Championship clubs to back overhaul

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Football News

Championship clubs are expected to back a move to introduce their own UEFA-style financial fair play system where teams can only spend what they earn.

The system will be put forward at the Football League's AGM in Cyprus on Thursday, where it will also be proposed that League One clubs move towards the introduction of the salary cap currently in force in League Two, where teams can spend a maximum of 60% of their turnover on wages.

Football League chairman Greg Clarke said: "The Championship clubs voted to look at financial fair play and in principle decided that was the road they wanted to go down. I think it's essential, and the energy to solve this is coming from the clubs themselves."

He added: "It's a perfect storm in that a lot of things have come together to make this happen, including of course the level of debt in the game - £700million in the Football League, most of that in the Championship - and big losses being racked up by the clubs."

Clarke said if the proposal was passed the next six months would be spent on developing a system and ensuring it was fair and transparent.

He admitted that there had been some opposition to the move but a strong majority had been in favour. It is understood that Leeds chairman Ken Bates is among those backing the system.

The proposed spending constraints also reflect concern over income - the League's new £195million domestic TV deal is a 26% drop on the previous one.

The move comes as the Deloitte annual review of football finance reveals wage increases in the Premier League and Championship continue to outstrip growth in revenues.

Deloitte's report shows salaries in the top flight rose by £64million (5%) to over £1.4billion in 2009/10, with the league's wages-to-revenue ratio reaching an all-time high of 68%.

Chelsea remain the highest payers with an annual bill of £174m but Manchester City (£133m) are catching up fast - they have overtaken Manchester United (£132m) and increased their spending on salaries by an astonishing £79m over the two previous seasons.

The situation in the Championship is even more worrying with more than one-third of clubs paying out more in wages than they received in revenue.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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