London – Plans to introduce domestic financial fair play rules into the Premier League remained on the drawing board after a meeting of England's 20 top-flight clubs ended without agreement on Thursday.
Although many teams are keen on introducing some sort of financial control in a bid to help stave off the kind of crisis that engulfed Portsmouth, the 2008 FA Cup winners, who now play in the third tier League One, they remain split on how best to implement such a system.
Now league officials will try to draw up detailed proposals ahead of a meeting in February.
The Premier League's discussions follow on from the creation of financial fair play rules by European governing body UEFA for clubs taking part in continental competition.
These, and similar rules introduced by the Football League, which oversees the three fully professional divisions of English football immediately below the elite Premier League, are designed to ensure clubs don't spend beyond their means in the quest for success.
In the Premier League, the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United want clubs obliged to break even every year, while others argue owners should be allowed to put in their own money to subsidise spending.
“There have been no decisions made,” said West Ham co-owner David Gold.
“The debate carries on. 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.”
Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins was also confident of getting an agreement.
“I think we will get a consensus on this,” Jenkins said, adding: “Over the next few months we should get something in place.
“The main issue is that in the present economic climate, we as a league, portray the right image and make sure that everyone involved in football is looking after the supporters and making sure everything is kept under control and is run in the right manner.”
In June, the commercial popularity of the Premier League was confirmed when it announced a new broadcast deal, purely for domestic television rights, worth £3.018 billion ($4.785 billion) – more than £1 billion in excess of the existing agreement.
But Andrea Radrizzani, chief executive of MP and Silva, which owns, manages and distributes TV and media rights for the Premier League in markets in Asia, said that while there were no signs the league's “outstanding growth”, both at home and abroad, was about to end any time soon, there were looming concerns.
“One threat is how well the clubs are run and manage their finances in the future,” he said.
“If the Premier League's clubs – especially the most popular clubs globally – struggle due to financial troubles, this could weaken the league's popularity internationally.” – Sapa-AFP