Financial News

  • 17 February 2010, 9:23

West Ham Boss: 'Football Is On The Brink'

David Gold, co-chairman of West Ham, has told Jeff Randall Live that football clubs and their owners need to find a way to save themselves from themselves.

Speaking to Jeff Randall Live, Mr Gold said the need to win was putting football's future at risk.

"In our pursuit of success, to avoid relegation, to get into Europe or win the division, we are in such ferocious competition with each other that it's bringing us to the brink," he said.

Mr Gold said he agreed with the idea of putting a cap on clubs' debts as a proportion of their turnover and that he supports the idea of penalising those that cannot pay back their debts.

"The only thing that clubs understand is points deduction so that has to be the punishment," he said.

But the former owner of Birmingham City said any form of government intervention in football would be "a tragedy".

The total debt of the 20 English Premier League clubs is estimated to be more than 3bn.

Even the game's most successful sides are deep in the red. Manchester United's debts are two and-a-half times the club's turnover, at over 700m.

Mr Gold and his partner David Sullivan took the reins at West Ham last month, inheriting debts of more than 110m.

"For this club to run on a sound financial basis we aim to reduce costs by 25%. As contracts run out, they'll be renewed at a more sensible level," he said.