Football FDs back player wage caps

Link: 2004 football finances special report

From this season, clubs in Football League One (the old Division Two) will be subject to a ‘soft’ wage cap to deter overspending.

Following a successful trial in Division Three during the 2003-04 season, clubs in the next division up must now limit their spending on player’s wages to 60% of their total turnover. The findings of this week’s Accountancy Age/PKF football finance survey show that 47% of those asked thought that some form of wage cap would be workable in their league.

The 43% who opposed a wage cap came largely from the English Premier League and the Football League Championship, where 100% and 60% of FDs respectively felt the idea was not viable. Nevertheless, at least half of FDs in all divisions had discussed the idea of capping with their board in the last year.

With players like Liverpool’s Michael Owen in discussions over a contract believed to be worth £80,000 a week, there is support for the principles behind a ‘soft’ wage cap at the top of the national game.

‘Wage capping on an individual basis wouldn’t work,’ said Fulham FC finance director Andy Ambler. ‘It doesn’t work in rugby and people find ways round it, but the idea of a percentage of turnover for wages should be best practice and what clubs should aim for.’

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