Financial unfair play: Top five leagues make $2.83 bn purchase

Clubs in the English top flight had spent 630 million pounds ($980.5 million) by the player transfer deadline on Monday night.

Written by Reuters | London | Published: September 4, 2013 1:29:17 am

European football clubs have reinvested cash from television deals to go on a record-breaking summer spending spree led by teams from the English Premier League and Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. Clubs in the English top flight had spent 630 million pounds ($980.5 million) by the player transfer deadline on Monday night. While,according to an estimate,the total money spent by clubs in the top-five leagues was a whopping $2.83 billion. Teams in the big European leagues must now wait until January before they can hire new players.

The spending by English clubs broke the 2008 record of 500 million pounds,according to figures compiled by business services group Deloitte,and underlined the Premier League’s status as the world’s richest national competition.

Champions Manchester United and the other 19 Premier League teams are expected to share revenues of about 1.6 billion pounds this season thanks to enhanced television deals with BSkyB and BT in Britain,and broadcasters around the globe that began last month.

It was not all one-way traffic as the Premier League lost one of its biggest names when Real Madrid bought Welshman Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur for a world record $132 million. Not to be outdone,Real’s perennial rivals Barcelona spent $75 million to buy Brazil forward Neymar from Brazilian top division club Santos.

Spending such sums might appear to defy logic given Spain’s economic problems but Real and Barcelona enjoy the luxury of doing their own TV deals rather than pooling revenues as happens in England and other major leagues.

That has made the two clubs the world’s richest in terms of revenues and allowed them to remain buyers when many of their Spanish rivals are forced to sell their best players. Overall spending levels may also raise eyebrows when loss-making clubs are supposed to be complying with new Financial Fair Play rules introduced by UEFA,European soccer’s governing body,to put soccer on a more stable footing. However,many clubs also offload players to help fund spending.

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