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Aug 28, 2009

Abramovich keen to stop big-spending City

Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich is backing a UEFA proposal that would scupper the efforts of big-spending Manchester City to dominate English and European football.

Abramovich, who has spent approximately £700m on transforming the Blues into one of football's big hitters over the last six years, has been named by UEFA president Michel Platini as one of the key agitators behind his proposal to limit football clubs' spending power.

City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who bought the Premier League club in September 2008, has spent £120m in this transfer window alone and it would appear that Abramovich would support an initiative to prevent City from following the very same route that he used to make the Blues a football powerhouse.

• Comment: Football fat cats wallow in hypocrisy

The Russian is backing Platini's plan that proposes clubs can only spend what they earn in football revenues and that any club which does not balance the books in the next three years could be kicked out of European competitions.

The UEFA chief said: "It's mainly the owners that asked us to do something: Roman Abramovich, Silvio Berlusconi [Milan] , Massimo Moratti [Internazionale]. They do not want to fork out any more.

"Manchester City can spend £300m if they want to but if they are not breaking even in three years then they cannot play in European competition. I haven't spoken to Manchester City about this and I don't remember meeting their owner, but I'm sure I will. Roman Abramovich is a football person and passionate about the game. He loves football. He has come to me and said that we must do something about this."

"It doesn't matter if one team doesn't agree, because this is what the clubs want."

Chelsea limited spending to £23m in the transfer window this summer as Abramovich felt the effects of the global credit crunch.

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