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Page last updated at 12:25 GMT, Thursday, 6 May 2010 13:25 UK

More football clubs face collapse says leaked FA paper

Ian Watmore
The FA says it is working with clubs to ensure football's financial health

A leaked Football Association document seen by the BBC has warned of "dangerously high wage costs in some clubs throughout the leagues".

Ian Watmore's report, written before he quit as FA chief executive, was sent to Football and Premier League bosses.

A source close to the FA claimed clubs stifled debate about football finances inside the organisation.

But FA statement said the governing body works with clubs to ensure the financial health of football.

It had previously denied that the professional game has blocked proposals for change.

Mr Watmore's leaked internal document, seen by BBC Radio 4's The Report programme, said "a significant number of clubs are said to be on the brink of severe financial troubles as a result".

Watmore claimed "clubs are at risk of the charge 'of unsustainably mortgaging their futures' - converting their long-term assets into cash now by taking loans against stadia and other capital assets".

The Report has been told by a source close to the highest levels of the FA that any efforts to debate with the Premier League about introducing greater financial scrutiny are blocked by its member clubs and Football League members on the FA's board.

The FA continues to work hard alongside the professional leagues, supporters and all of the game's stakeholders to ensure a regulatory framework exists to support sustainable, competitive and healthy club football

FA statement

"It was made clear that it was something that the professional game would sort out for itself," said the source.

"The Premier League did not need the FA interfering with the financial side. It saw its role as the financial governing body of the top end of football."

He added if changes had been made five years ago "then the Portsmouth situation may not have happened."

Earlier this season, Portsmouth became the first Premier League club to enter administration. On Thursday, it was revealed its debt totalled £138m.

The FA has said there is no evidence the professional game had blocked any proposals for change.

A statement issued to The Report added: "The FA continues to work hard alongside the professional leagues, supporters and all of the game's stakeholders to ensure a regulatory framework exists to support sustainable, competitive and healthy club football.

"We believe this framework must seek the right balance between the risks of financial instability of clubs on the one hand, and the promotion of an economic model that can continue to attract investment in the game on the other."

606: DEBATE
David

The Premier League points to new measures due to come into effect next season which it said will tighten financial criteria surrounding clubs.

It added that the rules will give the Premier League Board greater powers of scrutiny and intervention.

And the league also said that further regulation is being brought forward by its board for member clubs to vote on in their upcoming Annual General Meeting.

Creditors of Portsmouth FC were meeting on Thursday to approve a debt-repayment plan.

The Report is on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday, 6 May at 2000 BST. You can also listen via the BBC iPlayer after broadcast or download the podcast.



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see also
Portsmouth debt goes up to 135m
06 May 10 |  Portsmouth
Pompey 'misled' squad over wages
06 May 10 |  Portsmouth
Hull deny administration rumours
29 Apr 10 |  Hull
FA holds talks after Watmore exit
23 Mar 10 |  Football
Premier League defends owner test
18 Feb 10 |  Premier League


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