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FA chief calls for prudence as debts reach £3bn

Professional clubs in England owe around £3billion and are in ''terrible danger'' as the global economic crisis takes hold, so said Football Association chairman Lord Triesman as he called on clubs to review their wage structures.

Despite reassurances from Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore that top-flight clubs were at no immediate risk because their borrowings were commensurate with their income, Triesman believes reducing player wages would help clubs as they try to weather the financial storm.

Triesman claims salaries are growing by around 12% a year and are becoming an ever greater problem for clubs throughout the English game, and insists that an outright cap was ''not inconceivable''.

''I'll be told, no doubt, that if you want to compete at the highest levels you've got to be competitive in the wages market as well,'' he told Sky Sports News. ''I just make the point that there is a volume of debt which becomes very significant in those circumstances and people need to think about it.

''I'm told by people right through the football pyramid, down in the Blue Square (Premier), for example, that the issues of working with agents, trying to deal with wages right the way through the system is now impacted (by the credit crunch).''

On whether salaries need to be capped, Triesman continued: ''People at the clubs are the only people who are going to be able to judge that, but I start with a general proposition that we have, in this business as in so many other businesses, a level of debt which should cause us to stop, think and review where we are.''

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