LJUBLJANA (Reuters) – European soccer’s governing body UEFA would seriously consider introducing a salary cap to help level an increasingly uneven playing field in the sport, its president was quoted as saying on Friday.
A cap would be aimed at bridging the gulf between Europe’s wealthiest clubs and the rest of the field, as well as preventing the top teams from stockpiling players on their payrolls.
“The wealthiest clubs are only getting richer and the gap between them and the rest is getting bigger,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told Mladina, a weekly magazine based in Ljubljana.
“In future, we will have to take into serious consideration the possibility of limiting clubs’ budgets for players’ wages,” he added, without specifying a timeframe.
On the issue of bloated squads, he said many leading clubs bought players they don’t need “and who end up playing nowhere”.
“The introduction of a salary cap would force clubs to be more rational. It will be a big battle and winning it would in my opinion represent an historic change.”
UEFA introduced Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, designed to prevent clubs from spending more than their generated revenue, in 2012.
But it softened the rules three years later to try to encourage new and sustainable investment in European club soccer.
Ceferin, who succeed Michel Platini as UEFA president in September after the former France international was banned from all football-related activities for ethics violations, also said the organization had no plans yet to introduce video assistance in matches.
The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system is currently being trialled at the Confederations Cup in Russia as a dry run for next year’s World Cup.
“VAR will require a lot of testing to convince me,” the 49-year old Slovenian said.
“We do not reject technology but UEFA has no plans yet to introduce the Video Assistant Referee. Granted, the goalline technology has panned out nicely despite its many critics.
“However, we must not destroy the game’s flow by letting the action get held up for several minutes every 10 minutes.”
VAR has been used frequently at the Confederations Cup, where world champions Germany and South American champions Chile meet in Sunday’s final in St Petersburg.
The system has helped referees make the correct decision in most cases but has also been criticized as disruptive by some fans and pundits.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; editing by John Stonestreet)