Championship’s wage limit move

Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston
Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston
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Championship clubs are today expected to back a move to introduce their own UEFA-style financial fair play system, whereby teams can only spend what they earn.

The system will be put forward at the Football League’s agm in Cyprus, which Seasiders chairman Karl Oyston is attending.

It is also proposed that League One clubs move towards the introduction of the salary cap currently in force in League Two, where teams can spend a maximum of 60 per cent of their turnover on wages.

The move comes as the Deloitte annual review of football finance reveals wage increases in the Premier League and Championship continue to outstrip growth in revenues.

Football League chairman Greg Clarke said: “The Championship clubs voted to look at financial fair play and in principle decided that was the road they wanted to go down.

“I think it’s essential, and the energy to solve this is coming from the clubs themselves.

“It’s a perfect storm in that a lot of things have come together to make this happen, including of course the level of debt in the game – £700m in the Football League, most of that in the Championship - and big losses being racked up by the clubs.”

Clarke said if the proposal was passed the next six months would be spent on developing a system and ensuring it was fair and transparent.

He admitted that there had been some opposition to the move but a strong majority had been in favour.

The proposed spending constraints also reflect concern over income – the League’s new £195m domestic TV deal is a 26 pe cent drop on the previous one.

The Deloitte report shows salaries in the top flight rose by £64m (five per cent) to over £1.4b in 2009/10, with the league’s wages-to-revenue ratio reaching an all-time high of 68 per cent.

Chelsea remain the highest payers with an annual bill of £174m but Manchester City (£133m) are catching up fast and have overtaken Manchester United (£132m).

The situation in the Championship is even more worrying with more than one-third of clubs paying out more in wages than they received in revenue.