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Black cats chief says business models at all major league clubs must change

Sunderland chief executive Steve Walton believes new Premier League financial 'fair play' rules are a hindrance for both the elite clubs and those outside the top echelon.

New UEFA regulations state that by 2013 clubs should not spend more than they are earn with tough penalties in place for those who don't fall into line.

These include bans from flagship European competitions – in themselves a major revenue stream for Premier League clubs – such as the Champions League and Europa League.

One reason for the new rules is to stop 'sugar daddy' owners pumping vast sums into clubs, with the amount of money the likes of Sheikh Mansour at Manchester City and Roman Abramovich at Chelsea can invest limited to £38 million over three years.

But although the leading clubs grab the headlines Walton believes that the new rules preventing a quick and sizeable injection of funds from owners will also hinder sides like the Black Cats.

“The financial fair play rules represent the biggest challenge facing the bigger clubs in this country, but also clubs like ourselves that are trying to make a step change,” he said

And he admits that in light of the new regulations clubs will have to change the way they finance their operations.

“At the moment, unless there is a change in the finances of many clubs, they will not be in a position to compete in European competition as they would not be able to comply with the financial regulations.

“Some clubs have run at huge losses because they have been supported by the money their owners have contributed.

“It is what Chelsea have done for years, it is what Manchester City’s model is based on at the moment and, to be fair, what Sunderland’s model is based on.

“Ellis Short is supporting the business to take us from yo-yo club to where we were last season, which was 13th, to establishing ourselves and hopefully thinking of having a crack at the Europa League.”

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