Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe has condemned John Terry’s salary as “obscene” and criticised Manchester United for increasing their ticket prices.
Sutcliffe said there was a danger of football losing touch with ordinary fans because of players’ sky-high salaries, and that clubs could price grass-roots supporters out of attending matches.
Speaking at the FT Sports Summit in London, the sports minister said: “Good luck to John Terry but I think it is obscene to be on £150,000 a week. People in the street cannot understand salaries like that.
“Chelsea are £250m in the red and they may be able to cope with that but it’s not the real world. £250m in the red is not sustainable.
“This year Manchester United increased their season tickets by 13% and said fans have to automatically buy European and Carling Cup games as well and that costs an extra £200.
“That’s taking the game away from the ordinary grass-roots supporter.”
Sutcliffe is himself a Manchester United fan, and contrasted the club’s prices with those at Bradford City where season tickets have been cut to £130.
He added: “Ordinary working people who want go and see Manchester United face being priced out.
“There is a danger that there will be a move away from the game and we don’t want to be in a position where people are alienated.”
Sutcliffe said the Government would not interfere with the running of football, such as by trying to impose salary caps, but said he wanted to act as “a critical friend”.
He added that he would be raising his views with Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore and Manchester United chief executive David Gill at meetings this afternoon.