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Premier League boss Scudamore backs Uefa finance rules

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In-depth - Scudamore supports financial fair play rules

By Dan Roan
BBC sports news correspondent

Premier League boss Richard Scudamore does not expect Uefa's new financial rules to lead to any English club being banned from European competition.

The principle of Uefa's Financial Fair Play Initiative is that clubs must not spend more money than they generate.

The measures are aimed at the likes of big-spending Manchester City who are reliant on owner Sheikh Mansour.

But Scudamore told BBC Sport: "I don't see any circumstances where any of our clubs could get near to exclusion."

Michel Platini, president of European football's governing body, says he is prepared to exclude clubs from the Champions League and Europa League if they do not comply with the new regulations.

But Scudamore said "Uefa is too sensible, and it's not in its interests to do so. It's more about taking the steam out of the system and acting as a speed bump rather than about barring clubs."

No-one in football is proud of the kind of wage inflation we've experienced, but equally we mustn't do anything that dampens the international appeal of our league

Richard Scudamore

Clubs will be subject to a sliding scale of acceptable losses that can be covered by an equity injection from the club's owner, starting with £37.4m over the next two seasons, and eventually requiring them to break even.

Bans from European competition are regarded as a measure of last resort, but could be applied as early as 2014-15.

With just four of its 20 clubs reporting a profit in their most recent accounts, the Premier League has considerable work to do if it is to meet the criteria. For example, Manchester City reported a loss of £121.3m in the last financial year.

But Scudamore has given Uefa's intiative his blessing. "In general we're supportive," he said. "It's very hard not to be. Break-even as a concept has got to be good in business.

"Manchester City are starting to plan and are disposing of some of their assets this transfer window. They're a very well-run club, they know what they have to do and I'm sure they'll do it."

Scudamore was critical of Uefa's plans to ban benefactor loans when they were first proposed, and which threatened the participation of England's biggest clubs in the Champions League.

Edin Dzeko
Big-spending Man City recently paid 27m for striker Edin Dzeko

But since then the European Club Association have won certain concessions from Uefa, and Scudamore now welcomes the revised rules.

The trend of a club's losses will be taken into account, while any spending commitments that are shown to have predated June 2010, when the rules were enshrined, will also help reduce the severity of sanctions. There are no restrictions on investment in stadia and youth development.

"We had some concerns when [the new rules] were a blunt instrument, but we've pushed the time-frame back so clubs have time to prepare, and there is flexibility now," said Scudamore.

But despite these exemptions, the Premier League supremo says he does still have concerns that the rules could preserve the status quo and enable clubs with the biggest revenues to solidify their status.

"We don't want to kill the way English football has been since the 1800s. The biggest of our clubs are fans as they'll have the easiest job of complying,

"There are some clubs in the middle of the league who are worried it will lock in the natural order

"There mustn't be a situation where the likes of Fulham and Wigan cannot do what they've done in recent seasons and invest and progress. The risk remains that we over-prescribe."

Clubs across the continent appear to be living beyond their means, with Uefa reporting that more than half of the 664 across Europe's 53 top-flight leagues currently running at a loss.

Much of that trend is down to player wages, which are rising at 10% a year, and Scudamore welcomes the downward pressure the rules will have on that part of clubs' expenditure.

606: DEBATE
FORGET YOUR HONDA CIVIC I'VE A HORSE OUTSIDE

"It's a 'soft' salary cap in effect. By far the largest expense is in this area, so by definition it will have an impact on wages and squad sizes and that's great.

"No one in football is proud of the kind of wage inflation we've experienced, but equally we mustn't do anything that dampens the international appeal of our league.

Uefa introduced the rules as a response to the kind of financial meltdown seen at Portsmouth who went into administration in 2009, and the trend of foreign 'sugar-daddies' like Roman Abramovich who has ploughed around £700m into Chelsea since 2003.

Blackburn was the most recent Premier League club to fall into foreign hands, with Indian poultry giant Venky's completing a takeover in November.

But Scudamore said "I'm not concerned by that club or foreign owners in general. I've worked with owners from abroad and here. It's not about their nationality or where they're from."

A special edition of BBC 5 live's Monday Night Club will examine Uefa's new rules and their likely impact from 2030 GMT on Monday.



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see also
Adopt Arsenal money model - Uefa
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Boss Wenger hails new Uefa rules
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Uefa threatens spendthrift clubs
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Clubs win debt rules postponement
02 Mar 10 |  Football
How to watch Match of the Day
09 Aug 11 |  Match of the Day


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