City, Fulham, West Brom and Aston Villa were expected to vote against.

In actual fact, the vote for the financial regulations could hardly have been closer - as six were against with Reading abstaining. It meant that the 'yes' vote only narrowly achieved the necessary two-thirds majority of the 19 votes cast.

Clubs sources say Fulham, West Brom, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Swansea and Southampton all voted against. Chelsea, who had initially been viewed as opponents of financial fair play regulations, voted in favour.

In a statement, the Blues said they are supportive of moves that promote financial stability.

It read: "Premier League clubs today reached an agreement to introduce financial stability rules and wage controls for the league. Chelsea Football Club is supportive of moves that promote financial stability in football. We are already subject to UEFA's financial fair play principles and will comply with those.

"The new rules will be subject to further detailed discussions before they are brought in and we will play our part in those to ensure implementation is fair for all clubs in the league.''

The Premier League's legal advisers will now work on the detailed proposals and these will be brought back before the chairmen in April to be ratified.

After the meeting, West Ham joint-chairman David Gold said that a majority did vote in favour of the proposals.

"The clubs supported change. We've all voted and it was overwhelmingly supported. Some clubs are a little concerned, but the vast majority voted in favour," he told Sky Sports. "That will now go to the board for putting into rules, and we'll vote on that in April."

Gold added: "It's not a salary cap, it's a restraint on over-spending. It's not a cap - it's a restraint. If clubs increase their revenues then they can increase their spending.

"We have got restraint, that's the important thing. What's driving the whole thing is we've got to avoid another Portsmouth.''

The Premier League's expected FFP system would be less restrictive than UEFA's, which is gradually being introduced and obliges clubs to break even or face possible exclusion from European competition.

At Thursday's meeting, the chairmen were presented with a proposal for owners to be allowed to cover losses up to £105 million over a three-year period. That is significantly more flexible than UEFA's which only allows losses of €45 million (£39 million) over three years to be covered by owners.

If plans go ahead, the Premier League would be the first top-flight European league to bring in such a system.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

 

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