Premier League clubs will be docked points if they fail to comply with new financial control measures designed to curb rampant wage inflation and stem losses when their new £5.5bn TV deal kicks in next season.
The league's chief executive, Richard Scudamore, claimed that the measures, which will curb wage bill increases in the short term and force clubs to cut losses in the long term, would bring to an end the era of rampant short-term spending and make clubs more stable.
From 2013-14 onwards, clubs will be limited to losses of £105m over three seasons based on their audited accounts. As with Uefa's stricter financial fair play rules, money invested in youth development and infrastructure can be discounted from the calculations.
Under the complex new rules, which have been intensely debated around the Premier League boardroom table since the summer, when it became clear that they were on course to share a £5.5bn TV income bonanza, clubs with a wage bill in excess of £52m will be able to increase it by only £4m, then £8m and finally £12m per year from 2013-14.
However, further increases to the wage bill are permissible in line with any uplift in a club's commercial or match-day income – the curbs apply only to the central TV money distributed by the league. On the latest available figures, only seven clubs would be under the £52m cap.
In future, Scudamore said, the rules would ensure that no other owner would be able to come into English football and invest hundreds of millions of pounds overnight to compete for the title, as first Roman Abramovich at Chelsea and then Sheikh Mansour at Manchester City have done.
"A new owner or even an existing owner with a change in attitude or a change in fortunes can invest proportionally a decent amount of money to improve their club," he said. "But what they aren't going to be doing is throwing hundreds of millions at it in a very short period of time. I'm not criticising that; I've been supportive of them, supportive of what they have done to make it a more competitive league."
But Scudamore said that if new owners with deep pockets wanted to come into the league in the future "it's going to have to be done in a slightly longer-term way without the huge losses being made".
Four clubs – Chelsea, Manchester City, Aston Villa and Liverpool – would have fallen foul of the rules if they had been in place between 2008 and 2011. Abramovich has poured £1bn into the London club since he bought it a decade ago and won his first Premier League title in his second season as owner.
The Premier League claimed the rules would allow smaller and newly promoted clubs to invest sufficiently to challenge for Europe, while also promoting greater sustainability and controlling wage inflation.
But Scudamore made it clear any clubs that breached the limit could expect tough sanctions, including points deductions. At present, any club entering administration is docked nine points.
Owners of clubs making a loss will be required to cover any deficit and guarantee their funding for the three years that follow, which Scudamore said was a major step forward. Anyone buying the club would have take on those guarantees.
"From a fairly low threshold of financial regulation we have had a journey," he said. "This is a leap but an extension of where we were heading anyway. This is a fairly decent leap into the tightening up, particularly the future guarantees."
Despite the unprecedented riches that have flowed into the coffers of top-flight clubs during the Premier League era, clubs made losses of £361m last year despite record income of £2.3bn.
Scudamore said that such was the uplift in TV revenue that clubs would not be forced to spend less but that the measures would put the brakes on further inflation. "We shouldn't be worried about the competitiveness of the league in terms of our ability to attract players," he said.
The development of the new controls has been contentious. The so-called "gang of four" – Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Liverpool – had strongly argued that the Premier League should adopt the same spending limits as Uefa.
The top clubs in the Premier League have to comply with the Uefa rules from this season, which limit losses to €45m over a three-year period and will be assessed for the first time next spring.
But others argued that the limits should be set higher to allow sustainable spending by smaller clubs with ambitions to challenge for Europe.
Six clubs – Manchester City, Fulham, West Bromwich Albion, Southampton, Swansea and Villa – are believed to have voted against any restrictions for a range of reasons and Reading to have abstained, so the vote narrowly got the necessary two-thirds constitutional majority.
Fulham want their owner, Mohamed Al Fayed, who recently converted his loans to equity to leave the club debt-free, to be able to continue to pour money into the club.
West Bromwich Albion, on the other hand, believe that they are able to continue to run the club sustainably without the need for new regulation and that the new rules will harm their competitive advantage.
The sports minister, Hugh Robertson, said the new regulations were a "welcome and positive move".