The move would hit clubs with mega-rich owners such as Chelsea as they would not be allowed to spend more than they earn in order to steal a march on their rivals.
The idea has been mooted as part of a new Europe-wide licensing system after the possibility of a salary cap for clubs was abandoned.
Clubs would not be allowed to spend more than they earn on transfer fees and players’ wages but they would be allowed to borrow for capital investments such as new stadia or training grounds.
Chelsea and their Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich are the obvious examples of a club spending more than they earn. In the first two years of Abramovich’s ownership they reported losses of £228m and spent £276m on transfers.
The proposals will be formalised in the review of European football being carried out by Jose Luis Arnaut, a former presidency minister in the Portuguese government.
It will not be easy to gain the support of clubs. G14, the grouping of elite European clubs including Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool, considered imposing a ceiling of 70% for the proportion of revenue that members could spend on wages.
It never became a formal rule for members, though, and was just a voluntary recommendation.