Premier League clubs to back financial fair play system

Roman Abramovich's Chelsea are set to back a compromise FFP system. Photo: PA

Premier League clubs are expected to agree a compromise financial fair play (FFP) system today that will allow owners to cover up to £105million losses over three years.

The Premier League system would be less hard-hitting than UEFA's, which comes into force next season and limits owners to covering £39million losses over a three-year period.

A cap on wage increases is also expected to get the go ahead at the meeting of the 20 clubs.

Significantly, Chelsea are set to back both a compromise FFP system and a salary cap - the Roman Abramovich-owned club had been viewed in some quarters as opposed to any spending controls.

Insiders at Stamford Bridge insist they have never been opposed to a compromise agreement, and that position should now ensure that both spending control systems are agreed.

Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool have been pushing for an FFP system where wealthy owners are not be allowed to underwrite any losses, but that stance looks set to be defeated.

The wage increase cap may also be watered down however - initially Sunderland owner Ellis Short had suggested a maximum 10% increase allowed for player wages. It now looks likely that the cap will only affect those clubs whose total bill is higher than £52million so promoted sides are not prevented from improving their squads.

Furthermore, spending money earned from clubs' individual commercial deals on wages will not be restricted. That can be significant - in Manchester United's case commercial income totalled £117.6million last year and their wage bill £160million.

But some form of wage increase cap will satisfy club owners who are fearful of the bulk of the income from next season's bumper new television rights deals - expected to be worth £25million-£30million per club - going straight into the pockets of the players and agents.

Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool - styled as the 'gang of four' after they sent a joint letter to the last shareholders meeting calling for owners not be allowed to cover any losses at all - argue that tough FFP measures will maintain the Premier League's competitiveness and its attraction to a global TV audience, rather than risk a situation developing such as in Spain where only two clubs dominate the football landscape.

Other clubs believe the four are acting out of self-interest and want to maintain a status quo where smaller clubs can never break into the top ranks, even with a benefactor owner.