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Premier League Approves Trial of New Salary Rules, Keeping VAR

The English Premier League agreed to test an alternative financial system next season that will potentially limit teams’ player spending in the future. The move, which was approved at the league’s annual general meeting Thursday, will be done on a “non-binding basis.”

The existing profit and sustainability rules (PSR) will remain in place; this set of rules triggered points deductions for Everton and Nottingham Forest for violations during the 2023-24 season. The two new trial metrics are dubbed Squad Cost Rules (SCR) and Top to Bottom Anchoring Rules (TBA).

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The SCR would limit spending on wages, transfer payments and agents’ fees to 85% of their total revenue. TBA introduces an “anchoring” system tied to the TV revenue of the club that finished in last place and would be more similar to the hard caps that are common in U.S. sports leagues.

During the 2022-23 season, Southampton, which finished at the bottom of the table and was relegated to the Championship, earned £104 million from TV—$133 million based on current exchange rates. A multiple of five times that central distribution, or $665 million, would have been the cap had the rules been in place. Chelsea topped that mark, while Manchester City fell just short.

“The overall system aims to improve and preserve clubs’ financial sustainability and the competitive balance of the Premier League,” the league said in a statement. The Premier League says the TBA is not expected to have an impact unless “significant revenue divergence of clubs occurs.”

In April, 16 clubs backed a plan to continue working on the TBA proposal with the intent to have a vote at the annual meeting to officially implement TBA rules for the 2025-26 season. But the league faced resistance to a hard cap from the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and will now be done on a “shadow” basis for the 2024-25 season.

At the annual meeting, the clubs also voted 19-1 to continue using VAR in response to a motion raised by Wolverhampton. The clubs agreed on a half-dozen action measures to improve the video assistance system.

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