Clubs could face limits on the amount they spend on players’ salaries under proposals outlined to European ministers by UEFA president Michel Platini.
In the keynote speech to the council of ministers for European affairs in Brest, Platini also called for curbs on transfer of players under 18 and greater power for team sports to govern themselves.
Platini spoke of the need to have “the means to develop better control of clubs’ spending” through limiting a club’s total wage bill to fixed percentage of their income – between 55% and 65% – but this move would only be taken with the clubs’ agreement.
William Gaillard, UEFA’s communications director and Platini’s special adviser, told PA Sport: “We know an individual salary cap would be very difficult to enforce in European law but we need to talk to the EC about clubs spending only a percentage of income on salaries.
“It could be 55%, 60%, 65% – Karl-Heinz Rummenigge [chairman of the new European Club Association] has talked recently about 50-55%.
“Michel Platini has said this is what the clubs want and we will support it but we will not enforce it unilaterally.”
Gaillard pointed out that G14, the now-defunct group of elite European clubs, had their own salary limit of a maximum of 70% of revenue being spent on wages.
Platini also presented a document recently drafted jointly by six European team sports – basketball, volleyball, handball, ice hockey, rugby union and football - calling for new rules to ban the transfer of players under 18.
Gaillard added: “Clubs are stealing players aged 12 and 13, taking them away from their homes and then dumping them again a few years later.
“There are a lot of cases all over Europe of terrible failures of very promising players that have been transferred very early, when still children, and haven’t developed well and their career has been ended.”
Gaillard said the practice was basically “youth trafficking” and was not ethical, and that ministers themselves had raised concerns.
Gaillard said Platini’s major task was persuading the EC that sports such as football did not fit in with European competition law.
He added: “Chelsea do not want to be able to beat Manchester United and Arsenal 7-0 every week as soon no one would turn up to watch.
“They want strong competition – but European competition law does not allow for that.”