West Ham co-owner says league heading for 'oblivion'
Published 02/04/2010 | 05:00
West Ham co-owner David Gold claims England's top-flight clubs are "spiralling towards oblivion" and has called for spending limits for Premier League sides.
Gold has branded the league's financial structure "a complete nightmare" which serves only to provide "incredible cars" for players while most clubs are losing money. Only seven of the 20 top-flight clubs were in profit last year.
Last month, Portsmouth were docked nine points after becoming the first Premier League club to go into administration.
Gold said: "It's a complete nightmare. It's a complete nonsense that's spiralling downwards towards oblivion.
"There's hardly anybody making a profit. How can that be right?
"Competition is good, it drives the world economy. But in this case what it does is fill the car parks of all the training grounds in the Premier League with the most incredible array of cars.
"You go into my training ground and you'll see Lamborghinis, Porches, Ferraris; nothing in the car park is under £150,000."
According to latest figures, only Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton, Blackburn and Birmingham make a profit, although in Liverpool's case their holding company recorded a loss.
Gold added: "There's 20 of them and none of them want to admit that they're in financial difficulty.
"We would all say we don't need protection, but of course it's not true and we can't trust the others.
"Buying players on the 'never never' has got to stop, all money should be paid up front."
The Premier League insisted that finances overall were "robust" and pointed out that a new set of rules were voted in by the 20 member clubs in September.
A league spokesman said: "The finances of the Premier League as a whole are robust with long-term broadcast and commercial rights all up significantly during the worst recession in living memory.
"It is currently the most profitable league in Europe with an average wage to turnover ratio of 62pc.
"Financial sustainability has been brought into focus by the issues facing Portsmouth FC, but the Premier League clubs have discussed this as a group and voted in a new set of rules that will help prevent another club over-extending themselves to the point they cannot meet their liabilities."
The new rules include clubs being required to submit independently audited accounts and future financial information to act as an early warning system. Clubs are also required to demonstrate every year that they do not have outstanding debts to other clubs or the taxman.
The rules also state that clubs who fall into financial difficulties could be subject to financial controls relating to transfer activity and/or player salaries.