Reuters, Thursday, January 22, 2009 1 PM
Europe's top clubs and its soccer governing body UEFA have started preliminary talks on measures to curb inflated transfer fees and players' wages, reports Darren Ennis. The European Club
Association, which represents clubs such as Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan, has proposed that teams should only be allowed to spend around 51 percent of their revenue on transfers or
An upsurge in transfer fees and player salaries against the background of economic recession has prompted the discussions. "Talks are at a preliminary stage, but there is a
view that clubs can not sustain this situation in the long term," an ECA source told Ennis. "The issue is due to be discussed at a meeting of the ECA's general assembly next month."
senior UEFA official confirmed that it was "looking seriously at the proposal." In November, EU sports ministers considered appointing a pan-European financial regulator for sport, but decided
instead to press FIFA and UEFA to introduce stricter financial rules for clubs and leagues. "If we fail to act, then the EU will," the UEFA official said.
Under the ECA proposal,
revenue would be classified as money received only from ticket sales, sponsorship, merchandise and television income. It would not include any financial investment by owners or major shareholders.
"Any money from shareholders, or billionaire owners, would be invested into the infrastructure of the club, such as building or renovating the stadium or investing in youth development such as
an academy," the UEFA official said.
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