Fulham chief Al Fayed vows to lead fight for player wage cap

FLAMBOYANT Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed has urged other clubs in the English Premier League to show the “balls” needed to join his call for a wage cap and create a more even distribution of wealth in the top flight.

Fulham are currently eighth in the table under the guidance of manager Roy Hodgson and in line for a place in next season’s Europa League, which replaces the UEFA Cup.

That is no mean achievement for a team without any big-name players and a home ground of Craven Cottage in west London whose capacity is restricted to 25,000.

English football continues to be dominated by the ‘Big Four’ of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, and some reports have suggested that Egyptian-born businessman Fayed, who also owns London’s Harrods department store, may be thinking of ending his involvement with Fulham.

However, he told the club’s official website last night: “I own the best club in the world, with the best team and the best fans. I want to reassure people of this, because sometimes there are naughty rumours that I may sell the club.”

Fayed, whose son Dodi also died in the Paris car crash which killed Britain’s princess Diana in 1997, added: “I am not going to give up on other things in the game either. Take my crusade against players’ wages.

“Our expenses bill rose by 17% last year. How can it be right for top players to be earning £15-20 million a year? It’s crazy. These wages need to be capped.

“But I worry that it won’t happen because the Premier League and the FA (Football Association) are run by donkeys who don’t understand business, who are dazzled by money.

“If the world wants to keep players in pocket for tens of thousands of pounds every week, then let the Premier League and the FA negotiate with Sky and other broadcasters for a share of the billions that they make in profit from our product, from my product.

“Because, at present, they don’t. All around the world, football fans are paying to watch top matches on TV.

“And yet do most clubs see any of that money? No. We are hopelessly dependent on our end-of-season league placing to determine our share of the cash. It makes a difference of feast or famine every season.

“Yet even then, except for the top four clubs, we’re only talking about a difference of a few million, which doesn’t get you far.”

“I want to help other clubs,” Al Fayed insisted. “I speak my mind and other chairmen should too. They need to wake up from their coma and join me in this fight with the Premier League and the FA.

“In fact, they can come and have lunch with me at Harrods, where I can serve them stags’ testicles from my Scottish estate, Balnagown. We all need big balls in this business.”


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