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Premiership set to debate new debt cap

Steve Dinneen
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DEBT-LADEN Premier League clubs could be forced to cap borrowing at just a quarter of their turnovers.

The drastic measures, called for by Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, would be the strictest financial constraints on any major football league in the world. He proposed the changes in light of the financial misery that has been heaped on Portsmouth, which look almost certain to slump into administration.

With the exception of Wolves, Birmingham City and Stoke, all premier league clubs are indebted by more than the level proposed by Whelan, according to 2008 figures.

Chelsea, along with Fulham, are the biggest Premiership spenders, and have exceeded the proposed cap by the biggest degree.

Whelan told City A.M.: “Premier League clubs need to consider how much they feel they can borrow and set a cap, with the penalty for breaking it having points deducted at the start of the next season.

“I have put this to the Premier League and I think something will happen. It will be given serious consideration. Most clubs accept we can only borrow so much money. We can’t have a situation where a club like Portsmouth could go out of business – it would be a travesty.”

He added: “Football needs to get its house in order. Borrowing is far too high. The Premier League is always looking at things like wage caps – but that would make the league less competitive. I’ve already put a cap on spending at Wigan – it is what we need across the board.”

However, analysts claim the measures are too draconian and do not reflect the realities of the modern game. A Premier League spokesman said: “The ultimate decision-making forum is between the clubs themselves. If any club wants to bring an idea forward it can and it will be debated. We want to encourage clubs to act in a responsible manner.”

Whelan joined the chorus of football figures denouncing the possibility of new football regulator, branding the idea “a disaster”.