The majority of the League’s 20 clubs are reportedly in favour of introducing financial controls, but major differences of opinion are said to exist over what form these should take. No decision was taken at the meeting at Premier League headquarters and talks are now set to continue in February with a view to implementing potential reforms from the 2013-14 season. The talks come as the clubs seek to determine how best to utilise the huge increase in revenues from the new television deals and ensure funds aren’t solely diverted to the transfer market and player wages.
It was reported this week that the Premier League will break through the £5 billion barrier in rights fees per three-year cycle for the first time as it wraps up its overseas sales process for the 2013-14 to 2015-16 seasons.
The Premier League confirmed its latest rights deal on Thursday as it announced that Cable Thai Holdings had been awarded the exclusive live rights for the three-year window in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. It was also reported that ESPN Star Sports has extended its deal for the Indian market. The Premier League has already completed its domestic rights sales process, having struck deals in June with pay-television broadcaster BSkyB and telecommunications company BT worth a combined £3.018 billion from 2013-14 to 2015-16, marking a 70% increase on the previous three-year cycle.
Press Association Sport reports that Thursday’s meeting saw some clubs such as Arsenal and Manchester United put forward proposals for teams to be obliged to break even every year, while others argued that owners should be allowed to invest their own money to subsidise spending. There was also said to be disagreement over the level of owner investment that should be permitted. Clubs including Fulham are believed to be seeking no restrictions at all, while another group including Sunderland want the controls to only be short-term restrictions on player wage increases.
Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins said: “I think we will get a consensus on this. Over the next few months we should get something in place, most likely before the start of next season. The main issue is that in the present economic climate, we as a league, portray the right image and make sure that everyone involved in football is looking after the supporters and making sure everything is kept under control and is run in the right manner.”