Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe has revealed the last two seasons have cost the club £15m.
United missed out on promotion from League One at the first attempt
after losing 8-7 on penalties to Huddersfield in the play-off final.
"The last two seasons have cost about £15m, with a high wage bill and less revenue," he told BBC Radio Sheffield.
"With the new financial fair play rules we are going to have to work with a lower budget next season."
He added: "Unless we get the wage bill down next season then we'll face financial penalties."
McCabe moved to allay fears that needing to reduce the budget would mean any of the club's top performers would need to be sold on.
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Sheffield United chairman
“The club is in good hands with a top class manager at the helm and one aim for next season - automatic promotion”
Young centre-half Harry Maguire, full-back Matthew Lowton and midfielder Stephen Quinn have been linked with moves to teams in higher divisions.
"I'd love to keep hold of them and there is certainly no 'for sale' signs on their heads," McCabe continued.
"They've all had great seasons and we don't want to lose them, but obviously we have a problem if someone comes in and offers them a package we can't match."
The Blades chairman encouraged fans to not be negative after a painful end to the season.
Having seen local rivals Sheffield Wednesday pip them to automatic promotion, their failure to go up through the play-offs means United have been unsuccessful in all six of their play-off campaigns.
"Our supporters must forget being down-hearted. We've had a successful season that has ended in failure but we must look forward," he concluded.
"The club is in good hands with a top class manager at the helm and one aim for next season - automatic promotion."