By Keith Weir
LONDON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Rules forcing European soccer clubs to cut their financial losses will make it harder for smaller teams to challenge the game's elite, Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck said on Thursday.
Chelsea have won the English Premier League three times in the past decade after billionaire Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich bought the club and funded heavy spending on players.
Buck said Chelsea would comply with UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules designed to curb losses but felt the measures went further than necessary to stabilise club finances.
"We had a broken finger and we cut off the arm," Buck told the Leaders in Football conference at the club's Stamford Bridge stadium in London.
Buck said the system would make it harder for someone like Abramovich to come in and transform a club.
"It (FFP) goes a long way towards preserving the status quo," he added, noting that it risked killing the dreams that clubs at the bottom of the game had of reaching the top.
"That is difficult if not impossible now," Buck said.
Critics of clubs like Chelsea and Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City argue that their spending on players and salaries has driven up costs for teams to dangerous levels.
There are various forms of financial control being applied across all four divisions of the English professional game after former Premier League clubs, including Portsmouth and Coventry, City went into administration in recent seasons.
Top clubs risk exclusion from UEFA competitions from next season if they fail to make sufficient progress towards breaking even. However, the rules are complex and there is uncertainty about how strictly they will be enforced at first.
UEFA will be expected to look closely at big sponsorship deals agreed by clubs including Manchester City and Paris St Germain to ensure they are not hidden subsidies from groups with ties to team owners.
"We're all hopeful that UEFA will apply these rules in a fair and equitable manner," Buck said.
Chelsea moved into profit last year for the first time in the Abramovich era after winning the Champions League and enjoying a windfall from a share deal.
(editing by Ed Osmond)
- Sports & Recreation
- Bruce Buck
- English Premier League
- Roman Abramovich