Leaders of Germany’s top football Bundesliga clubs see a salary cap as a way to stop the exploding costs of player contracts. But they do not want to go it alone, hoping that UEFA will push for a European-wide cap.

The debate has been raging for weeks now in Germany after Hanover club president Martin Kind wrote to the German Football League (DFL) for a vote by the first and second division clubs to abolish the 50+1 ownership regulation – which calls for the clubs to own 50 percent plus one vote of the teams.

Kind’s proposal, which will be voted upon at the DFL’s full general assembly on November 11, 2009, would likely open the German Bundesliga clubs to big money investors along the lines of Russians and Middle Eastern businessmen in England.

Top German club Schalke meanwhile came up with an opposing proposal which would call for the introduction of a salary cap. The cap would demand that a maximum of 70 percent of clubs’ total income from TV, sponsoring, ticketing and advertising could go towards personnel and transfer costs. Investors’ monies could not go towards players’ salaries.

“There is not a limit on the individual salary of an individual player or the amount of transfers. Instead there is a limit on the total expenditures depending on the total income of a club,” read the proposal.

The Schalke proposal also included penalties and sanctions for clubs going over the 70 percent limit. Every percentage point above 70 percent would mean a 100,000 euro fine in the first season and 200,000 euro in the second season. If a third straight season is determined to be over the 70 percent cap, then up to three points can be taken away.

“The competition within the league cannot be unnaturally influenced from the outside like it is in other countries,” Schalke board member Peter Peters told spox.com on Oct. 15, 2009.

Not all clubs were in favor of Schalke’s proposal.

Hoffenheim manager Jan Schindelmeiser told the German agency SID: “Mainz and us only have 30,000 spectators and we are clearly disadvantaged compared to clubs whose arenas hold 60,000 or 80,000 fans.”

And Eintracht Frankfurt chairman Heribert Bruchhagen added to SID: “The Schalke proposal is good. But I don’t believe that the clubs would adhere to it.”

A number of clubs, including German record giants Bayern Munich, said any salary cap should be incorporated in cooperation with the European ruling body UEFA.

“It would be absurd to do this alone,” the Bayern chairmanship announced in a statement. “The important topic cost control can only be tackled with an international consensus and together with UEFA so that the same rules are valid for all clubs in Europe.”

Bayern fear such a move alone in Germany could hinder their chances for success in European competitions.

While UEFA would be a crucial partner in such a move, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in July that he could not imagine a salary cap being introduced. “We cannot cap salaries. That is impossible, especially in the European Union. Every court would overturn such an intrusion in the economy,” Blatter told Bloomberg TV.

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