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ASK any suc­cess­ful businessman what per­cent­age of his turnover should be spent on wages and he’ll tell you: “Never more than 40 per cent.”

And if you want to make a healthy profit then you should be aim­ing for nearer 30.

In the Premier League that fig­ure for the 2010 sea­son was 68 per cent.

That year, 14 of the top 30 high­est wage bills in Europe were English clubs.

It is en­tirely un­sus­tain­able and can only lead to dis­as­ter.

But with wages capped at 50 per cent, gam­bling the fu­ture of a club for suc­cess is no longer an op­tion.

Wolves Chair­man Steve Mor­gan said: “We have seen what hap­pened with Portsmouth — they went out on a spend­ing spree, brought loads of play­ers, won the FA Cup but then al­most went into obliv­ion.

“The grave­yard is full of them. A salary cap would be a sen­si­ble step in the right di­rec­tion as a per­cent­age of rev­enue. Is it too much of an ask that clubs are run fis­cally cor­rect?” Ever­ton boss David Moyes called for a 20 per cent wage cut across the whole of the Premier League.

He said: “Per­haps the 20 per cent sug­ges­tion would cause some may­hem.

“But I think we all need to do some­thing se­ri­ous. Peo­ple might say it would be harder to IT’S not of­ten Bri­tish sports take their cue from our Yank cousins over The Pond.

But for once the chaps in charge of Amer­ica’s Ma­jor League Base­ball have hit on a unique so­lu­tion to their game’s grow­ing debt prob­lem.

They’ve im­ple­mented some­thing called a ‘lux­ury tax’ for teams that are ag­gres­sive spenders. The more you spend the more you’re pe­nalised.

And the pro­posed sys­tem for the English Premier League would see one point de­ducted from a team’s tally for ev­ery £10m they spend in the trans­fer win­dow.

Want to spank £50m on Fer­nando Tor­res? That’ll be five points docked, thank you very much.

The em­pha­sis here would be placed squarely on teams bring­ing through their own cheap, English tal­ent from youth teams and acad­e­mies, rather than try­ing to buy suc­cess at the mere open­ing of a Sheikh’s bulging wal­let.

That can only be good news for the English na­tional team, too.

The over-in­flated trans­fer mar­ket in gen­eral would take a hit, bring­ing costs down and re­duc­ing the need for club’s to get into debt try­ing to buy play­ers.

In an ideal world the EPL would be­come much more com­pet­i­tive than in re­cent years. And isn’t it a level play­ing field that we all crave so much? at­tract play­ers to the Premier League, but we have to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the long-term health of foot­ball.

“Clubs have to con­trol their money prop­erly and only pay what they can ac­tu­ally af­ford. Peo­ple have to be held re­spon­si­ble when things go wrong.

“Ev­ery fam­ily in the coun­try at the mo­ment has to fi­nance cor­rectly. They can’t over­spend. Why is foot­ball dif­fer­ent?””

But it’s not just money. Fans are be­com­ing ever more dis­tanced from the play­ers they ad­mire.

The more they earn, the more de­tached they are from re­al­ity and the harder it is for them to re­late.

And the more the clubs rush to pay the ex­hor­bi­tant wages, the more they are forced to fleece the fans for ever more money.

Higher and higher sea­son tick­ets, more and more kit designs, ex­pen­sive food and drink, the list goes on.

And this has led to many orig­i­nal fans claim­ing they have been pushed out of the game they love.

Added to the malaise is the pre­dictablity of the league, be­cause no mat­ter how much Sky bill it as the most ex­cit­ing league in the world, fans know the win­ner will come from one of three or four clubs.

And ex­perts claim this could even­tu­ally lead to a fall in at­ten­dance. So what is to be done? Is there a way to res­cue the Beau­ti­ful Game? We ex­am­ine

the op­tions.


CLUBS gen­er­ate their in­come from three main ar­eas: match­day rev­enue, broad­cast­ing rev­enue and spon­sor­ship and mer­chan­dis­ing.

So what hap­pens when at­ten­dances across all the leagues slumps dra­mat­i­cally, as we’re see­ing now? You get a short­fall in dosh that can quickly crip­ple a team’s am­bi­tions.

Some are now ar­gu­ing that amid in­flated ticket prices and in­creased fan dis­il­lu­sion­ment there’s only one way to get pun­ters flock­ing back in through the turn­stiles: a re­turn to old fash­ioned ter­rac­ing.

In some quar­ters it’s seen as the an­ti­dote to ster­ile at­mos­pheres and over-zeal­ous stew­ards.

And a ma­jor voice in the clam­our to re­turn to stand­ing at matches is Mal­colm Clarke, chair of the Foot­ball Sup­port­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion.

He wants des­ig­nated stand­ing ar­eas in all grounds to boost both at­ten­dances AND the feel-good fac­tor of the mod­ern game – giv­ing footy back to the hard­core ma­jor­ity.

And he says: “The cost of a stand­ing ticket would prob­a­bly be £14 or £15. Yet prices in the Premier League have gone way above that.

“Even­tu­ally, re­al­ity must in­trude. It gives clubs the free­dom to de­cide what’s best for their own ground. It’s time they lis­tened to the fans.”

CASH CRI­SIS: Rangers won’t be the last club to face fi­nan­cial ruin

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