see any hope in a proposed salary cap, especially when the likes of Man City
are prepared to throw vast fortunes to achieve success.
What hope is there for a salary cap in the
Premier League when, as reported at the weekend, Manchester City's new owners
plan to spend £100million a year on players for the next three years?
The numbers being bandied about in football
at the moment are astronomical. FA chairman Lord Treisman recently revealed
that English clubs have a debt of £3billion – a third of which is owed by the
Premiership's top four. How can that level of debt be sustained, and how has it
been allowed to build up? Uefa general secretary David Taylor has stated clubs
with serious debt might be banned from future European competitions. Ironic,
considering the reason they have overspent is to reach the Champions League.
So amid these growing concerns, sit the
debt free owners of Manchester
City, and other clubs
will be forced to spend even more to try and keep up. The figure of £100million
presumably doesn't even include wages, which will need to be much higher than
the amount the four clubs currently in the Champions League would offer, in
order to entice top footballers to Eastlands.
Contrast this with the problems facing West
Ham. The fans were rejoicing when the club was taken over by ambitious
Icelandic owners who proceeded to spend a lot of money on new players – small
fry compared to Man
City's plans but
significant amounts none the less. They're now potentially facing a mass exodus
of players following the collapse of the Icelandic banking system, as well as a
possible compensation payment of up to £30million to Sheffield United.
A salary cap is a great idea in an ideal
world so that similar scenarios might be avoided, but wealthy owners will
continue to buy up clubs and find a way around any restrictions. As long as the
financial rewards at the top of football remain so out of proportion with the
rest of the leagues below, the spending will continue. I doubt even a Premier
League club going into administration would deter the billionaires – what's the
betting a European Super
League would soon rise from the ashes.