Premier League: Would a salary cap work?

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Money in football has always been a hotly contested topic, and when it comes to the thought of a potential salary cap, the thermometer on the conversation gauge tends to rise a few more degrees.

As it stands, there is currently no salary cap on any football in England although recent controls have been put in place in an attempt to cut losses over time.

The new rules limit the total amount of TV money that the Premier League clubs can spend on players’ wages to £60million by 2016, with it increasing until then by £4m (2013/14 £52m, 14/15 £56m).

Now, while this is some form of salary cap, because of the way the rule is structured, any income from ticket sales and sponsorship deals can still be spent on wages, so, one will presume, the ‘more lucrative’ clubs will tend to have more money available to them.

To put these numbers into perspective, in 2011-12 (the last season that wage data was available for) only seven Premier League clubs wage fell below £53m.

The other standout rule ensures club losses cannot go any higher than £105m over a rolling three-year cycle. It could be said that this rule is in place largely to benefit newly promoted clubs, who will have to expand their wage bill to compete in the Premier League. 

On the most recent figures, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Aston Villa all reported higher losses than £105million, but the trend is towards cutting losses.

There could be a hefty penalty for breaching the regulations with point’s deductions looking to be the most likely punishment.

But are these rules fair for every team?

Some would say that they undoubtedly are. Firstly, you have to remember that the first rule only relates to television money. If the teams on television were split more evenly and it wasn’t consistently the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City, then the money would be shared a lot more evenly.

For the season just finished, Manchester United earned £60.8m in Premier League TV and prize money for winning the title while bottom placed side Queens Park Rangers, were over £20m worst off, earning themselves £39.7m.

Now while it may seem that £20m wouldn’t be a large amount for Premier League, when trying to attract players to a club, one would presume that it makes a huge difference.

Every club got £13,803,038 as an equal share of domestic TV income, plus £18,931,726 as an equal share of foreign TV income.

While these new rules will limit some clubs, it can be argued that they will have no affect on the bigger clubs in the league.

For me, I am in favour of a salary cap, and one that isn’t that high.

It would be unlikely to happen in the near future due to players being on contracts, earning more money a week than most people are likely to earn in one or even two years.

If a salary cap were to come in now, there would be uproar from current players who would more than likely have to take a huge pay cut.

I believe a salary cap should be introduced, with the highest a player can earn being £50,000 a week. This may seem a low price, but really, who cannot live on £50k a week?

Relegated Premier League side Reading clearly had the funds to offer this, allegedly offering Pavel Pogrebnyak £60k per week.

The reason I make this point is to prove that while £50k may be low to some teams, it is a high price for others, but yet still affordable.

The introduction of a salary cap would perhaps begin to even out the playing field, allowing the ‘smaller’ teams to compete more on and off the pitch.

It should also mean that the top players would not be influenced by money.

If Marouane Fellaini is offered £50k a week by Manchester United, but he can get the same amount at current club Everton, would he be as interested in a move?

Obviously, the appeal of joining a side rich with history and a side that have arguably dominated English football for the past two decades would play its part, but I would rather see a player joining a team for those reasons rather than be money motivated.

Clearly, those who would be classed as top players would more than likely be demanding the highest end of the salary cap, but it would still mean that they’re on the same level as everyone else at the club.

It must be demoralising being in a dressing room before a game knowing that someone else in the same team as you is earning perhaps double your wages, purely because they wanted to move elsewhere? That isn’t right.

Of course, for it to work in England, a salary cap of the same amount would need to be enforced globally. If it’s not, the best talent in England will go chasing the money and move elsewhere, it’s just human nature.

Perhaps the best part of a salary cap in England would be the extra money that would be going.

If players are suddenly earning £150k a week less than they are now, then that’s £150k a week that can be ploughed into grassroots football.

I feel it would also help the fans. If clubs don’t need as much money, ticket prices could be reduced and more people may attend the lower league football matches.

I could go on, but there are many obvious positives for the average football fan, if one simple thing was introduced – a salary cap.

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