Top European teams against salary cap proposal

GENEVA - Europe's top clubs have poured cold water on a proposal to introduce salary caps in an effort to fight spiralling costs.

The European Club Association (ECA) of 137 leading teams met on Tuesday to discuss cost-cutting ideas, including a plan that would have limited clubs to spending no more than 50 percent of turnover on player wages.

"When it came to cost control the general impression was it was no simple task to find a solution," said ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, a strong supporter of the proposal.

Bayern Munich chairman Rummenigge told a news conference the clubs would instead focus on working with European football's governing body UEFA as it looks to tighten its existing licensing system.

UEFA lays down 34 criteria, covering issues like audited accounts and the settlement of debts, which clubs have to meet or face possible exclusion from European competition.

"A clear majority of our members were in favour of financial fair-play via the licensing system so we will prefer that route for now and leave cost control for the future," said Rummenigge.

RISING COSTS

Liverpool chief executive and ECA executive board member Rick Parry said rising costs were a worry for all clubs but salary caps did not seem the answer.

"I think everyone would agree the level of increasing salaries is a concern but we were also saying that five, 10 or 20 years ago. Is there one simple measure to solve it? Clearly not," said Parry.

"Of course we want to see financial responsibility but the feeling is salary caps are too blunt an instrument."

The ECA said it would work with governing bodies FIFA and UEFA on various other proposals aimed at controlling costs and improving financial stability.

The association said it would join FIFA in its efforts to ban the international transfer of players aged under 18 within Europe, despite this running contrary to EU laws on the free movement of workers.

The ECA said it also wanted a review of FIFA's controversial Article 17 which enables players to buy themselves out of the remaining years of their contracts.