Arsenal and Chelsea nightmare, £641m Tottenham limit - Final Premier League spending cap verdict

Premier League trophy
The Premier League is set to move away from the current financial rules -Credit:Visionhaus/Getty Images

The Premier League has listened, in effect, to itself and is now set to introduce a new system of financial regulation. After being unhappy with the impact and subsequent punishments from the now much-maligned profit and sustainability rules (PSRs), a spending cap is in the pipeline.

Moving away from PSRs after 12 months dominated by soft transfer deadlines, appeals, statements, and allegations, the league has voted through the introduction of a more defined limit. In a radical shift away from the £105million allowed-loss threshold over a three-year period, club spending is set to be even more controlled.

The spending cap - which is not to be confused with a hard salary cap - will tie teams to paying out a maximum of a yet-to-be-defined multiple of the centralised broadcast and commercial revenue of the bottom-placed side. Taking last year's figures that would be just over £100million as the base sum and therefore somewhere between £450-£550million on player wages, amortised transfer spend, and agent fees.

It comes in addition to the wider move toward UEFA's squad cost control measures. This will, if voted through in June, allow clubs to spend a percentage of their overall revenue and that will vary depending on their participation in European competitions.

The changes are designed to put at least some sort of ceiling on the ever-growing power of the top sides following a year of debate over the previous rules. Depending on whether clubs have been so far impacted positively or negatively by the recent influx of PSR-related controversy will largely dictate the stance towards it.

Many say that it punishes ambition while others argue that the rules were not only set by clubs themselves but also with extremely generous parameters as well. Given the success of Brighton and Brentford in recent years on tiny budgets compared to Everton and even Nottingham Forest, the debate rolls on.

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Just how clubs in such a handsomely rewarded division can consistently register such major sporting deficits remains a problem that the league is seeking to address. With the impending introduction of an independent regulator putting pressure on the stakeholders to reform, it is a momentous call.

Here,'s writers give their verdict on the spending cap.

Tom Coley - Central Audience Writer

The Premier League needs a change, that much is evident. Just how these changes will resonate with the richest of the rich the world has to offer - after all, who else can afford to operate in the footballing industry without accepting the potential loss of millions of pounds - will be interesting.

Presumably, Newcastle's owners did not buy the club to be limited to this extent with how their cash was going to be spent. The same, you can imagine, will be true of the American hedge-fund cohort.

This new cap, as well as the move toward UEFA's own measures, should in theory level the playing field a bit more, though, or at least reduce the tilt towards the very, very biggest. How this will impact those looking to conquer Europe will be interesting.

Those at the top ultimately want to remain there and will not be keen to relinquish their financial dominance over Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Barcelona, among the rest. There is certainly some room for give, though. Aston Villa in a relegation scrap hired Unai Emery, for crying out loud.

That is not conducive for football as a sport if a competitive balance will remain over time. Right now it's the Premier League's time to assert dominance, but it threatens to get out of hand.

Back home, and domestically, something has to budge as well. No matter what, anything that invites more sustainable spending and a more competitive spectacle is good for the league. Those outside the elite must stand firm and not allow the multiplying factor to go through the roof, giving more room to the already wealthy.

Arsenal will now have more to answer to having spent big in the last few years to move up the pecking order and Chelea's budget is the largest in the league for sporting costs, meaning any changes to regulations could be a bit of a nightmare for those two clubs. These rules would apply new pressures to their planning while one of the best run clubs in the country commercially, Tottenham, will be limited, even if Daniel Levy did loosen the purse strings.

Tighter control on spending will reward good decisions rather than allowing clubs to spend themselves out of a hole, often recklessly, and often without much sense of cohesion. There will need to be some serious thinking to make this all work, but it seems to be a positive move on the whole.

Kaya Kaynak - Arsenal Writer

There is a certain irony to seeing the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea fail to back a spending cap, when they all so recently signed up to the European Super League - a competition which contained a salary cap as one of its key pull factors.

They do have some points, though. United's objection in particular is that a cap on spending could put the Premier League at risk of falling behind their European competitors. INEOS are heavily involved in rugby and will know from that sport the dangers of a salary cap. The English Premiership is currently losing much of its top talent to France's Top 14, where clubs are allowed to spend significantly more.

There is a question over what this means for clubs coming up from the Championship. Presumably the level of player turnover required to compete in a league, where the established teams are made considerably richer, puts newly promoted sides at a disadvantage.

With that said, I do think it's important that the Premier League does do something to stop the richer clubs squeezing other teams by simply flexing their financial muscles. The league's biggest appeal is that, unlike in other countries, anyone can genuinely beat anyone. If Manchester City win a fourth consecutive Premier League title this season, that pitch will become harder to sell. The last thing English football wants is to end up like Germany or France, where one team has dominated for so long.

So, in conclusion, I'm in favour of some form of restriction when it comes to team spending in the Premier League. I think that the disparities are becoming too great and more needs to be done about it. However, there are some big questions that still need answering about the current cap on offer. As is often the case with these matters, it's not quite as simple as it seems.

Joe Doyle - Content Editor

I'm all for bringing in a cap on expenditure, though there would be some kinks that need ironing out.

I think in general it's one of the better aspects of American sports, and it tends to ensure there are more different challengers for the top prizes on a regular basis. You'll get some teams who secure the best players and tie them down for a long time - see Patrick Mahomes at the Kansas City Chiefs - but clubs would only be rewarded for building their team smartly. They would not be able to spend their way out of poor decision-making on a regular basis.

Those at the top make the most money. That's how business works. But football is not just business - it's a sport. And FFP and PSR currently help maintain an imbalance.

Feeding clubs at the top of the competition more money while insisting those below can't spend as much only helps entrench the teams at the top. Across the leagues we've seen clubs dominate year after year in part down to this, and it's bad for the game.

The few caveats that I would have would concern whether wages and transfer fees are lumped in together. I would want them separate, otherwise I think you'd start to see players run down their contracts in hopes of a bumper pay deal, and smaller clubs would lose out on a big fee while having to also replace a key member of their team.

Ultimately, I think we all want football clubs to be run sustainably, and there to be no limit to what a club can achieve. If a cap on wages and transfer fees helps bring that about, who could realistically say no?

Lee Wilmot - Head of Football

I have thought for quite a number of years that football would eventual implode on itself with the amount of money that is thrown around. Points deductions for the likes of Everton and Nottingham Forest are just the start and plans for a salary cap would be music to my ears.

We simply cannot go on spending, and spending, and spending. It is preposterous. The thing with this 'anchoring' idea of a salary cap, however, is that it may well be agreed in principle, but the extent of the restrictions could very well mean little to no change to what happens at the biggest clubs in our league.

The feeling is that the cap will be a multiple of five times more than what the lowest club receives in monetary reward for their Premier League finish.

In 2022/23 bottom placed Southampton took home £128.2million. Five times that would be £641million. Manchester City's wage bill in their treble-winning 2022/23 campaign was £422.9million. So there's plenty of wiggle room there.

It's an important idea, there should be a cap on what Premier League footballers earn, it's been done in other sports, particularly in America, so why not here? My fear is the total figure will be decided by the richest clubs, to benefit as much as possible those clubs. And therefore it will mean very little.

Isaac Johnson - Central Audience Writer

We’re still at a primitive stage in knowing how the finer details would work and I think the success of these anchoring proposals hinges on the small print. Will the TV money include overseas, or just domestic? How many multiple amounts will each club get? Does income offset expenditure?

The proposals naturally skew towards those already in the Premier League wanting the clubs with bigger fanbases and global commercial reach to get promoted from the Championship, with scoffs directed at the likes of Luton Town and Bournemouth.

These changes have been drafted in a bid to make the league more competitive and that is the barometer by which to measure its success. The idea of an ever-changing bar would no doubt force clubs to be more cautious season-on-season, out of fear of being below the line one year and over it the next.

What is evident is that these rules work on the presumption that the Premier League will continue to grow in worldwide scope in TV and commerce. That seems dangerous when operating a salary cap and should the top-flight ever lose its traction globally, the rules could send the league spiralling.

That may be why only domestic TV money may be accounted for. At this stage, a lot needs to be ironed out and clarified, and then three key questions can be answered.

Will the cap harm the attraction of the Premier League for the world’s best players? Will the gap to the top six be bridged easier? Will the gap to the Championship further inflate? The terms and conditions really do apply here.

Jake Bayliss - Central Audience Writer

It may be a case of too little, too late in terms of a spending cap for Premier League clubs. At least it is a step in the right direction. Fans have been forced to endure a season marred by points deductions and financial mismanagement, with the relegation battle potentially decided by lawyers.

English football needs to find a way to curb the gap between the top of the Premier League and, not just other top-flight clubs, but the rest of the pyramid. In theory, a spending cap could do exactly that, depending on how it is implemented. If adopted incorrectly, though, its only achievement will be maintaining the status quo.

The anger sparked by a ruleset that allows clubs to lose up to £105million over three years illustrates the extent of reckless Premier League spending. There is little belief that the clubs are open to tangible change. Ironically, the solution probably lies in a motion that would not receive the necessary 14 votes.

Isaac Seelochan - Central Audience Writer

There has to be a solution to change the current PSR system. Point deductions handed to Nottingham Forest and Everton have helped to fuel a wave of ridiculous conspiracy theories.

Another major problem with PSR is how it forces clubs, in some cases, to sell their best talent. Aston Villa for example may be forced to sell key player Ollie Watkins this summer because of the current financial rules which will set them back after a promising season under Unai Emery.

There are still several question marks over what a spending cap will look like and the grass may not be greener when it comes to this issue. However, fans and most club owners would be happy to see the back of PSR and look towards a new system which will benefit the league as a whole.