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Tuesday, 5 November, 2002, 01:47 GMT
Football giants consider salary caps
Barcelona and Real Madrid are among the G14 members
The G14 includes Barcelona and Real Madrid

Eighteen of Europe's biggest football clubs are meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the spiralling costs that are threatening the financial future of the game.

The demands for high wages from top players is at the top of the agenda, and the talks are hoping to suggest measures to help clubs withstand the financial pressures that are forcing many clubs deep into debt.

The G14
England: Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd
France: Marseille, Paris St Germain, Olympique Lyonnais
Germany: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen
Holland: Ajax, PSV Eindhoven
Italy: AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus
Portugal: Porto
Spain: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia
The clubs are part of a misnamed, and expanded pressure group called the G14, which includes teams such as Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Paris St Germain and AC Milan.

But in the present footballing financial crisis, even the big clubs are anxious to control the spiralling costs at a time when money from television is at a premium.

The increasing wages of players has sparked the need for a proposal on cost control.

Vicious spiral

The general manager of G14, Thomas Kurth, says clubs like any other business cannot spend more than they earn.

Tim Kurth, general manager of G14
Kurth says clubs cannot spend more than they earn
But many clubs do exactly that, in a vicious spiral in an attempt to buy lucrative success.

The G14 members are expected to agree a restriction of players wages compared to a percentage of a club's turnover, probably around 60%.

It would be similar to the "salary cap" commonly used in professional sport in the United States.

But the plans are just a blueprint to stop wage inflation to bankrupt the game.

The group has no official status and can impose no sanctions on transgressors.

But they could provide a warning for lesser clubs that in spite of its huge popularity, professional football is still a business.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Mike Johnson
"For many clubs it could mean a huge revolution in their finances"
Paul Rawnsley, Deliotte and Touche
"What clubs now really need to do is get control of their costs"
See also:

04 Nov 02 | Europe
16 May 02 | Sports Talk
02 Sep 02 | World Football
01 Aug 02 | Europe
15 May 02 | Football
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