EPL Clubs Paid Record £1.8B In Wage Bills Last Season, Guardian Study Reveals
The London Guardian's annual review of Premier League clubs' annual accounts showed that EPL clubs "paid their players and other staff a record" £1.8B in '12-13, up 11% on the previous year. Players earning multi-million pound salaries "were again football's clear financial winners," in a year when the clubs made a record £2.7B combined income, yet nevertheless made a loss overall, of £291M. Twelve of the 20 clubs made a loss in '12-13, with five clubs losing £50M or more: Aston Villa, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City and Queens Park Rangers. The proportion of the income clubs spent on wages in '12-13 "was the same" as in '11-12, 67%, above the 50-60% threshold commonly recommended as sensible. Because clubs earned more money overall, principally from increased sponsorship secured by the top clubs, that meant "the total wage bill rose." Clubs "do not differentiate in their accounts between wages paid to players and to other staff, but the overwhelming majority unquestionably goes in galactic earnings of players." Other staff "have historically not been well paid at clubs, where there has been a culture of expecting people to consider it a privilege to work in football." The "clear exception" to that culture of low pay, besides the players and managers, "is in the boardroom, where senior executives are lavishly paid in the Premier League." The highest paid director in '12-13 was Southampton Exec Chair Nicola Cortese, who earned £2.1M. Next highest paid was Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis, who earned £1.8M. A majority of Premier League clubs "still rely on money from owners," whether paid in return for shares, like the vast £1B invested in Man City over just five years by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, or loaned, as at Liverpool, Newcastle United, West Ham United and others. Football's largest bank debt was owed by ManU (GUARDIAN, 5/1). In a separate piece, David Conn reported QPR "had a higher wage bill last season" than Champions League finalists Atlético Madrid. QPR's financial accounts for '12-13 "confirm the impression at Loftus Road that the club overspent" for Manager Mark Hughes and his replacement, Harry Redknapp, "in a vain effort to avoid relegation," producing a wage bill of £78M, 128% of the club's entire turnover. Atlético's wage bill has been reported in the Spanish media to be just €66M this year -- 30% less than QPR's, for a team mostly without acknowledged stars, whose "stellar progress has been widely attributed to inspirational management by Diego Simeone" (GUARDIAN, 5/1). For the Guardian's club-by-club wage breakdown, click here.