March 26 (Reuters) - Italy's Serie B will introduce a player salary cap next season in a bid to save cash-strapped clubs from extinction.
"It was unanimously decided that contracts starting from July 1 must be standardised with a fixed and variable element each not exceeding 150,000 euros ($192,900) gross," a Serie B statement said on Tuesday after a meeting between club owners.
Italy's second tier sides have long suffered from low crowds, dilapidated stadiums, reduced television income and a lack of transfer income with the top flight Serie A teams often preferring to look abroad for new recruits.
Salary caps have often been mooted in soccer but few top leagues have instituted a system common in other team sports, although European governing body UEFA is imposing financial fair play rules requiring leading clubs to balance their books.
($1 = 0.7777 euros) (Editing by Mark Meadows)