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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Briatore Urges Football Salary Cap...Rules Out Big Name/High Fee Transfers to QPR

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- Alessandro Poggi - Bloomberg - March 24
Queens Park Rangers’ Briatore Calls for Salary Cap in Soccer

- Flavio Briatore, co-owner of English second-tier soccer team Queens Park Rangers, called for a cap on salaries, saying players can’t be “untouchable” during the economic downturn.
- “The way the wages of the players are in this moment is completely wrong,” Briatore said in an interview yesterday. “A salary cap is fundamental. It’s not possible for people investing in football to make up the difference from their pocket every year.”
- Renault boss Briatore and fellow Formula One tycoon Bernie Ecclestone bought the west London team in September 2007, and three months later billionaire Lakshmi Mittal’s family acquired a 20 percent stake. Mittal is Britain’s richest man, according to the Sunday Times, which put his fortune at 27.7 billion pounds ($40.2 billion) last April.
- “Maybe the shareholder is quite a wealthy one, but the club has nothing to do with the shareholder,” Briatore said. “It’s difficult for me cutting the salaries of people working in Formula One or the employees of QPR, while the players are untouchable. It’s about principles.”
- In England, only League Two -- the fourth tier of the country’s soccer -- has a system under which a team’s spending on player wages is limited to 60 percent of total revenue. The higher leagues don’t have such a rule.
- Formula One is taking steps to curb its own spending as it seeks to stop carmakers from abandoning the sport. The FIA ruling body has said teams that adopt a budget of 30 million pounds will get more freedom to make engine and bodywork changes. Soccer needs reforms, too, Briatore said.
- Platini Proposal
- “We invest the money and we want to be in charge,” Briatore said. “We need to stay together and -- exactly like in Formula One -- we need to cut costs.”
- Michel Platini, president of European soccer’s ruling body UEFA, has said a limit on the percentage of clubs’ revenue that could be spent on player transfers and wages is one possibility. English Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore opposes such a policy, saying it would entrench the top clubs.
- Briatore ruled out splashing high transfer fees on “big names” players at QPR.
- “I don’t think any big names in this moment will help us. I want to stay away from the big names. The bigger the name, the more money you lose
- Briatore cited Ricardo Quaresma as an example of an expensive signing that hadn’t worked out. The Portuguese winger was signed by Inter Milan for 18 million euros ($24.5 million) last year. He was sent on loan to Chelsea after failing to make an impression at the San Siro.
- QPR is 11th in the Championship, seven points off a place in the playoffs, where teams compete for a place in the Premier League. QPR last played in the top division in 1996.
- To contact the reporter on this story: Alessandro Poggi in London at Apoggi1@bloomberg.net. Bloomberg

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