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Volume 10 No. 25
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English Clubs Were Leaders In Spending On Overseas Players, FIFA Reports

English clubs were by "far world football's biggest spenders on overseas players" in '13, paying £550M, a "quarter of the total spent by all clubs globally," according to David Conn of the London GUARDIAN. In its Global Transfer Market 2014 report, FIFA said that English clubs "spent substantially more money on overseas players," up 51% on '12, due to the new £5.5B TV deals secured by the Premier League for '13-16. Spain, whose clubs apart from Real Madrid and Barcelona are "struggling with debts, losses and mounting tax bills," was the world's "biggest sellers of players," receiving £341M in total. The figures, "compiled from all international player transfers" by FIFA annually, also reveal that English clubs paid £45M to "intermediaries" or agents to "act for them, in addition to any money paid to players' agents" (GUARDIAN, 1/29). The PA's Martyn Ziegler reported after the Premier League, Italian clubs were the "next biggest spenders on overseas transfers" (£286M), followed by France (£253M), Spain (£192M) and Germany (£144M). The report "also highlighted the growing influence of 'super clubs' such as Manchester City, Paris St. Germain and Monaco, where wealthy owners provide huge sums for fast-track team strengthening." The report states that "across the world there were a total of 12,309 international transfers" in '13, 4% more than in '12, and 90% of these "were transfers with no fee paid" (PA, 1/29).

HEDGING THEIR BETS: In London, Mark Cue reported there was a "significant increase in so-called conditional transfers, where part of the fee is fixed and the rest is performance-based." Fees from "such transfers leapt" 73% to a total of £316M. FIFA Transfer Matching System GM Mark Goddard said that the "jump in conditional transfers could be significant." Goddard: "It is a very interesting trend because the market is becoming more astute, a lot of the transfers are based on either potential performance or past performance, if the players are older. Clubs are hedging their bets, trying to be more sensible in how much money they put into the guaranteed section and into the potential section [of the fee]" (LONDON TIMES, 1/29). The AP's Graham Dunbar reported FIFA's other figures show that nine countries accounted for $3B in spending; 14 more -- including Brazil, the U.S. and Qatar -- spent a further $16M; the remaining $115M was spent by 116 countries. There were "41 FIFA member countries" that were not "involved in any international transfers." Of the 12,309 transfers processed (up 4%), "only 1,628 involved a fee." Out-of-contract players made up 69% of transfers (AP, 1/29).

THREE REASONS: The AFP reported FIFA cited "three main reasons for the spending rise: so-called 'super clubs,' the English Premier League's spiralling broadcast rights value and high turnover of coaches at leading clubs" (AFP, 1/29).

ÖZIL EPL'S PRICIEST: The BBC reported the "biggest overseas signing" by an EPL club was Arsenal's "club-record capture" of Germany's Mesut Özil for £42.4M from Real Madrid. The "biggest outgoing transfer" was Gareth Bale's "world record-breaking" £85.3M move to Real from Tottenham (BBC, 1/29).

ARGENTINA AND BRAZIL SPEND LESS: REUTERS' Brian Homewood reported Argentina and Brazil "spent less on transfer fees last year, with the former down" from $25M to $22M and Brazil "more significantly" from $94M to $73M. The report said, "A currency crisis afflicting emerging economies has reduced Brazilian and Argentine buying power in the international market." Brazil "remained hugely influential, however," and 13% of all transfers, totaling 1,588, "involved players from the 2014 World Cup host nation" (REUTERS, 1/29).