sport

New TV deals led to big spend

The summer transfer activity which resulted in English clubs spending a record 835m is down to improved television deals, according to Dan Jones from the sports business group Deloitte.

Jones has observed how clubs throughout the Premier League increased their spending this summer, with Manchester United and Hull City two examples of the money being spread across the division.

And Jones acknowledges clubs are splashing the cash for different reasons.

He said: "The extra TV money in the clubs' pockets and also clubs at the top trying to push on and sustain their success - the four teams in the Champions League accounted for about 40 per cent of the spend. Then of course Manchester United, the biggest spenders, trying to get themselves back up to the top - a record amount of spending ever by one English club in the transfer window.

"But then of course even further down the Premier League you're seeing clubs spending a lot of money, and that's one of the great strengths of the Premier League is because of the way the money is shared out our clubs quite a lot further down the line can spend.

"So you see Hull making eight-figure signings which a few years ago would have been impossible to conceive of. So, very, very busy, not perhaps quite as busy a deadline day as we've been used to, but a very busy window overall."

But with such huge sums of cash being parted with this summer, some critics are questioning the impact of UEFA's financial fair play rules, which were implemented to restrict reckless spending from clubs.

When Michel Platini was elected UEFA president he promised to take a stance on clubs living beyond their means, and big-spending Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain have both been hit by sanctions recently.

While Jones concedes many football fans are feeling alienated by the vast spending in the modern game, he insists financial fair play is working.

Jones said: "It's well known Manchester United is the most profitable football club in the world and so, they've got the profits there to justify the spending. And of course if they want to keep those revenues up they need to improve the on-the-pitch performance.

"Then you've got the Premier League clubs overall getting 25m more a year in TV money, so 25m across 20 clubs, that's 500m. You look at the net amount they've spent, 835m gross. But of course they've been selling players, bringing money in, and the net spending is only down around 400m, so they're only spending the extra money they're getting in from TV.

"So, yes, at first glance it looks like financial fair play is having no effect, but actually Manchester City had a very quiet transfer window, PSG pretty invisible in the transfer window. Those have been the two most high-profile clubs sanctioned by UEFA. So we've always felt that if more money comes in to the game, more money will be spent on players. That's inevitable because teams are there really to win matches, win trophies, not to make a profit.

"But I do think we are seeing some signs, and Michel Platini was talking just last week about it being the first season UEFA has ever seen where revenue went up faster than wages, so let's see, it will take another couple of years to really see the numbers filtering through.