LONDON - Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe has stood by his assertion that top footballers in England are being paid too much money despite admitting that he got his figures wrong.
Sutcliffe sparked off an angry debate when he claimed that the salaries pocketed by Premier League stars like Chelsea and England skipper John Terry were "obscene".
His remarks infuriated Chelsea but he has refused to back down despite being forced to admit the figures he quoted were overblown.
Sutcliffe told BBC Radio Five Live: "I am not attacking players. This is about whether can football sustain the losses that Chelsea have. I stand corrected - I said Chelsea's losses were 250 million pounds and I understand it's 220 million pounds over two years, and John's salary is not 150000 pounds a week, it's closer to 130000 pounds.
"To the ordinary man and woman in the street that would be seen as obscene because they cannot relate to that.
"Link that to ticket prices and people are being priced out of the game. It's not an attack on individuals - John Terry is a great football player and a great England captain."
Chelsea manager Avram Grant hit back by insisting it was unfair to single out his captain, or indeed focus specifically on footballers to make his point. - Sapa-AFP