Premier League: Points threat underpins English cost curbs

Premier League

England's top flight soccer clubs could be docked points if they fail to comply with new limits on financial losses and curbs on increases in player wages, the Premier League said.

The complex measures agreed on Thursday are designed to help ensure that a five billion pound ($7.85 billion) television windfall brings a new era of financial stability rather than being frittered away on lavish wages for players.

The curbs are less stringent than UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules which will force top clubs from all leagues across the continent to move towards breakeven or face exclusion from European competition.

The Premier League, the richest in the world by revenues, is seeking to promote financial stability without preventing rich owners from investing in their clubs to take them to the top.

Manchester City, bankrolled by cash from Abu Dhabi, and Chelsea, owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, have both run up huge losses over the past few years but both have been rewarded by winning the Premier League.

However, clubs will be limited to maximum aggregate losses of 105 million pounds ($165 million) over the three years from 2013 to 2016, coinciding with the new TV contracts.

That means that the days of a super-rich new owner trying to buy instant success will be a thing of the past.

"A new owner or even an existing owner with a change of attitude or fortunes... can invest proportionately a decent amount of money to improve their club," Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore told reporters.

"But what they aren't going to be doing is throwing hundreds and hundreds of millions at it in a very short period of time."

WAGE CURBS

Top leagues in Germany and Spain have already adopted financial controls for their clubs while similar measures are also in place in the English Championship (second division).

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