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Premier League facing turbulent times

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David Bond | 23:26 UK time, Friday, 26 March 2010

During his 10 years in charge at the Premier League, Richard Scudamore has seen six chief executives leave the Football Association.

Ian Watmore became the latest to quit this week with FA insiders pointing to differences with the Premier League as the reason for his departure.

During that decade, the Premier League under Scudamore has gone from strength to strength. It has seen its annual television rights values break through the £1bn barrier, the country's top clubs are known from Harrow to Hong Kong and its players have become millionaire superstars.

At the same time the FA has stumbled from crisis to crisis.

But with Portsmouth becoming the first Premier League club to go into administration, spiralling debts and concerns over players' behaviour - Scudamore is facing the trickiest period of his tenure.

Next week a ruling by media watchdog Ofcom could order the League's main TV partners, BSkyB, to sell rival broadcasters cheaper access to its exclusive sports rights.


The fear from the Premier League, and other sports bodies which rely on BSkyB for the vast majority of their income, is that the broadcaster will slash the prices it pays for their rights by up to a third.

With England's top clubs owing more than £2bn and players' wages showing no signs of falling, such a drop in income could be catastrophic.

However, Scudamore doesn't do self doubt. He is a free marketeer who remains bullishly committed to self regulation.

In my interview with the Premier League chief executive, he told me he was disappointed Watmore had quit so soon. He said they were building a close relationship and rejected the suggestion the Premier League - or more specifically chairman Sir David Richards - was responsible for his exit.

He called for a strong and stable FA but argued "structural difficulties" were at the heart of the governing body's ongoing problems.

This all goes back to the FA's failure to implement in full the review by Lord Terry Burns five years ago, who argued two independent directors would help bring sense to the FA's imperfect collaboration of self interests.

With the FA so weak, the Premier League have stepped in to fill the vacuum. New regulations introduced this season designed to tackle the sorts of financial problems that have hit Portsmouth should, he claims, be enough to avert a repeat of that fiasco.

But is it right that the League should be responsible for policing itself. Isn't that the job of the FA?

With a World Cup just around the corner, the focus on English football and the way it runs itself will be sharper than ever.


  • Comment number 1.

    I think UEFA need to be the ones enshrining solvency & sustainability at football clubs. The top clubs will find it hard to approve such regulation as long as their European competitors operate under different rules. Along with the homegrown quota this is actually one of the few areas where UEFA could do something worthwhile.

    As for the drop in revenue from BSkyB, I think what is needed is a sports channel (with advertising) being available on Freeview. A mixture of live sports coverage (including Golf, Tennis, Snooker, Rugby, Football, etc.) and sports magazine programs (like Gazette Football Italia) & news... I reckon it would actually do very well financially, especially if positioned at Freeview Channel 8 or somewhere similarly high-profile.

    Oh, and 1st!

  • Comment number 2.

    Before anyone suggests salary caps and tighter scrutiny, I want to mention US sports. Lots of people equate Man U with the NY yankees. However, the yankees break the salary cap and pay luxery taxes every year in the pursuit of titles not cash. It's hard to see that the Glazers have got any motivation other than financial... a more rigorous 'fit and proper persons' test would probably help but hey, what am i on about?! I think i'll just wait for Spurs to be the only big team left in the black and lap up the trophies!

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm sorry to be rude, but what a pathetic excuse for an article. Far from discuss the challenges that the Premier League is facing (as the headline suggests), they were barely even mentioned. The interview referred to in the article, to which there was a link, was similarly bereft, looking instead at the departure of the FA Chief Executive.

    Why did you bother?

  • Comment number 4.

    I agree with SpurSpud. It's as if you wrote a brief article intended to rile readers into providing streams of propositions and opinions without actually promoting any of your own.

  • Comment number 5.

    A salary cap is the answer, they have it in the NFL which is the most successful league in the world. They have it in the NBA and the NHL only baseball has what they call a soft cap which will change in the next few years as team like Pittsburg know before the season starts they have no chance, hard to grow any league like this. All of football needs to be capped, big market teams will still have an advantage because players want to play for the biggest and best teams, it just means you can't burry mistakes like in the past like the yankee's do every year. THey are a team that buys a championship their salary for the season dwarfs most teams.

  • Comment number 6.

    Football is a business and if they are allowed to, clubs will buy success.
    What sets football clubs apart from other businesses, is that football is also a sport and there is nothing sporting about being able to buy success.
    We have a situation where for example, Man U. decides it wants Valencia and Wigan has no choice but to sell. Look at the nonsense with Lescott and Man C too.
    This happens time after time and so the "smaller" clubs have no chance of ever breaking into the top four, unless as has happened this year, one of those clubs self-destructs.
    There are two solutions that would work. One would be to limit the squad size so that the likes of Chelsea couldn't buy a player, as they did with Wright-Phillips, not to play him but to stop other teams getting him.
    The other solution would be to have a salary bill cap. This would not be a cap on individual players but on the total amount that clubs can pay out.
    This would mean that any player could be paid whatever they demand but only at the expense of their team-mates.

  • Comment number 7.

    I have to agree, a very poor article which asks nor answers the very tough questions soon to be asked of the elite.

  • Comment number 8.

    Lets face it nobody cares about how the premier league is facing hard times. They will do what they do until all the money runs out, until then it will continue to run its self like a mafia. The bottom team are 60 million in debt the top team are 600 million in debt. The rest trying to compete with "dark" money. Anyway its increasingly boring to watch the premier league of 20 of the top english teams as for the last 15 years there have only been 3 winners. Exciting!!! Football is a business but the business of football is a joke.

  • Comment number 9.

    Sssshhh, don't complain about the article too much, they might bring Mihir back

  • Comment number 10.

    The salary cap seems to be a popular idea here but I have to disagree.

    The reason I'm against a salary cap is that the disparity in club sizes makes it almost impossible to implement well.

    Frankly, why should a club like Manchester United be forced to compete financially with a provincial club that averages little over 20,000 fans a match? What's the point of the brand size and the large stadium and the international recognition if you're going to be forced to compete at the level of a provincial team?

    Alternately, if the cap is set at a high level, that won't stop the Pompeys of this world from overspending either.

    A salary cap is a very tricky thing to do well, and attempts to implement one could well be what prompts the big clubs to create a European Super League.

    If you're going to regulate football financially just regulate the balance sheet. Anything that's designed to affect the footballing product will invariably lead to upheaval.

  • Comment number 11.

    I am a big fan of the NHL and because they have a salary cap which all teams must adhere to, then it makes the league more competitive because no-one team can afford all the leagues best talent.

    And whilst I agree that EPL clubs (or any nations clubs for that matter) shouldn't be living beyond their means, I can't help but feel that UEFA and Platini are more annoyed by the increasing threat English clubs are having in Europe, then just on the over spending itself.

    @8. Actually 4 teams have won the Premier League in the last 15 years. Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Blakburn Rovers (Still doesn't say much for competition though!)

  • Comment number 12.

    Agree that this article is extremely lightweight and has nothing to do with its title.

    Sport is big business and, like in any other business, the top talent is attracted to the big players because they offer the opportunity to work with other top talent, to work on the most interesting projects and to earn the most money. In all industries the top tier of organizations are self sustaining and difficult to break into and the premier league is no different. Liverpool#s blip is only temporary. The global branding will enable them to bounce back.

  • Comment number 13.

    10 - Erdles,
    This would not be the case if the salary capping system was done on a percentage of turnover basis. For example the capping system could say that a club can not pay more than 60% of its overall turnover on wages. Therefore, Portsmouth for example may turnover £100m, therefore can pay out £60m in wages, whereas Manchester United for example could pay out a lot more because there turnover is more. This would mean you would never get the situation you decribe and would mean that the best players still get the highest wages

  • Comment number 14.

    Bring back the old style European Cup. Make it a competition just for champions again and on a knockout round basis, no more league-format cash cow.

    At a stroke the cartel of the "big four" will be broken up and there will be a level playing field for the rest of the league. Then, and only then, should salary caps/squad caps be looked into. Get the horse better before fixing the cart.

  • Comment number 15.

    #8 isnilloc, actually there are 5 in 20 years - Leeds in 91/92 and Blackburn in 94/95. Still not much better and I know where you are coming from, but just wanted to set the record straight

  • Comment number 16.


    Isnilloc said 15 years, not 20 years.

  • Comment number 17.

    Look the Premier League is a business, and during the economical recession every damn business has been failing, it Wa only inevitable for this situation. In my opinion the PL is too huge for something catastrophic to happen. So let's just sit back and watch man city dominate the league for the next decade:)

  • Comment number 18.

    This article fails to make the grade. If the author was the student and I was the teacher, I would give a low grade because he failed to research his topic.

    Premiership clubs will soon have additional income by televised matches via the Internet and the best of them ( and the ones that owe much) will be able to cash in. If BSKYB attempt to lower the money they pay, they will just speed this process.

    Scudamore wasn't a catalyst for this process. Every decent director would have the same good fortune. It's been Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool that brought this money to the Premiership. It's Manchester City, Spurs, Aston Villa who help this trend to go on the increase.

    F.A. has suffered out of this, because the money-bags association is the Premier League. Add to that personal agendas and there you are.

    Overall, a poor reflection on reality.

  • Comment number 19.

    A salary cap wouldn't work as Football is globalised and as UEFA runs across different currencies (Euro and Pound amongst others) a salary cap would be impossible to enforce as there are constant fluctuations where one currency is stronger than the other. The cap works in American Football because its all in one country and all the same currency.

    With the regards to the article, its not bad, the vitriol from other posters is a touch harsh, though I understand where they are coming from. I took particular interest in the part about the burns report and the FA's faliure to implement all of them. It would be great to see a more in depth look on what the FA have done with this. To me it smacks of the protectionism and the self interest of the people of the FA, and the Premier league are being made the scapegoats for this merely because they are challenging the FA on certain issues. And the only reason the Premier League are as strong as they are (rightly or wrongly) is because the FA have been impotent and allowed the Premier League to become this powerful. I would also hazard a guess that the FA have never seen so much money as they have from the back of the Prem lge's tv deals and getting extra money for the FA cup and England matches

  • Comment number 20.


    It wouldn't be as impossible as you suggest, as North American sports have salary caps, and they have the American dollar and the Canadian dollar to deal with (i.e. NHL.)

  • Comment number 21.

    Salary Cap is the poor man's argument, when it comes to football earnings. It's a view that can be torn apart even from a primary school pupil, for obvious reasons.

    Do footballers provide for a club just from gates income?
    No. Clubs make most money out of BSKYB and the big clubs make even more money by selling commercial merchandise.

    What is the comparison with other houshold names who are high earners?
    You don't even to think of how much Jonathan Ross makes out of BBC for slating people who pay his wages. Neither do you want to think of Terry Wogan, who made a lifelong career out of slating the Eurovision competition - we even know what cliches he'll come with, as he is in a repetition since long ago. What separates top footballers, who are in the most lucrative business of entertainment from a (used just as an example) Tom Cruise who can easily make some handsome $50m out of one film? The list is endless.

    Are there other industries that this small group of footballers help increase their income?
    Countless: imagine BSKYB without football - they'll be bankrupt. Imagine textile, tourism, media, transport, advertising, etc. The more you think, the more this list increases.

    Salary caps is a lost argument from the moment you think of it.
    Why should Garry Lineker earn more than footballers for the right to comment on how they play?

    Has anyone thought if newspapers sell papers for the news they provide or the sports news someone reads to kill five minutes while having a team?

    I could write a 1000 page book nailing the salary cap argument. It's poorer than poor. It's senseless

  • Comment number 22.

    A lightweight article thet had nothing to do with it's headline.
    Leeds won the old 1st division title, not the Premier league.
    A previous contributor was correct.Blackburn, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are the only winners of the Premier League. The managers, Two Scots, a Portuguese, and a Frenchman.

  • Comment number 23.

    Correction: 'while having a team' --> 'while having a tea'

  • Comment number 24.

    A salary cap is not the way to go. I believe they have a cap on both wages and spending in France. This lead to Lyon winning the league a silly amount of times in a row only stopped last year by Bordeaux. The reason man City are doing well at the moment is because they can outspend the teams above them. If there is a salary cap and United, Chelsea and Arsenal are all at that cap, how can a team below expect to seriously compete?

  • Comment number 25.

    @21. Soccer_UK

    Who said the clubs would only pay the players from gate incomes? Everyone is aware that clubs earn money from different sources, like sponsorship, tc deals etc. That would all be taken into consideration.

    As for the comparison to Gary Lineker and Tom Cruise, how did you come to the assumption all players wages would be less than GL's? And the difference between the PL clubs and Tom cruise, is his films make a massive PROFIT! So he can take a big cut of the earnings.

    Football clubs are not making profit, hence this blog.

  • Comment number 26.

    Salary cap is in principle but could never work in reality. US sports can implement a system because they are the only major league of their sports. You would have to implement the system across the world which would never happen. So can people stop asking for a salary cap!

    Let football continue to run like a business... i do not see any issues with the 'product' as it is at the moment.. We have some great teams to watch producing high quality football. There are issues with the power of the premier league but I can not think of any way of reducing their power without reducing the quality of the league.

    Also, people, this is not a rate the article like a teacher! It is a comment to start people discussing although I am sure some 'clever' person will come on after me, have nothing to add to the discussion but slate my use of English or find a spelling mistake somewhere...

  • Comment number 27.

    I'd support a salary cap on a clubs (not necessarily per player).

    Whilst I can understand 'bigger' clubs and their supporters reluctance to accept a salary cap, they would still maintain some advantages. They'd still be able to afford the very best medical care for injured players, state of the art training facilities, travel (for example, flying to some games were other may use coach or rail travel), etc..

    As an earlier blogger pointed out too, the top players would still want to play for the biggest teams as it's still represent their best chance of winning silverware.

  • Comment number 28.

    It is my honest opinion that Scudamore is not so much of a leader of the Premiership as a follower and puppet of the Big 4, particularly Man Utd.

    He has never done a thing to stem the flow of funds from smaller clubs to the big boys and the small amount that goes to the other leagues is now obscene.

    He has never done anything to support referees in an effort to sort out the many and varie dissues

  • Comment number 29.

    Noorwich, I quite agree. Don't fix things if they don't need mending.

    I'm sure the Premier League fathers will be well aware of what needs doing to maintain the brand and salary cap probably isn't on their radar.

    By the way, it's a capital 'I' after 'run like a business...' - second paragraph. ;)

  • Comment number 30.

    As is usually the case this article is written as if the PL is a stand-alone league, which it is not. The greed of the PL has all but cut off the revenue streams to the lower leagues, both in terms of TV and sponsorship money but also in terms of transfer fees as PL clubs now look abroad rather than to the lower leagues to sign new players. This has crippled the smaller clubs and threatened many with extinction, including my own beloved Stockport and my home town club Chester along with many others. The PL is so self-obsessed that Stockport is on the brink of going under after being put into administration due to a £300K debt despite being 8 miles from the world's richest club (City) and a lub which is allowed to continuing operating with debts not short of £1bn (United). So please don't expect a huge amount of sympathy from lower league fans for the plight of greedy league clubs who have treated us with utter disregard in the pursuit of riches.

  • Comment number 31.

    This is a decent proposal and much better than a salary cap set at a median figure to artificially promote competition. This could be an alternative to balance sheet regulation or even integrated as part of it.

    The only people who want the European Cup back are supporters of mid-table clubs who don't want anyone else to enjoy Europe if they can't. They want 2nd to be worth the same as 15th. Don't you think it actually makes the league exciting to have more than 1 position worth playing for come the end of the season? In a league with a 2/3 horse race for the title everyone else above 15th will have nothing to play for come February/March. A league with 1 CL spot up for grabs shouldn't have more than 12 teams in it to avoid irrelevant run-ins.

  • Comment number 32.

    10. At 08:33am on 27 Mar 2010, Erdles - Only One Aaron Ramsey wrote:
    Frankly, why should a club like Manchester United be forced to compete financially with a provincial club that averages little over 20,000 fans a match?
    You answer your own question.
    Man U. would have to compete, the result wouldn't be a forgone conclusion (ok I remember Leeds but that's the exception that proves the rule).
    If the likes of Man U. aren't forced to compete, they soon won't have any competition and the Premier League will cease to function.
    Were it not for the moneybags buying Chelsea and Man C. we would be talking about the Top 3, Man U., Arsenal and Liverpool. There would in fact be two competitions, one for the League Title and one for the remaining CL place.
    The Americans aren't role models for many things but the way the NFL runs things with the worst team each season getting the first draft pick and the champions getting the last, does mean that an element of competition still exists.
    It can't be a good thing that the only discussion is which of four teams will be champions. Every fan should feel at the start of the season, that their team has a chance of winning.
    Portsmouth's troubles stem from the fact that they tried to compete and in the short term they did, they won the FA Cup but daring to try to compete has ruined them.

  • Comment number 33.

    Re: 25 Jay,

    Last week, we had the introduction of a part time Championship director at £3k pcw. His reason for his salary was he is a competent brain in the business world and his status demands such a salary (more or less his statement).

    We live at an age where the world system saved banks from going bankrupt (started a nervous laughter). And how did bankers react? They did by giving themselves a few billion bonuses.

    Also, we live at an age with a number of top executives in various utility companies, operating in an oligopoly system without competition or with no competition. And of course those guys deserve salaries in double figures, in thousands of pounds, pcw.

    The list is endless.
    Have you been bothered, though, to at least attempt to calculate how many billions of pounds a few dozen of footballers generate?

    (latest thought) I heard on the radio a council officer justifying his salary (something over £150k p.y.) because their council had to decide how to use a budget of a billion and a half pounds.

    It's a simple pshycology issue that we see claims of salary cap to footballers. And the reason for this is becaue we familiarise ourselves with them, due to our love for football and since we are familiar with them, we tend to have a word and an opinion about anything regarding them. Try tell me the last time you thought that The Bamk of England director should be on less than £100,0000 p.c.y., since he is the top boss of a failed institution.

    The more you think of it, the funnier it gets.

    With regard to your speculative claim that this salary ceiling wouldn't be less than Garry Lineker's weekly earnings, please, do not forget to adjust to the fact that Garry Lineker will be earning that money, perhaps, for the rest of his life and those players for 5-6 years, as earnings at early and late stage are far less than peak years. I am pretty sure you will scratch your head with the outcome :)

    By the way, I don't mean to slate Garry, as I like him as a MOTD presenter.

  • Comment number 34.

    surely basic common business sense from owners would have seen this coming years ago...

    if your overheads / expenditure is more than your income then its going to go belly up...

    clubs gamble on finding a few gems that they can offload from time to time in the transfer markets to keep balancing the books ...

    did anybody not see this coming or learn from when the italian seria a fell apart years ago !!!

    history will always repeat itself, i dont think we have even started yet, the premier league should ensure transparancy from all clubs regarding finance and some very stringent regulations should be put in place and should clubs fail to comply then the only thing that hurts them is to deduct points !!!

    the premier league, like the goverment with the banks dont have what it takes to do this due to the fact that they need the clubs more than the clubs need the premier league, if they imposed too strict conditions we will see a breakaway...

    u heard it here first !

  • Comment number 35.

    "Football clubs make no profit"

    Take Portsmouth and their fight to get rid of Storrie.
    That guy simply won't go.

    Take every newcomers to the premiership. They get a massive bonus for entering the premiership, topped with BSKYB money. They also have higher gates earnings, higher merchandice earnings and yet, they tend to invest a relatively low percentage of that in footballers' additions to the club. Have you ever thought where the rest of the money goes?

    Premiership club management is a very gray area. Words like 'untouchables' springs to mind.

    As for your assumption that a top film actor's movies are certain to make money before tickets start being sold at box office, I would like to learn your logic. I used the example, precisely, for huge fees being paid with all uncertainty about the final outcome. Exactly, as it happens with footballers' contracts.

  • Comment number 36.

    I really don't get the film star/tv presenter analogy, sorry.

    A salary cap is a blunt instrument which is unlikely to be workable in football.

    It would need to be implemented globally for one thing.

    How does that work when you have to factor in the fluctuations of every currency in the world?

    Are we talking an actual figure per club? X-million pounds per season?

    Would clubs in France or Scotland, for example, be expected to pay within the same limits as clubs in England?

    I don't see how that would impact any other league in the world, no-one else spends as much on players as the Premiership. Or do you set a lower cap for other countries? In which case, how are they supposed to be able to improve enough to compete fairly in Europe? For that matter, how do you set the cap on Championship or league 1 clubs in a way that will allow them to fairly compete for players with the big guns?

    (The answer to most of these questions is usually "uhhh, dunno, SALARY CAP!")

    A cap based on percentage of turnover makes a little more sense, but then come the grey areas. What counts as salary? Are bonuses included? Signing-on fees? Merchandising rights?

    The latest plan, to prevent clubs from spending more than they earn, except on infrastructure and youth development seems to make sound financial sense, and will effectively end the era of the sugar daddy.

    But the majority of financial stress in the Premiership has nothing to do with players wages. Chelsea and Man City aren't about to go out of existence and until those two clubs are dominating the league the competition question isn't really convincing. Portsmouth went bust because of terrible financial management. Leeds the same. No-one forced the owners of those clubs to sanction moves for players they simply couldn't afford. If the supporters had known the true picture and been able to have a real say, neither club would be in the place they are now.

    Borrowing money to buy players should be banned.
    Borrowing money to buy clubs should be banned.
    Supporters should be more involved in the running of their clubs.

  • Comment number 37.

    The Portsmouth Catastrophe. It's required to ensure a level playing field for all. The fault lies in not bringing in regulations to stop teams from overspending. With the introduction of entrepreneurial profiteers into the game this ambitious overspend was always going to happen and if they don't bring in regulations it will happen again. Clearly some of the blame lies with the Premiership administrators. It's a group of profiteers that suffer, but do they? They take a punt, a gamble, they know the consequences of failure and are likely to be prepared for it, so they'll still have a couple of million stashed away somewhere in the likely event that they have to walk away having lost the gamble. It's unfair to Wolves ? Wolverhampton Wanderers play Portsmouth and if Wolves beat Pompey by five goals and Hull go down on goal difference because Portsmouth were completely disincentivized then it's completely unfair to Hull ! Chelsea beat a disincentivized Portsmouth 5-0 and they could win the Prmiership on goal difference, what's fair about that? What will Ferguson and Wenger have to say about that? It's a case of special exceptional circumstances. It's about retaining a level playing field. Why punish the fan's and player's ? If Chelsea win the Premiership on goal difference we'll always refer to the Portsmouth game and we'll call it the "the unfair year" The consequence's for teams that get relegated on the back of these result's is unfathomable, catastrophic. Look at Portsmouth's remaining games. Tottenham, champions league football, Wigan ! Wolves! Villa! Everton beat Portsmouth 5-0 and qualify for the Europa Cup and Villa miss out because Portsmouth players were completely gung ho or they were blooding youngsters, what's O'Neil going to say ? The Premiership is in a mess. Wat do you say to the fan's that save their hard earned cash to catch a train and stand in pouring rain to cheer their team and now it does not matter, they wasted their time. It's time for the Premiership and Scudamore to move on !

  • Comment number 38.

    We now have international football players in the Premiership deliberately "taking a yellow" so that they get banned for "Hull City at Home" Increase the ban for an accumulation of yellow cards, 5 yellows and you get a three game ban, you get a second accumulation of 5 yellow cards within 20 games and you get a 5 game ban for 5 yellow cards. Take the cheating out, give us a sport based on skill speed and intelligence, make the game more beautiful. Richard Scudamore buries his head in the sand, the "ostrich syndrome" it's time for the Premiership and for Richard Scudamore to move on.

  • Comment number 39.


    But why would Manchester United agree to limit themselves to the level of a provincial club? Why should a club that averages over 70,000 fans a game, that has built up an incredible infrastructure & fanbase after years of re-investment & hard work agree to compete on a par with a small town club that has only recently tasted top level football?

    A sporting sense of competition? We abandoned such amateur principles when the game went professional a century ago.

    They are not going to throw away their dominance, they (like every other top club in Europe) are not going to allow such regulations to drag them down to mediocrity... it's why I said such attempts would definitely prompt a European Super League. No-one will be happy to see their infrastructure and heritage undermined for the sake of artificial competition.

    You use the NFL as an example... but the NFL only grants franchises to regions that can guarantee a large fanbase and significant support. The equivalent of provincial clubs in the NFL have enormous stadia - take the Kansas City Chiefs. A 77,000 capacity stadium for a side that hasn't won a Superbowl since 1969, a side that has only reached the play-offs twice in the last decade. You can do that in the NFL because franchises essentially act as a national team of sorts for that state. Levelling the playing field in regard to talent and money is necessary there because there are so many giants.

    The NFL is a league of giants. The Premiership is a league of giants and minnows. You can't apply the same principles to both.

  • Comment number 40.

    A salary cap at a nation level isn't going to work, it would need to be implemented across Europe.

    And it's also fixing the wrong thing, as spending isn't the issue - debt is. Membership of leagues should only be allowed if teams can prove they can comfortably service any debt, maybe even a bond paid to cover players wages in the event the club cannot cover it.

    As for shaking up the league to make it more exciting, I've said before - make winning a game worth 2 points plus the games goal difference divided by 2 and rounded down, and add in a bonus point for losing teams scoring more than three goals.

    It'd make teams more likely to attack, and make the table more fluid.

  • Comment number 41.

    Richard Scudamore and the Premier League in an exceptional case of special circumstances should have bailed out Portsmouth. Appointed their own Chief Executive to administer Portsmouth along with Avram Grant. This would have saved Portsmouth and given them a lifeline, Portsmouth would have 9 more points than they do now. They would be fighting tooth and nail to ensure their survival in the Premiership. In deducting 9 points they have DISINCENTIVIZED Portsmouth. Portsmouth now play pivitol games that will affect the outcome of the Premiership. Teams will be playing Champions League football next year and teams will be getting relegated to the Championship on the back of the results and performances of Portsmouth. Will Portsmouth be blooding youngsters for next year? Will the players have the same mentality when they are 1-0 down or 2-0 down ? What tactics will Avram Grant employ ? Will they be gung ho tactics ? The Premier League have got it wrong and the bitterness that this catastophic failure will cause will be opened like a can of worms come May!

  • Comment number 42.

    Look at the accounts of all the teams in the Premiership at the end of the season, ban or limit the spending of those in danger, then formulate regulations and introduce them accordingly, or do nothing, continue with self regulation gambling and it's the fan's that will suffer at the behest of entrepreneurial vulturistic profiteers.

  • Comment number 43.

    Dave from manchester wrote:
    A salary cap at a nation level isn't going to work, it would need to be implemented across Europe. And it's also fixing the wrong thing, as spending isn't the issue - debt is.
    Absolutely spot on. You can't implement salary caps in the EPL alone and the key issue is targeting debt reduction. English club debt outweighs all others in Europe and any reduction in Sky income will be a crisis for the EPL. But so what. It is a league full of clubs who have simply spent beyond their means.

  • Comment number 44.

    A salary cap is a terrible idea. With taxes for footballers in England already 15%+ above those which a player plying his trade in Spain is paying, a cap would put English clubs at a massive disadvantage when it came to attracting big name players. Of course any such cap would apply to Spanish teams as well; but being able to offer a player 15%+ more than an English club will still benefit La Liga a hell of a lot. If all of the best players continue to go to Spain, interest in the Premier League will begin to fall and so will the value of television rights and team sponsorship. This in turn would limit English teams further and end with our league being no better than the Bundesliga.

    I'm all for limiting spending to prevent debt; but it should be done in a representative way. Manchester United turnover more money than any other Premier League club (ignoring the debt repayments), and as such, should be allowed to spend more money on wages and players. It seems only fair enough to me. It seems unfair to chastise them (or any other team) due to debts ran up in their name by greedy owners. The clubs were allowed to run up these debts under UEFA/FIFA/FA rules, and so having the debt should not put them at a disadvantage. I do think clubs should be operating debt free, but to only give them 2 years to pay off massive amounts of money is just another example of UEFA and FIFAs complete and utter disdain to English clubs.

  • Comment number 45.

    Isn't a salary cap "Communism" ? The players want Deutchmarks not Karl Marx.

  • Comment number 46.

    The Premiership has to be on it's guard, it has to evolve, it has to stay ahead of the professional cheating. The Premiership has to corelate a decision made by a Referee with the technology or manpower available and the huge costs to those victims. It has to stay ahead of the entrepreneurial profiteers.
    The Premiership must ensure that the fan's have a democratic impact, it is the Fan's that can master a "fit and proper person's test" because it is the Fan's that pay ALL the wages.
    The Premiership has to modernise and under Richard Scudamore it does not.

  • Comment number 47.

    I think the FA should enmploy Steven Levitt (of the Freakeconomics fame)- I am sure he could find some non financial 'incentives' to get some balance into the model we currently call Football in the GB.

    If we leave any of this to the current crop we'll be talking about this in twenty years time....think Phil Gartside...OMG he one of the most powerful men in football. I swear.

    My solution is the same as Platini's; use entry criteria for the European cup to make clubs spend within the limits of the revenue they generate from Football. So you'll still have bigger and smaller clubs, but running with £100m losses which are then converted to equity (written off) will be a major game changer as the yanks say. Not least to remove/reduce the risk of money laundering.

    Also Mr Bond - I agree with a few a these comments - your title is lacking any evidence or context within the article itself.

  • Comment number 48.

    The FA and Premiership Administrators in 2010 - A Billion Pound Wembley Stadium, sports psychologists, energy diets, specially developed football boots, balls and kits. 60,000 fan's spend their hard earned money to watch a game of football between England and Egypt, Crouch is a giant wearing loud red and the opposition are dressed in bright luminous white, he scores a goal that is clearly offside, the linesman is even on the same side of the pitch that Wright-Phillips cross's from. It just doesn't correlate, all the modern technology off the pitch and a farce on the pitch. It's nonsensical, ridiculous, it does not add up. Why do we not have video technology ? Crouch scores, Egypt appeal, the Ref presses rewind on his MP4 player strapped to his wrist and we have some reality and logical correlation based on all of the above, all within 10 seconds. The Linesman is very embarrassed, he swears not to make the same gargantuan mistake ever again. Video technology will actually raise the standards of Referee's and Linesmen. Can I join the world that everyone else resides in because my world just doesn't correlate with those that administer the game? Richard Scudamore and the FA want us to take them seriously ?

  • Comment number 49.

    It's amazing that every poster seems to equate a salary cap with a figure rather than a percentage of turnover. If you limited salarys to say 75% of turnover then the top players would still get the high wages they feel they deserve.

  • Comment number 50.

    I like the fact that those critising this Blog havent really read between the Lines.
    The Premier League is facing turbulent times, the FA is so weak that they will end up seeing the Premier League running the game and with the TV deal with BSkyB looking likely to see OFCOM forcing Sky to cut on how much the rivals need to pay for its Sports Rights.
    Any cut in TV Rights could cost the Premier League dearly and as mr Bond pointed out, with the clubs accumilation of the £2bn debt, they wont be able to depend on Sky anymore.
    If the FA continue to deny change and the Premier League take over the running and have the issues such as TV Rights holding them down, it will hurt the League badly and thats what David Bond was pointing out.

  • Comment number 51.

    Scudamore is the classic example of the ostrich, head buried firmly in the sand.

    Whilst he is wallowing in his own importance, he might refelect that the PL's incompetence may have something to do with the bad relationship with the FA, and the collapse of Portsmouth, the refinancing of Man Utd, and the financial turmoil at West Ham and Liverpool.

    Does this pitiful excuse for a Chief Executive not realise that the whole pack of cards is collapsing due to his inability to work with FIFA, UEFA, the FA etc to cap salaries and transfer fees. Sky TV has you over a barrel sunshine, and they are in trouble themselves with the advent of Freeview and Freesat. Just watch the clubs lining up at the Administrator's office next season.

    Perhasp he should be working for a bank where lack of talent is an advantage.

  • Comment number 52.

    You're giving Scudamore too much credit

    This is the guy who forced Spurs players to play while being very ill and at the same time attending a celebration at Highbury with David Dein, and of course the man who thought up the Game 39 shambles

  • Comment number 53.

    goonergetit, like your posts but both Deutschmarks and Karl Marx are extinct.

    Also agree with the criticism of the blog and related article, the Sports Editor should be setting the standard and there is no depth here. Won't say more as I got modded for fair comment on Dan whatisname's blog.

    As for EPL, FA, EUFA: the EPL is amazingly successful, it's the biggest draw in the world. It must be doing something right. Platini should pull his head in, the flow of managers and players between countries brings a lot of benefits, cf Mourinho at Inter. Football as a whole won't benefit from crippling it's most successful league, let's have innovation elsewhere.

    Including in technology, the number of games decided by bad decisions is horrific, and some of the best players suffer most from it - so many bad decisions against, for example, Gerd Muller in the 70s and Henry at Arsenal, two players who were masters at judging the moment and place and so suffered more bad calls, and still no action.

    Protectionism and regulation of entrepreneurship are futile attempts to hobble the successful. The UK has benefited greatly in the last thirty years from having a freer and less-regulated economy than most of Europe (not helped by incompetent government in recent years), Europe should learn from the UK rather than have EUFA regulate a major industry.

  • Comment number 54.

    We are witnessing a continuing evolution within professional football, driven by the emergance of 'universal viewing rights'. Just as the Premier League itself evolved (as much as anything) to take advantage of the pay-per-view TV being launched by BSKYB (and others); so the PL will also be 'modified' as the better managed clubs survive and the poorly managed ones go into Administration and slide 'down the pecking order' (or in some extreme cases go out of business altogether).
    A few years back there was talk of 12 or 14 clubs emerging/breaking away to form a new Europe-wide super league (or European Premier League!)- this could not be achieved by negotiation at the time, but it is much more likely as the 'weak get weaker' (and perish) and the strong get stronger (and survive), in particular when teams like Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal (from PL) and Real Madrid, Barcelona (and possibly one other from La Liga), join with the top Serie A sides ( Juventus, both Milan's, etc) and the top teams from the Bundersleague in Germany to take advantage of the worldwide fan-base of such clubs (and hence ppv-TV/internet coverage) to make millions.
    In this future world a 'season ticket' will not just be a ticket to enter the ground, but a ticket to watch every match your team play home, away, or even in a neutral venue! If your name gets 'pulled out of the hat' you can have a seat in the stadium (make your own way there!!!), if not you watch on TV/Internet. There could even be a kind of 'swop shop' arrangement, where the lucky ST winners can barter their 'seat' privaledge, or undertake to re-sell this 'viewing right'(on a match per match basis) -to be actually empowered to see the match, live, or via some form of ICT, is what you will pay for - incidentally, there will be no 'free re-runs' [MOTD] on BBC.
    Scudamore understands all this and that it will become reality, with or without the FA/FIFA, who are increasingly becoming as relevent as BETAMax was with Video technology. Why am I sure of all this? Because football has always been the public's favourite sport, but we cannot go on building bigger stadium's, logistics alone will prevent this (try getting away from Wembley/OT and other such large capacity stadia after games!) Also essentially football fans want to watch their own team (at least 'week in week' out)-they do not want to pay to view a 'mixed bag' of matches - of course we all like to watch the 'set piece' matches semi-finals and finals,etc., whether our team is playing or not -but on a regular basis, it is our own team we want to watch and want to pay for (I suppose there could be a kind of 'pot-purri' season ticket for the less discerning fan!!!).
    The FA/FIFA currently are supposed to run Football in the UK/ worldwide -but are making such a mess of it. These two organisations (in particular)appear to be 'dysfunctional units' (as someone said recently!) and will be bye-passed by the League(s) -eventually!

  • Comment number 55.

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  • Comment number 56.

    Thanks for all your comments once again - some really fascinating points. Although the intention of the article was to examine the governance of the national game after the departure of Ian Watmore and the critical relationship between the FA and the Premier League it has sparked a lively and more general debate about the way the competition is run. Good. That is what I want this blog to be about.
    A number of you raised the issue of a salary cap as a possible solution to competitive imbalance in the League. As DaveManchester pointed out, one of the weaknesses with this approach is that it would have to be implemented across Europe and not just in this country.
    There are also worries among football administrators that clubs would simply get around the salary cap by paying players off the books. The argument goes that a cap would make it even harder to keep football's finances clean and transparent.
    One variation on the salary cap idea would be to set a wage limit for clubs but allow those with the resources to bust that ceiling provided they pay the difference into the League to be shared among the rest of the clubs.
    Erdles - Only One Aaron Ramsey, you suggested Uefa should take a greater responsibility for the financial management of the game. Well, it looks like that day is fast approaching. Details of Uefa's new plans to tackle what president Michel Platini describes as "financial doping" (a phrase often used by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger), emerged in the Times ( According to the report, rich club owners such as Roman Abramovich and Sheikh Mansour would have to stop writing off losses. Only investment in youth development or club infrtastructure would be allowed.
    Any club competing in Europe would have to sign up but that won't just mean the top six or seven teams in the Premier League. It would mean all clubs in the top flight as which chairman would dare show such a lack of ambition and admit Europe was beyond them by failing to comply.
    One last quick point on the looming iceberg which is the Ofcom ruling next week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the Guardian today that he felt sport on TV should be cheaper ( ), raising the prospect of a manifesto pledge which could also impact on the League's rights values.

  • Comment number 57.

    "Ronaldo, they can only pay you the same as they pay the other's, there's a limit" "but they have a chain of restaurants, clothes shops, six yachts, 22 luxurious villas on each continent, several different car dealership's, all for free" It's loophole city folks or the creation of a black market !

  • Comment number 58.

    How can you have a salary cap but allow someone to pay over the odds to a player so everyone else can get a 5% cut of that players wages. Do you think it will thwart the Sugar daddies ? So therefore it is not a salary cap.

  • Comment number 59.

    What they should do is come up with an idea that would mean having play-offs for fourth spot Champions League Qualification. That way we would help to promote the Champions league whilst those teams fighting for fourth spot could rest their players for the FA cup rounds and so devalue our competition even more. "We can always pin the blame Arsenal and Manchester United".

  • Comment number 60.

    Genuine Supporters of the teams that reach the FA Cup Final will miss out on tickets because 40,000 tickets will be given to FA dignitaries and the like, the ground will be half empty for ten minutes after half time because they're all in the bar. If a genuine supporter does get a ticket on the black market he'll have to pay two weeks of his wages. Meanwhile billions of young men the world over are asking why the ground is half empty ten minutes after half time and why Malouda's perfectly good goal that went a yard over the line was not given. The FA will tell us that they're doing everything they can to promote the FA cup and it's the likes of Wenger and Ferguson that are to blame.

  • Comment number 61.

    the premier league in england better beware , a business no matter how bullet proof it seems to be can always fall . it's probably not the best comparison but take the scottish game , twenty years ago it could compete with top clubs all over the world in any department on and off the field and just look at it now .
    falling crowds, clubs in fear of administration and competing at full international level and club level just makes you want to hide behind the couch with your fingers in your ears most of the time , take one of the big clubs , glasgow rangers , owned by a metal magnate who has now being actively trying to sell this once great club before the gates rust and fall off their hinges ,can't even reach for the hammerite ,you'll have to bank to ok that purchase.. allegedly. it once boasted of having so many england internationals playing for it that i swear it could have been an england away game , look at this team now , all the world class players have gone and an owner who wants to bale out .
    i'm not to sure how all this came to pass but a collapse of tv revenue seems to have played it's part .
    can you imagine how clubs in england would fair if the tv money dried up . how many clubs would hit the wall . some down there better start thinking '' what if '' because up here we're saying ''what now''.

  • Comment number 62.

    The FA and the Premier League under Richard Scudamore have allowed Nationlist Passport Quotarising to be foistered upon the game. Home grown Johnny Smith and his five buddies from the same nation with the same passport must be in the squad, then there's the Substitutes that have to have the same colour passport. Do they realise that this law will set the game back by at least a decade maybe three decades ? Do they realise the severity of what they have done? The harm and the damage to the game of football. Will you ever see the likes of artists like Mourinho Ferguson Wenger or Benitez painting a beautiful canvas with the colours of their choice, from now on they are limited in the number of colours they can choose ! What a complete and utter disaster. It's so we can have a better chance at the next world cup with more home grown developed players that have been given preference because of their nationality, quotarising, so hopefully we can wave our national flag and make sure we qualify for the next world cup by limiting the developement of the poorer nations and you know what they're going to do when we haven't won it for 16 years, they'll appoint a Foreign Manager! It's rascist nationalist quotarising, a comprehensive disaster for the sport of football and the Premier League fan and nothing else !

  • Comment number 63.

    If the FA and David Scudamore and the Premier League want do something to benefit football and avoid turbulent times such as the Blackburn penalty con that has maybe relegated Burnley to the Championship and made the Premier League look like the weekly lottery that it is, and in danger of fast becoming a weekly lottery then here's an idea.
    Empower the linesmen ! Give them responsibility, more responsibility ! Take away those stupid flags, then they can run a little faster and keep up with the line of play, therefore making better offside decisions. The Linesmen are miked up so it's not a problem of being seen by the Ref. Give the Linesmen flourescent sleeves. Let them encroach onto the football pitch for penalties and corners. When the Ref is far away from the play because Milner has sent a 60 yarder for Agbonlahor to sprint onto, the Linesman can encroach onto the pitch whilst keeping up with the line of play and help to Ref the game having a closer visual contact. What exactly does a Linesman do with his Flag. He points it usually in the direction that every one knows that he is about to point it towards, 70 per cent of the time the players don't even need to look, 10 per cent of the Throw-in decisions are made by the Ref. The linesman does too little, if he were to be given more responsibility he would be more pro active, give him a whistle, EMPOWER THE LINESMAN. We should utilise them much more, they would feel more empowered and responsible as a result, they would step up to the plate and help to stop the cheat culture. If we introduced Video Technology with two appeals per team, then the Linesman would really up their decision making because they would be a little embarrassed if they missed a major decision. GET RID OF THE FLAG. It's about time we stepped into the 21st Century ?

  • Comment number 64.

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  • Comment number 65.

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