Think tank urges clubs to reveal spending

Clubs should be obliged to publish the salaries of their players and manager according to a report from CentreForum, the liberal think tank.

Football fans

The three years of future financial information that club owners must provide to the Premier League and Football League should also be made public, the report argues.

It adds that the Football Association should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

The report, It's All In The Game, points out clubs in Major League Soccer in the United States publish their players' wages.

"This has not deterred star players, such as Thierry Henry and David Beckham, from playing for MLS teams," states the report.

"It has though afforded the beneficial effect of greater transparency on the issue of players' wages and a greater understanding of the more general standing of the financial affairs of the club - not least because players' wages now form such a major part of their overall budget.

"If it is possible in the USA, it is certainly possible in England."

Payments to individual agents should also be made public, and the ownership of clubs not hidden away in offshore companies.

The report also criticises owners for being able to change clubs' identity without supporters having any say.

"This means that aspects central to the identity of clubs such as kit colour (eg Cardiff City), name (eg Hull City) and even location (eg Wimbledon) are often subject to the whim of one person or small group of people with nothing supporters can do to influence the situation," says the report.

Fans group Supporters Direct has given its backing to the findings.

A spokesman said: "Like other publicly prominent institutions, for example in politics, the media, and banking before them, we don't believe that football clubs and authorities can continue to insist on operating to a different set of standards of transparency and openness."

Tim Farron MP, president of the Liberal Democrats, has also backed the report saying: "The lack of transparency in English football is alarming and threatens the integrity of our national game. Loyal football fans deserve better."


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