Liverpool and FSG may just have got big boost as Man City and Manchester United voted down

Liverpool owner and FSG chief John W Henry.
Liverpool owner and FSG chief John W Henry. -Credit:Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Liverpool's chairman, Tom Werner, and CEO, Billy Hogan, would have been pleased with the outcome of the Premier League shareholders meeting in London on Monday. The pair were there to represent the Reds at the gathering of the 20 member clubs, where a salary cap was high on the agenda for discussion.

The concept of a salary cap has long been put forward as an option for the Premier League as it is present in other sports, and the one agreed upon in principle is linked to the broadcast revenues of the team that finished last in the previous season. It is thought that a multiple of four-and-a-half times the last-placed team's broadcast revenue will be adopted as the cap.

When John W. Henry and Fenway Sports Group took over Liverpool in 2010, they did so with the belief that the impending Financial Fair Play rules would force clubs into a more sustainable approach. That is something that would benefit the Reds under that kind of ownership, though we are yet to properly see that introduced.

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Despite profit and sustainability rules (PSR) catching out clubs like Everton, Nottingham Forest and Leicester City recently, it hasn't done much to rein in the rampant spending at the top of the Premier League by some of Liverpool's competitors, most notably Manchester City. As reported by The Times, Manchester City opposed the proposed introduction of a salary cap, a stance shared by Manchester United and Aston Villa, while Chelsea abstained from voting. Liverpool was among those supporting such a control.

To put things into perspective, Manchester City had the highest wage bill in the Premier League last season, totaling £423m ($529m). This figure was largely due to bonus payments made to players for their success in winning the Premier League and Champions League. Chelsea was the second-highest spender on wages, with a total of £404m ($506m).

Manchester City, currently facing 115 charges for alleged financial rule breaches spanning over a decade, is already hitting the proposed cap due to its competitive success. With new player additions, improved contracts and plans for further triumphs, they may feel constrained in their growth ambitions, potentially losing their financial edge over other clubs.

However, with an agreement in principle on the introduction, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham may see this as a victory in preventing the gap between them and Manchester City from widening further. Liverpool, despite lower transfer spending than some rivals in recent years, has seen the second sharpest rise in wage bill since 2017 at 79 per cent, just behind Chelsea's 83.6 per cent. Last year, Liverpool had the third-highest wage bill in the Premier League at £373m ($466m), up £165m ($206m) from 2017.

The introduction of measures to prevent excessive wage spending could result in a slowdown in wage growth. This could provide more financial security, especially at a time when revenue growth may not be as rapid as in previous years. However, there could be potential downsides. A salary cap could potentially limit the competitive edge of top Premier League sides in the future, particularly when competing with offers from clubs like Real Madrid or teams from the Saudi Pro League. says: Rules that make things financially fairer are only ever going to benefit Liverpool more than the likes of Manchester City and Newcastle United. Ultimately, these votes are always going to be based on self-interest. Chelsea, presumably, by abstaining, couldn't work out whether it would benefiting or harming itself.

Whatever rules are in place, though, should be followed. It doesn't matter whether clubs agree with them or not; if there are rules that are brought in, there can be no crying when punishments come for breaking them. Everyone knows the score.