Sheffield United: Bramall Lane faces fresh challenge

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Sheffield United must comply with even stricter rules governing expenditure next season, as the Football League continues to roll out its ‘Financial Fair Play’ programme.

Salary Cost Management Protocol (SCMP), which last term prohibited third tier clubs from spending more than 65 per cent of total turnover on players, is set to be overhauled again this summer as part of the measures introduced by the governing body at its summer conference two years ago.

That figure is being reduced by a further five per cent ahead of the 2013/14 campaign, meaning Bramall Lane’s next manager must trim the wage bill or risk being hit with a transfer embargo.

Swindon Town, expected to be among United’s rivals for promotion when competition resumes in August, recently announced they are halving Kevin MacDonald’s first team budget after being punished for failing to adhere to SCMP in October.

“Any club that is deemed to have breached the permitted spending threshold will be subject to a transfer embargo,” the FL’s guidelines state. “Wherever possible, the League will seek to tackle the issue ‘at source’ by refusing player registrations that take clubs beyond the threshold.”

SCMP demands that United, like all members of the competition, must submit a detailed breakdown of their finances at the start of the season with further audits taking place on a regular basis.

Chief executive Julian Winter admitted recently: “We aren’t operating to a sustainable level. The McCabe family has continued to support the club for a number of years and the big losses can’t continue.

“It isn’t possible in League One anyway because of the Salary Cost Management Protocol. We have to get some control on matters.

“There will still be some requirement of funding but it isn’t for me to say anymore at this stage.”

United can not begin overhauling their squad until Danny Wilson’s permanent successor is appointed.

But centre-forward Dave Kitson, midfielder Barry Robson and defender Danny Higginbotham face uncertain futures when their contracts expire shortly.

Kitson has previously spoken of a desire to finish his career in North America.