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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 November 2007, 18:13 GMT
Minister slams 'obscene' salaries
John Terry (centre) and his Chelsea team-mates
Terry (centre) is one of the Premier League's highest earners
Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe has condemned Chelsea captain John Terry's salary as "obscene" while criticising Manchester United's ticket prices.

Sutcliffe believes the sky-high wages and ticket prices are alienating fans.

Speaking at a sports summit in London, Sutcliffe said: "Good luck to John, but it is obscene to be on 150,000 a week.

"And United season tickets went up by 13% - holders have to automatically buy European and Carling Cup games at 200, that takes it away from ordinary fans."


The MP for Bradford South is himself a United fan, but he contrasted the club's prices with those at Bradford City where season tickets were cut to 138 this season, equating to 6 per game.

The Bantams were relegated to League Two last season, but the club has 12,000 season-ticket holders - almost as many as when the club were in the Premier League six seasons ago.

Sutcliffe continued: "Ordinary working people who want go and see Manchester United face being priced out.

"There is a danger that there will be a move away from the game and we don't want to be in a position where people are alienated."

Sutcliffe said the Government would not interfere with the running of football, such as by trying to impose salary caps, but said he wanted to act as "a critical friend".

"People in the street cannot understand salaries like Terry's," he added.

"Chelsea are 250m in the red and they may be able to cope with that but it's not the real world - 250m in the red is not sustainable."

Chelsea were said to be furious with some of the figures quoted by Sutcliffe.

It is believed Blues officials complained to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) that the figures were inaccurate.

And Manchester United chief executive David Gill countered: "Our average increase was 10.78% and we think the prices between 25 and 45 are very fair in relation to other clubs such as Chelsea and keep us in touch with our grass-roots supporters."

But in response, a spokesman for Sutcliffe said: "The minister accepts that the figures may not be 100% correct but he stands by his wider point."

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