Sports minister slams "obscene" salary for Chelsea's Terry

Gerry Sutcliffe, the Sports Minister, has condemned John Terry's salary as "obscene" and criticised Manchester United for increasing their ticket prices.

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Sutcliffe said there was a danger of football losing touch with ordinary fans because of players' sky-high salaries, and that clubs could price grass-roots supporters out of attending matches.

"Good luck to John Terry but I think it is obscene to be on £150,000 a week," he said. "People in the street cannot understand salaries like that. Chelsea are £250 million in the red and they may be able to cope with that but it's not the real world. £250 million in the red is not sustainable.

"This year Manchester United increased their season tickets by 13 per cent and said fans have to buy automatically European and Carling Cup games as well and that costs an extra £200. That's taking the game away from the ordinary grass-roots supporter."

Sutcliffe is himself a Manchester United fan, and contrasted the club's prices with those at Bradford City where season tickets have been cut to £130.

He added: "Ordinary working people who want go and see Manchester United face being priced out. There is a danger that there will be a move away from the game and we don't want to be in a position where people are alienated."

Sutcliffe said the Government would not interfere with the running of football, such as by trying to impose salary caps, but said he wanted to act as "a critical friend".

He added that he would be raising his views with Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive, and David Gill, the Manchester United chief executive, at meetings on Thursday.

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