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SBD Global/February 4, 2013/International Football

Premier League Clubs Set To Meet Next Week Hoping To Compromise Cost Control Deal

Premier League football clubs "will gather next week for a fresh attempt to reach a compromise deal on cost controls, with opinion still sharply divided on how, or even whether, to force clubs to live within their means," according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Ideas include "allowing clubs a permitted level of losses per year or a limit on the amount salaries can be increased, or a combination of the two." A senior exec at a leading club said, "The devil is going to be in the detail." Nonetheless, change "is in the air as football’s most lucrative and profligate league embraces financial realism." Even Chelsea and Manchester City, the two big culprits in football’s spendthrift culture, "profess to be disciples of this new doctrine of frugality." Both clubs "completed the January transfer window by turning a net profit on their deals." Deloitte Sports Business Group Lead Partner Dan Jones said that clubs were "now in a reporting period that counted towards the break-even rules" of UEFA. Jones said the relative restraint shown by clubs in this window might "reflect an increasing focus on clubs achieving more sustainable levels of expenditure." Privately, several clubs "suspect the bigger beasts want cost controls to reinforce their Premier League stranglehold." University of Michigan Sport Management Professor Stefan Szymanski said the smaller clubs are essentially being offered golden handcuffs -- "an agreement to limit financial competition, which almost guarantees that small clubs will never be competitive on the pitch" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/1).
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