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  Thursday, 16 May, 2002, 17:49 GMT 18:49 UK
Should clubs impose salary caps?
Arsenal's Sol Campbell and Manchester United's Juan Sebastian Veron are two of the Premiership's highest earners
As clubs over Europe count the cost of footballers' salaries, the G14 grouping of clubs agree in principle to financial controls.

Will the clubs be able to come up with a viable salary cap scheme?


  G14 reach agreement

After Uefa declined the opportunity to introduce salary controls, Europe's top clubs in the shape of the G14 group have agreed to look at the issue.

Some form of salary cap now seems inevitable although the exact form it will take is far from being decided.

Should clubs set the limit on players' wages?

This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appear below.

The comparison to salary caps that are present in some US sports is interesting. This was introduced in the USA primarily to ensure 'competitive balance' between the teams and thus the financial health of the league. Even with a salary cap players in the NFL and NBA are paid enormous sums of money from the superstars to the role players. The problem with a salary cap in European football is that either all the teams have to enter it or none, because, unlike in the USA, teams play within their own countries and in cross border Euro cup competitions.

What is needed is for the clubs to stop paying huge salaries that they cannot afford
Jonathan Michaud, US (Ex-UK)
The fact that the G14 are the movers in this area would indicate that they are interested not in "competitive balance", as this would be against their interests. The turkeys are not going to vote for Christmas! If the salary cap is just being used to cap wages, it is not needed. What is needed is for the clubs to stop paying huge salaries that they cannot afford. Clubs like Real Madrid, Milan and Barcelona are operating in massive debt, and if they were in any other business would have declared bankrupt ages ago. No one is holding a gun to their heads and forcing them to pay 90,000 a week to Beckham and co. They choose to do this, and thus have the choice not to. Obviously the clubs think it is worth it.
Jonathan Michaud, US (Ex-UK)

Without doubt they should. The greed of players in the Premiership is going to be the death of many smaller clubs and football as we know it. Carbone is just one example, he is reportedly getting 40,000 per week (over 2m per year)and nobody wants to sign him because his skills don't match the cost and he's not alone.

It's nothing short of a disgrace. The distribution of wealth within the sport, has to be shared more evenly with the clubs in the lower divisions getting a better share. It would also be beneficial for sponsors to be given a ceiling on what they can pay players, they would then have more money to put into other parts of the game. Whatever is done, a better way has to be found soon or Bradford is just the beginning.
Baz, UK

I think a cap should be imposed. Footballers are not the worst paid people in the world. This current financial crisis should prevent to past trend of hyper-inflation in player wages, and get clubs to operate in a better business sense, i.e. operating as a proper business rather than the chairman's passion, with money and player wages kept tight a low.
Matt, UK

So European clubs are now saying that they are feeling the strain. In the late 80s and 90s where did all the players want to go? That's right Italy, Spain or Germany. Now that English have the financial clout to entice the cream of Europe, Italy and Spain want a cap so it stops English clubs dominating Europe. They started the ridiculous transfer fees and wages and now just because they cannot keep up, tough!
Darren, Manchester, England

If clubs cannot afford the wages, either stop paying them, sell, or go into receivership
Phil, UK
This is a tough one. I think that wages and transfer fees have got out of hand. But with all of the money that is in the game at the moment I feel that it should be the players who get a lot of it and not the clubs bosses because at the end of the day it is the players who bring all of the money in.

I do feel that there should be a cap put on it though and the money that clubs would save in the long run should be put back into the game, either creating more facilities for kids or even putting it all into a fund to help the lower division clubs.

If there was a fund like this then situations like the ITV digital one would not have such a devastating effect like it has done. Also to be fair, how can Real Madrid be one of the clubs pushing for this when it was really them who has pushed it all up recently anyway.
Matt Holden, england

I notice people are wittering on about 'supply and demand' again. Surely it should be obvious that if the clubs have got to the point where they'd discuss a salary cap then the 'demand' is no longer there?
Bill, UK

Salary caps are unworkable and could cause a throwback to the day of John Charles, who was paid the maximum of 10 a week in England but was offered six times that to play in Italy.

Doing a treble is now becoming the expected norm for the big three in the Premiership
Mark, UK

Whatever people say about Manchester United, if all businesses were like them, then this country would not be in the mess it is in now.

They outlay around 60% of their turnover on wages and experts agree that they could spend even more, which rubbishes all the tabloidesque cries of "overpaid footballers," which will resurface when David Beckham puts pen to paper.

Are Manchester United supposed to downgrade to a level playing field where Juventus outlay 112% of their turnover and where Real Madrid are in massive debt? If clubs cannot afford the wages, either stop paying them, sell, or go into receivership. This is only a simple matter of supply and demand.
Phil, UK

Absolutely!! Difficult to implement as it would need to cover all football clubs in Europe, but the American experience proves it would break the hegemony of one or two clubs winning everything every year.

Remember when doing the double was a real achievement? Doing a treble is now becoming the expected norm for the big three in the Premiership.

Reform will only come after a total meltdown drives fans away
Ross Larsen, USA

It would surely provide a boost to the game and create more interest if teams such as Southampton or Bradford had a realistic hope of winning the title every year. If teams could no longer buy championships, the emphasis would return to where it should be, the development of superior players through superior coaching.

As an aside, in the NFL star players are rarely released just because they have a high salary, but as a combination of deteriorating performance and injury problems making such a salary unjustifiable. We need not feel too much sympathy for players who are already multi-millionaires.
Mark, UK

Of course a salary cap would make the game better and not cause so much financial havoc. But I can't see anyone giving up a single penny of their booty to make the game better and improve the experience for fans.

They know one word: greed. Greed drives the league. They are not ready for any meaningful change and won't be for years. Reform will only come after a total meltdown drives fans away.
Ross Larsen, USA

No way should they impose salary caps. I'd rather see it in the players' pockets rather than agents' pockets, and fat cat officials and TV executives.
Peter McAllister, Scotland

See also:

15 May 02 |  Football
PFA opposition to salary cap
15 May 02 |  Football
Will the cap fit?
24 Jan 02 |  Football
Uefa wants transfer windows
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