Clubs competing in the Champions League will learn tomorrow if they are to face stringent restrictions on spending on wages.
The European Clubs’ Association (ECA) are meeting in Geneva where they are expected to come up with proposals to limit the proportion of a club’s income that they can spend on salaries.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the chairman of Bayern Munich who heads the new clubs’ body, is pushing for a 50% limit of turnover going on wages.
Among English clubs, Chelsea would have the most to fear from such a ruling - they spend 71% of their turnover on salaries. Liverpool, according to the most recent figures available from 2006, would also be affected with 57% of turnover going on salaries.
Manchester United would have least to fear – they have made a policy of prudent spending on wages, and their current level is 43.6%. Arsenal’s proportion is also comparatively low at 45.4%, although this rises to 49% if the income from property sales at the old Highbury stadium is discounted.
Rummenigge said of his plan: “The 32 participants [in the Champions League] would have to meet certain conditions. Only 50% of the club’s total revenues could be invested in wages.”
Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon is on the ECA board, as is his Liverpool counterpart Rick Parry, and they are likely to argue for a less drastic limit such as 60% or even an initial 70% with clubs being given several years to cut their wage bills.
A 50% ruling would not trouble the Old Firm in Scotland too much – Rangers only spend 43% of turnover on wages, while Celtic’s figure is a less comfortable but still acceptable 50%.
Rangers vice-chairman John McClelland is also on the ECA board.
UEFA president Michel Platini is keen on imposing limits and he has already met with Rummenigge for talks on action.
Speaking in London last week, Platini used Manchester City’s £100m bid to sign Kaka as an example of why some restraints were needed.
Platini said: “Clubs have to operate within their income.
“How one guy can cost €150m is ridiculous from a social, football and financial point of view.
“It’s why we have to do something to have a transparency and a fairness in football. It’s not good for the popularity of football.”