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Europe to Impose Salary Cap?

Will big European clubs like Chelsea, AC Milan and Real Madrid soon be faced with a spending cap? UEFA, Europe's governing soccer body, is meeting this week to discuss imposing a new licensing system that would limit how much a club could spend on players and salaries. Sports ministers across Europe have expressed growing outrage at the unfairness of clubs that are owned by billionaires who can soak up massive losses. Chelsea, for example, has spent $521 million on players while racking up losses of over $430 million since Roman Abramovich took control of the club. "There is support for the idea of introducing a better relationship between income earned by clubs and the amounts spent," England Sports Minister Richard Caborn said at the meeting. When a club is owned by a billionaire, the sports ministers argued, the massive losses it drums up are effectively subsidized, giving it an unfair advantage. Well, world soccer has never really been about fairness, but imposing spending limits on clubs based on their turnover or profit would be a step in the right direction -- especially as soccer clubs increasingly act more and more like businesses and less like sports associations. The limits, which have yet to be finalized, are being drawn up by UEFA and the governments' of Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Portugal. The new licensing rules would have legal status in Europe and be policed by UEFA; they also include new regulations on agents and club financial structures as well as a test for investors who wish to become club owners.

Read the whole story at The Evening Standard »

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