Bayern Munich’s president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge yesterday criticised Chelsea for their “unacceptable” lack of budgetary constraints and called for a Europe-wide salary cap.

Speaking in a European parliamentary debate, Rummenigge claimed the spending of he Premier League champions, distorted the sporting value of European competition.

“We have a €200m turnover and Chelsea, who as everyone knows are owned by Roman Abramovich, have [a comparable] turnover,” said Rummenigge.

“We make a €35m profit; this is required for our investment. Chelsea lost €204m; Mr Abramovich obviously stumped up for it. This [makes for] unequal competition but we are playing against each other in the Champions League. This is not acceptable.”

Chelsea responded indignantly, claiming they were merely catching up with the investment of rival clubs.

“It is total nonsense to suggest that this is somehow uncompetitive or unequal,” said Chelsea’s director of communications Simon Greenberg. “There are clubs who have spent more than Chelsea in the last 10 years.

“There are clubs who are not as transparent as Chelsea with regard to their finances. It is our publicly stated position that we will try and break even in 2010 and thereafter hopefully make profits. Football is a free market and to suggest our position is not acceptable is ludicrous.

“These comments may have been made in order to play up to this particular audience or because of other issues surrounding our two clubs at the moment.”

Bayern president’s proposed to introduce a Europe-wide salary cap that would ensure the there was a limit to what each club could spend.

“We could have a salary cap: when a big proportion of turnover is spent on wages clubs are going to be in the red,” said Rummenigge.

“We should have an overall salary budget capped at, say, 50% of turnover. Across Europe there should be harmonisation. 80 to 85% of professional clubs in Europe are losing money. The pressure of competition leads to misinterpretation.”

Subscribe to World Soccer – The essential football magazine.