Saints attack spending controls

Nicola Cortese Photo: PA

Southampton's executive chairman Nicola Cortese has criticised the Premier League's decision to impose wage and spending controls on member clubs.

Saints today reported a #0.9million profit for the last six months of 2012, helped by the increased income of being promoted to the top flight.

That result, and a wage bill that is 59% of turnover, would see Southampton comfortably comply with the new financial regulations, but Italian banker Cortese insists owners should be allowed to run their clubs as they wish.

He said: "Our results also demonstrate we are already operating within the spirit of likely new Premier League financial regulations in respect of average profits and losses over three years.

"We believe very strongly that each club should continue to be permitted to run their business - including their pay rolls - as they see fit. This is fundamental to the future integrity of football."

Southampton were one of six top-flight clubs that voted against the spending controls, which were agreed by the narrowest majority at a Premier League chairmen's meeting last month, but Cortese is the first chairman to speak out publicly against them.

The regulations will restrict the amount of losses clubs can make to 105 million pounds over three years, and clubs whose total wage bill is more than 52 million pounds will only be allowed to increase their wages by 4 million per season for the next three years. Clubs will face a points deduction if they breach the new controls.

The Premier League chairmen will be presented with the detailed spending control plans at a meeting in mid-April.

Cortese can at least satisfy himself with the performance of his own club following their automatic promotion from the npower Championship.

Interim results for the first six months ending December 31, 2012 show total revenue, excluding player trading, nearly trebled to 33.1million from 11.6million, while average attendances rose 16 per cent to 30,372.

"Our first six months in the Barclays Premier League show the dramatic impact promotion has had on the club," chief financial officer Gareth Rogers said.

"However, the significant increase in turnover has not deterred us from our stated aim of financial prudence in the top division.

"I am delighted to report the club's first profit without the aid of player trading since 2005, which demonstrates that prudence in football can be achieved whilst significant investment, both on and off the field, is still being made."