Top flight cap on wage rise next season

A CAP on Premier League clubs’ wage bill increases could take effect as soon as next season after chairmen agreed to pursue two-pronged cost-cutting plans yesterday.

Proposals to introduce a break-even rule similar to European financial fair play requirements remain under discussion ahead of a likely vote in February.

But while that could take years to be phased in, there is appetite for a more fast-acting measure designed to prevent next season’s £5bn TV windfall going straight into the pockets of players and agents.

A cap of 10 per cent on the amount by which clubs are permitted to increase their wage bills year on year has been proposed as a solution.

Despite combined record revenues of £2.3bn in 2010-11, only five Premier League clubs made a profit while the division made a loss of £361m.

Around 70 per cent of income was spent on wages, which have historically spiked when new, more lucrative TV deals have kicked in.

It is possible that chairmen could vote for both measures or just one. A majority of 14 of 20 clubs is needed to pass any change to top-flight rules.

Premier League chiefs have been tasked with drawing up more detailed plans for club executives to discuss, with a view to a vote, at the next meeting on 6 February.

While there is broad agreement in favour of a rule demanding clubs break even or limit losses, Manchester City, Fulham and West Brom are believed to be opposed.