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Premier League Soccer Teams May Get Financial Rules Next Season

Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- England’s Premier League may establish financial controls before next season even though a meeting today failed to set any parameters, West Ham owner David Gold said.

Executives of the English top division’s 20 teams met in London to continue discussions aimed at curbing losses and ensuring that revenue from a record-breaking television contract isn’t all spent on player wage and transfer market inflation.

“The debate carries on,” Gold said following a four-hour meeting. “I am hoping that we can come to some conclusions for the best interest of the football clubs and the league as whole, hopefully before the start of next season.”

Team officials will meet again in February. Today’s session could’ve yielded decisions about the type and scale of new controls or even seen the idea scrapped. Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Fulham and champion Manchester City expressed opposition to any type of new financial regulation.

Wall Street analysts yesterday quizzed Manchester United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward about whether the controls would limit the 19-time English champion’s competitiveness in the transfer market because rival teams in other leagues wouldn’t be subject to the regulations.

Woodward said that most of the continent’s top teams are already committed to following break-even rules being established by UEFA, European soccer’s governing body. They may see over-spenders banned from the Champions League and Europa League competitions from 2014.

Proposals

Regulations in the Premier League could include a combination of UEFA’s break-even rule, an annual limit on wage increases proposed by Sunderland owner Ellis Short and the possibility of losses being permitted if covered by increases in equity stakes.

UEFA’s so-called “financial fair-play” rules have already affected the way many clubs are run from a push to increase commercial revenue to a tightening of transfer spending.

European champion Chelsea last week announced its first profit since billionaire owner Roman Abramovich bought the team in 2003. It converted a 67.7 million-pound ($107 million) loss in fiscal 2011 to a 1.4 million-pound profit. The Blues had lost about 550 million pounds since the Russian’s arrival after lavish spending on players.

“We will meet the criteria that’s put in front of us,” Chelsea’s Chief Executive Officer Ron Gourlay said in a Nov. 12 interview. “If we decide we need to strengthen our team, then we will but we will not strengthen our team on the basis of failing to meet our financial fair play commitment.”

Related news and information: Top international sports stories: {ISPO <GO>}

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in London at tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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