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Deloitte: European football clubs with Middle East based ownership are the highest net spenders on players’ transfers


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  • Premier League clubs spent £630m on players’ transfers in 2013, up 29% from 2012

25 September, 2013 - Player transfer spending by Premier League clubs in the summer 2013 transfer window was a record, according to analysis by Deloitte. Gross spending totaled £630m, 29% up on the equivalent 2012 figure of £490m and £130m more than the previous record of £500m set in 2008.

Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “The story of this summer transfer window is of new records: a new record for Premier League spending as well as a new world transfer record fee. Premier League clubs’ gross spending this summer is £630m, beating the previous record of £500m set in 2008. Whilst the sale of Gareth Bale brought £85m into the Premier League, net spending is also a record, at £400m. As the financial rewards for participation and success in the Premier League increase, so it follows that clubs are investing on the pitch to ensure they continue to benefit from the remarkable Premier League growth story.”

Alex Thorpe, consultant in the Sports Business Group, added: "As we have seen in previous transfer windows, some of the highest net spenders this summer have been clubs with Middle East based ownership. Both the financial backing of the ownership, as well as the impressive revenue growth achieved in recent years, have allowed clubs such as Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain to again compete at the very top of the market to attract leading talent".

Thorpe also added that: “This is the first year that Premier League clubs will benefit financially from the league’s new broadcast deals; each club benefitting from a share of the extra £600m of revenues in 2013/14 alone. Testament to the impact this is having is in the scale of Premier League gross spending, as well as the gulf in net spending between the Premier League and other European leagues. Whereas many clubs around Europe have been reliant on selling players in order to spend, the financial advantages Premier League clubs enjoy has enabled net spending of £400m across the league. Many clubs, including new entrants to the league, have successfully competed in the European transfer market to attract high profile foreign talent.”

Dan Jones said: “While Premier League clubs are in a stronger position to afford increased transfer and player costs than ever before, the key challenge remains cost control. With regulations at both a league and continental level encouraging clubs to balance their costs with revenue, we hope that while these revenue increases allow the league to attract top players, they will also result in a more profitable picture across the league in the years to come.”

Some of the key findings from the analysis by Deloitte include:

  • Premier League clubs have committed to around £630m in respect of player transfer fees in the summer 2013 transfer window, well above the £490m spent in summer 2012 and breaking the previous record of £500m set in summer 2008.
  • Premier League clubs concluded player acquisitions totaling around £140m on deadline day. The equivalent deadline day figure in the summer 2012 was around £110m.
  • The four Premier League clubs competing in this season’s Champions League - Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United - had a combined gross transfer spend of £230m this summer transfer window, representing 37% of the aggregate gross transfer spend by Premier League clubs.
  • Gross transfer fees to overseas clubs were around £490m, over 60% up on the level seen in summer 2012. This represented 78% of aggregate gross transfer spend by Premier League clubs, as compared with 61% in summer 2012.
  • Across all of the ‘big five’ top divisions of Europe, gross spending by clubs is up compared with last year. After the Premier League, the next highest spenders were La Liga and Serie A, each with a gross spend of £335m, followed by Ligue 1 with £315m and the Bundesliga with £230m.
  • Premier League clubs’ net transfer spend, being the net amount that flows to overseas clubs (£370m) and Football League clubs (£30m), was also a new record of £400m, beating the previous record level of £250m set in summer 2012.
  • Net transfer spending across Europe is a more mixed picture, with La Liga (£95m) and Serie A (£10m) generating surpluses from player trading this summer, while Ligue 1 (£130m) and the Bundesliga (£50m) both spent more than they received.
  • In aggregate Football League clubs benefited from net transfer inflow of around £30m from Premier League clubs in summer 2013.
  • Since the introduction of the transfer window system, gross player transfer spending has exceeded £5.3bn, with 80% of this being spent in summer transfer windows.

Notes to editors

Basis of preparation
The information on player transfers is based on publicly available information in respect of player registration acquisitions by clubs, including from www.bbc.co.uk and www.premierleague.com, and further analysis carried out by the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. The information is based on reported transfers as at 00:30 on 01 September 2012. Further commentary about the transfer market is included in the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance. The figures contained in this release will not necessarily be the same as the cost of acquiring players’ registrations as recognised in the financial statements of each club. Under accounting requirements, the cost of acquiring a player’s registration includes the transfer fee payable (including any probable contingent amounts), plus other direct costs such as transfer fee levy and fees to agents.

About the Sports Business Group at Deloitte
Over the last 20 years Deloitte has developed a unique focus on the business of sport. Our specialist Sports Business Group offers a multi-disciplined expert service with dedicated people and skills capable of adding significant value to the business of sport. Whether it is benchmarking or strategic business reviews, operational turnarounds, revenue enhancement strategies or stadium/venue development plans, business planning, market and demand analysis, acquisitions, due diligence, expert witness, audits or tax planning; we have worked with more clubs, leagues, governing bodies, stadia developers, event organisers, commercial partners, financiers and investors than any other adviser. For further information kindly visit: www.deloitte.co.uk/sportsbusinessgroup

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