The FIFA Transfer Matching System has launched a new report -- The BIG 5: Transfer Window Analysis January 2014 -- with analysis of int’l transfers involving clubs from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The report covers transfers completed in January -- an important time for many players given that the World Cup is just months away -- as well as data from last year’s European summer transfer window. It is based on data submitted to FIFA TMS's Int'l Transfer Matching System from June ’13 through January. During this period, these five markets accounted for 66%, $2.2B of the total global spend of $3.4B. These five markets accounted for 34% -- 3,465 of the 10,060 -- of transfers. English clubs accounted for 26% -- $885M -- of the global market spend. French (12%, $399M), Italian (11%, $363M), Spanish (10%, $337M) and German clubs (7%, $252M) were the next-most active in the transfer market. Spanish clubs earned more on sales ($497M) than they spent on signings. German clubs’ spending rose $26M from the previous year (FIFA).
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Hong Kong FA CEO Mark Sutcliffe said that the move to suspend Happy Valley and Tuen Mun from the First Division is a strong message that the HKFA is serious about "cleaning up" the sport as it looks towards a new professional era, according to Alvin Sallay of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. The clubs "have been kicked out of the top flight after an HKFA investigation found that both clubs had brought the game into disrepute and were not viable to continue playing as they fell short in terms of governance, financial status and operational abilities." Sutcliffe said on Thursday, "We hope this will send a strong message that the HKFA is serious about cleaning up the sport in terms of the governance and financial stability of the clubs." The financial situation of Happy Valley and Tuen Mun "changed dramatically mid-season" leading both clubs to inform the HKFA that they were not able to fulfill their financial obligations for the rest of the season. Tuen Mun "had deregistered 11 players and terminated an agreement with a mainland backer last month." Around the same time the Independent Commission Against Corruption "took away a number of Happy Valley players after a match." Investigations "are still continuing on this front." Sutcliffe: "Our investigations had nothing to do with match-fixing. We took a decision to suspend both clubs simply because they have brought the game into disrepute by not being able to meet their financial obligations and due to their governance" (SCMP, 2/13).
Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Thursday that "the co-ownership of players in Serie A could be abolished," according to FOOTBALL ITALIA. Meetings regarding the issue "have already taken place between clubs with a view to bringing about the change" by the summer of ‘16. The new measure "still needs the approval of the League and of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC)" to proceed. Serie A Bologna President Albano Guaraldi said, "I wouldn’t be in agreement with it. Co-ownership is something that helps to develop players and to value them. It’s not certain that things that work well in other countries would also work well here. It could be reduced and limited, but there is no way it could be abolished within two years." Atalanta Dir General Pierpaolo Marino "also indicated a similar opinion." Marino: "I’m against its abolition, I’ve already experienced a period like this. There were so many disputes with private contracts." There are "164 co-ownership deals currently in place in Serie A, with 92 of those due to expire this coming summer" (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 2/13).