The Sweeper: Premier League clubs could face massive fines for excessive wage bills

Those going over their allotted budgets will have to shell out double that amount, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sheds the pounds and a group of Man United trainees plan a holiday


Clubs who breach the Premier League’s new salary regulations could face fines double the amount of the permitted excess figure, understands.

The two significant elements of the new financial fair play rules – to limit wage bills and restrict the losses clubs can make to £105 million over three years – were ratified at a shareholders’ summit in London on Thursday.

Premier League officials will now begin detailed drafting of the principles to be added to the rulebook.

The proposal set out in the paper circulated to clubs that outlines the wage restraints indicated that clubs could face a “substantial” fine of double the excess figure.

Therefore, a club whose salary bill exceeds the permitted amount by £1m would pay a £2m fine and so on.

Under the new rules, clubs whose total wage bill is more than the ‘floor’ of £52m will only be allowed to increase their salaries by £4m per season for the next three years.

But the restrictions only apply to the income from the mammoth new £5.4 billion TV contract — so any income from sponsorship deals or ticket sales can still be spent on wages.

The ceiling when the wage increase restrictions kick in will be £52m next season, £56m the following year and £60m in 2015-16. Only seven of the current top-flight clubs would be under that ceiling at the moment. has learned that initial breaches will be referred to an independent commission to determine the penalty.

The Premier League would make representations on the appropriate penalty and the Commission would look at arguments in mitigation, including whether the wage bill had exceeded the permitted figure because of top-up bonuses being triggered in players’ contracts as a result of success on the pitch.

The regulations have come about against the backdrop of Uefa's Financial Fair Play (FFP) initiative – which can result in exclusion from the Champions League or Europa League from next year.

- Wayne Veysey


Interest in former Chelsea academy player James Ashton has intensified, with both Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion in discussions with the player’s representatives.

The 20 year-old - who spent a loan spell with Charlton at the start of the season – has suffered with injuries throughout his short career, and despite signing a new deal with the Blues last summer, left the Stamford Bridge side by mutual consent along with Conor Clifford, Ben Gordon, Rohan Ince and Adam Phillip at the start of February in search of first-team football.

His progression through the youth ranks coincided with Steve Clarke’s stint in charge of Chelsea’s youth team, before the now Albion boss was promoted to the role of assistant manager following Jose Mourinho’s appointment in 2004.

The midfielder has also attracted interest from Barnet, Bristol City and Sheffield Wednesday.

- Richard Parry


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s undistinguished second season at Arsenal has been variously ascribed to growing pains or sophomore syndrome.

But sources have told The Sweeper that the 19-year-old also struggled with his conditioning earlier in the campaign and was regarded by the club as above his ideal weight.

As a consequence, the England midfielder lost several kilos and his improved shape has brought him back into the first-team reckoning, particularly in the last three league matches.

Oxlade-Chamberlain surprisingly started in the win at Swansea City, came off the bench in the victory over Reading, and although he was an unused substitute against West Brom last weekend, he is believed to have pushed Gervinho close for a starting place.

- Wayne Veysey


Don't tell Sir Alex Ferguson, but his Academy players are planning a summer bender in Ayia Napa.

A group of 10 were sat down this week in a Cheshire branch of Thomas Cook wearing full United training gear.

The holiday company are an official travel partner of a number of Premier League clubs, including the Red Devils.

There was much bemusement from onlookers as the 18-year-olds then got excited when told they qualified for a 20 per cent discount because of the tie-up.

- Paul Clennam


Manchester City fans are already on the warpath ahead of next season, with TV chef Jamie Oliver now in their sights.

The Blues announced a recent link-up with Oliver and his catering company to provide the matchday options at Etihad Stadium.

Some City punters are now in consultation with the club about their own menu suggestions and are concerned Oliver wants to scrap their beloved chicken balti pie.

- Paul Clennam