Football - Coates: Window has been crazy

Stoke chairman Peter Coates has called for a touch of realism in football as the summer transfer market approaches a potentially explosive climax.

PA Sport Report

With speculation mounting over Tottenham star Gareth Bale's future, Coates has played down Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor's fears that the game is in danger of losing its soul.

Coates told "We have seen enormous transfer figures being discussed and it is unrealistic for most fans to get their heads around it.

"It's tough enough for those of us actually in the game, but let's not get this out of proportion - we are talking about just a few players who are very special.

"The likes of Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and Gareth Bale are an elite handful. It's an open market and clubs are entitled to value such precious assets as high as they want.

"There is never going to be a cap on players' transfer fees or players' salaries. Clubs must impose their own wage restraints, and operate within their own limitations.

"There won't be any football rules enforcing wage caps, as in all probability it would be unlawful even if we did, so I have to disagree with Gordon, the game has not lost its soul.

"Our game remains a great international game, loved by fans in this country and all over the world, and we have to make sure we keep it that way."

However, Coates has urged Barclays Premier League clubs to use some of the proceeds from the new broadcasting deal to make football more affordable for fans after the Potters froze ticket prices and offered free travel to away games.

He said: "We would all hope clubs use the huge amounts of TV money wisely and that it doesn't all go on transfer fees, players' salaries and their agents."

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