Premier League Clubs Spend Nearly £300 Million In Transfer Window

The empty stadium is pictured ahead of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 15, 2020.
Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP

 

Premier League clubs splashed out nearly £300 million in January — the second-highest amount ever spent in the winter transfer window — boosted by a flurry of late big-money moves.

The arrivals of Luis Diaz, Bruno Guimaraes and Rodrigo Bentancur in the last few days of the month lifted the league’s gross spending to £295 million ($398 million) according to figures from finance company Deloitte.

January 2018’s figure of £430 million remains the record but this year’s outlay is more than four times higher than last year’s figure of £70 million, when the coronavirus crisis hit budgets.

The clubs’ net expenditure –. player purchases less player sales — of £180 million is the highest since the January transfer window was introduced in 2003.

The five clubs currently at the bottom of the Premier League spent around £150 million, more than 50 percent of the total.

Among the big moves, Liverpool signed Porto’s Colombia winger Diaz for a reported initial fee of £37.5 million while Newcastle paid an initial £35 million for Lyon’s Brazilian midfielder Guimaraes.

Newly wealthy Newcastle also paid Burnley £25 million for New Zealand international striker Chris Wood and signed England defender Kieran Trippier for £12 million from Atletico Madrid.

Dan Jones, head of Deloitte’s sports business group, said: “This transfer window indicates that the financial pressures of Covid on Premier League clubs are easing, with spending firmly back to pre-pandemic levels and remarkably among the highest we’ve ever seen in January.

“The Premier League continues to lead the way globally, retaining its status as the world’s biggest domestic football league in financial terms, once again supported by full stadia and securing strong overseas broadcast deals.

“Other large European leagues are also edging back to higher spending, but it is Premier League clubs that have notched up the largest total spend in this transfer window, spending almost £150 million more than Serie A clubs, the closest competitor.”

Total gross spending across Europe’s “big five” leagues (the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1) reached 735 million euros ($828 million), exceeding last January’s total by 460 million euros.

“In stark contrast to January 2021, the wider European transfer market appears buoyant,” said Calum Ross, assistant director at the sports business group.

“Many clubs are starting to bounce back from significant Covid-induced reductions, with rising revenues re-activating activity within the transfer market.”

Premier League Clubs Vote To Block Sponsorship Deals Linked To Owners

Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder Ferran Torres (C) scores his team’s fifth goal during the English Premier League football match against Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northwest England, on August 28, 2021. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Premier League clubs have voted to temporarily block teams from striking lucrative deals with businesses that have links to their club’s owners after the Saudi Arabia-backed takeover of Newcastle.

The Guardian newspaper reported 18 clubs voted in favour of the ban at an emergency meeting on Monday, with Newcastle voting against and Manchester City abstaining. It is understood that both questioned the legality of the move.

A temporary month-long ban on such deals will be put in place while the possibility of a permanent ban is debated.

Many clubs in the English top-flight fear Newcastle’s wealthy Saudi owners could conclude agreements in the oil-rich kingdom that could give them an advantage.

Last week, Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani said Financial Fair Play rules must be enforced to ensure the 20 Premier League clubs are “playing the same game”.

Premier League champions City, who are owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, have struck deals that are known as related party transactions, for example sponsorship from Etihad Airways, the Abu Dhabi government-owned carrier.

The Newcastle takeover was rubber-stamped by the Premier League earlier this month after it received legally binding assurances that the Saudi state would not control the club.

That was despite the fact that Saudi Arabia’s state sovereign wealth fund — the Public Investment Fund (PIF) — owns 80 percent of the club and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is listed as the PIF board’s chairman.

PIF governor and new Newcastle chairman Yassir Al-Rumayyan was in attendance for the club’s first match since the takeover on Sunday, which they lost 3-2 to Tottenham.

Newcastle are currently second from bottom of the Premier League, without a win in their first eight games.

European Clubs Call For Talks With FIFA Amid Plans For Biennial World Cup

FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses the media during a press conference following the FIFA Council Meetings in Miami, Florida, on March 15, 2019. Infantino on Friday confirmed plans to launch an expanded 24-team Club World Cup in 2021 following a meeting in Miami. The new tournament, which has drawn threats of a boycott from leading European clubs, is to be staged in June-July 2021 instead of the Confederations Cup. RHONA WISE / AFP.
File photo: FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses the media during a press conference following the FIFA Council Meetings in Miami, Florida, on March 15, 2019.  RHONA WISE / AFP.

 

The European Club Association has said it is willing to “engage” with FIFA over potential changes to the international calendar but has hit out at world football’s governing body for its attempts to introduce a biennial World Cup.

The ECA, which has nearly 250 members from across Europe with Paris Saint-Germain’s Nasser al-Khelaifi its chairman, complained in a statement released on Friday that there had been “a lack of genuine (or indeed any) consultation” from FIFA about its proposals for a more regular World Cup.

It said it believes changes are needed to the calendar to make it “modernised and simpler”, with fewer windows in which players have to be released by clubs for international duty, “better player protection and health and a balanced approach to club and international football”.

It said it was available “to engage with FIFA to agree what those changes should be”.

READ ALSO: Wenger Criticises ‘Emotional’ Response To Two Year World Cup Plan

However it is not in favour of a World Cup every two years. “There is no room” in the current calendar said Michael Gerlinger, a vice-chairman of the ECA and on its legal advisory panel, earlier this month.

The ECA statement said FIFA’s project would have “a direct and destructive impact on the club game” and “would put players’ health and well-being at risk”.

“They would dilute the value and meaning of club and country competitions” and “diminish and conflict with women’s and youth football”.

The organisation said FIFA was in “direct and unilateral breach of certain obligations”, referring to an agreement, the so-called memorandum of understanding, that is currently in place with the ECA until 2024 and includes “joint approval” on the international calendar.

FIFA said earlier this week that there was “a broad consensus within the game that the international match calendar should be reformed and improved”.

It has invited football’s national federations to an online summit on September 30 to discuss the calendar as it pushes to hold the World Cup every two years instead of four.

FIFA’s plan has also come under attack from UEFA, with European football’s governing body saying it had “serious concerns” and that the World Cup would lose “legitimacy” by being held more often.

AFP

Lagos Seals Over 14 Event Centres, Night Clubs Others For Violating COVID-19 Protocol

The Lagos State Government has sealed over 14 facilities including event centres, night clubs among others for violating a curfew imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the government through its Safety Commission and the State Police Command sealed the affected buildings on Saturday night for “non-compliance with Covid -19 Health Protection Regulations of the State and Federal Government.”

The enforcement exercise saw event centers such as FM, Triple C, Molobi etc sealed for none compliance with the Event Safety Clearance that was issued to them by the Safety Commission.

READ ALSO: Shasha Violence: Do Not Take Laws Into Your Hands, Akeredolu Tells Ibadan Residents

Also, the clubs sealed in the state include the DNA NightClub, Pluto Club, Sailors Lounge, Club G12, Tiger Bar, Bayrock, Jadasport, Club Ibiza, Dynasty Sports Bar and Lounge, and 10/10 Bar.

Some of the sealed facilities on February 13, 2021.

 

On his part, the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, said the police will continue to monitor compliance across the state.

While warning that COVID-19 violators and perpetrators will be arrested and charged to court, the police boss asked Lagos residents to protect themselves and others by following the laid down regulations by the State and Federal Government.

COVID-19: Police Raid Night Club, Arrest Fun Seekers In Lagos 

 

The police authorities in Lagos on Saturday raided a nightclub and arrested many fun-seekers in the state in a bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The operation was carried out by the Commissioner of Police in the state, Hakeem Odumosu.

A total of 237 culprits were arrested and moved to the State Force Headquarters at Ikeja.

Eighty-five of the suspects were arrested at the Lounge 38 in Bode Thomas Street, Surulere and 152 others at Club Victoria in Victoria Island.

Some Lagos residents arrested by the police for flouting COVID-19 protocol in the state on January 9, 2021.

 

Six people were also apprehended for allegedly violating the midnight to 4 am curfew in the state.

READ ALSO: Newlyweds, 35 Others Kidnapped By Bandits In Katsina Regain Freedom

The suspects were later paraded today by the police who vowed to charge them to court soon.

Despite series of warnings by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and health authorities against gatherings beyond approved numbers, many Nigerians have continued to defy the order.

The result has been an exponential spike in the number of COVID-19 infections across the country, with Lagos remaining the epicentre of the pandemic in the country, recording its highest number of infections of 807 on Thursday.

See photos below:

Premier League Clubs Vote To Resume Contact Training

 

 

Premier League clubs voted unanimously on Wednesday to resume contact training as the English top-flight took a significant step towards a possible restart in June.

The Premier League was put on hold in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Liverpool agonisingly close to the title.

Clubs returned to training in small and socially distanced groups last week but they have now moved to stage two of the “return to training protocol”.

“Premier League shareholders today voted unanimously to resume contact training, marking another step towards restarting the Premier League season, when safe to do so,” the league said in a statement.

“Squads are now able to train as a group and engage in tackling while minimising any unnecessary close contact.”

It added: “Discussions are ongoing as work continues towards resuming the season, when conditions allow.”

The small number of positive tests from the first two rounds of testing at Premier League clubs has raised hopes of a return next month.

READ ALSO: Mourinho Does Not Expect To See ‘Crazy’ Transfers After COVID-19

Eight cases of coronavirus among players and staff have been detected from 1,744 tests in the Premier League.

In the second-tier Championship, just two positive tests were registered from 1,014 tests.

A targeted return date of June 12 was described by Premier League chief executive Richard Masters last week as a “staging post”.

Players and coaches have argued they will need until at least the end of June to reduce the risk of injuries after such a long lay-off.

Some players have voiced fears over their safety and that of their families due to the virus.

Watford captain Troy Deeney has not returned to training after three positive cases were registered by the Hornets over concerns he could spread the virus to his five-month-old son.

French World Cup winner N’Golo Kante has also been given permission by Chelsea to train at home.

Germany’s Bundesliga has already managed to complete two rounds of fixtures since returning behind closed doors and there has been little player opposition to La Liga’s plans to return in Spain from June 11.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said playing at an empty Anfield and winning the Premier League title with no fans present would be “pretty strange”.

Liverpool were 25 points clear of 2019 champions Manchester City when the league was shut down, on the verge of being crowned English champions for the first time in 30 years.

“Of course it would feel different because if you win any trophy and receive it without any fans there, it would be pretty strange,” he told the BBC.

“We still have work to do and we still need to perform at a high level right the way until the season finishes because we want to finish as strongly as we can to make sure it is a full season,” he added.

AFP

Premier League To Vote On Return Of Contact Training

 

Premier League clubs will vote on proposals for a return to contact training on Wednesday as the English top-flight seeks to take another step closer to resuming the season next month.

New UK government guidelines issued on Sunday allow for the return of “close contact” training, including tackling, to help players step up their match fitness ahead of a return to competitive action.

“This type of training would start with smaller ‘clusters’ of 2-3 athletes and eventually progress to larger groups of 4-12 athletes, and ultimately full team training,” added the government advice.

Premier League clubs returned to training in small and socially distanced groups last week.

Players and managers are to be consulted in a meeting on Tuesday before the proposals are put to a vote of the 20 clubs.

Results of the latest round of COVID-19 testing, which is taking place on Monday and Tuesday, will also be published on Wednesday.

The small number of positive tests from the first two rounds of testing at Premier League clubs has raised hopes of a return in June.

READ ALSO: Italy Proposes 60,000 Volunteers For Post-virus Vigilance

Eight cases of coronavirus among players and staff have been detected from 1,744 tests in the Premier League.

In the Championship, just two positive tests were registered from 1,014 tests.

How to proceed in the event of a positive test once contact training has restarted is one of the topics that will be discussed by clubs later this week.

A targeted return date of June 12 was described by Premier League chief executive Richard Masters last week as a “staging post”.

Players and coaches have argued they will need until at least the end of June to mitigate the risk of a spate of injuries after such a long layoff.

There has been no action in the Premier League since March 9.

However, the biggest hurdle to a return remains players’ fears over their safety and that of their families due to the virus.

Watford captain Troy Deeney has not returned to training after three positive cases were registered by the Hornets over concerns he could spread the virus to his five-month-old son.

French World Cup winner N’Golo Kante has also been given permission by Chelsea to train at home.

Germany’s Bundesliga has already managed to complete two rounds of fixtures since returning behind closed doors and there has been little player opposition to La Liga’s plans to return in Spain from June 11.

“With what’s happened in Germany, I’ve got no doubt the vote will go ahead and the clubs will vote to try to get phase two going,” former Liverpool and England midfielder Jamie Redknapp told Sky Sports.

“I also think there’ll be a situation where more players will opt out, which is their prerogative, but with the success in Germany — it’s not been great, it’s not the product we really like, with no fans there, but at least it’s football — I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t go ahead.”

AFP

La Liga Clubs Given Permission To Expand Into Group Training

La-Liga-Logo
File: La Liga logo

La Liga have told clubs they will be able to increase training to involve groups of up to 10 players on Monday as teams take another step towards the planned resumption of the season next month.

The Spanish government has announced protocol that will allow training sessions to be expanded by all clubs, even those belonging to areas that are further behind in the country’s de-escalation programme.

It means teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Aletico Madrid will be able to train in groups of 10, a source at La Liga told AFP, despite both Madrid and Catalonia remaining in ‘phase 0’ as two of Spain’s worst-hit regions by coronavirus.

Espanyol, Leganes, Getafe and Real Valladolid will also be given special permission to do training in larger groups.

The move comes as a boost to La Liga’s hopes of restarting the season in the middle of June and following the lead of Germany’s Bundesliga, which staged games behind closed doors on Saturday.

Teams in the top two divisions in Spain have already returned to their training grounds this month, with players working individually as part of La Liga’s staggered programme, which includes regular testing and strict medical protocol.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has circled June 12 as the ideal date for matches to return but admitted the exact timing will depend on the health authorities in Spain and the trajectory of the virus.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Crisis Punctures Tunisia Tourism Rebound

According to an official statement by the government on Saturday, professional sports clubs “may carry out complete training sessions” while “complying with the corresponding prevention and hygiene measures”.

The statement puts the maximum number at 14 for group training but La Liga have informed clubs the limit will be 10 on Monday.

La Liga first suspended fixtures on March 14 and Tebas has estimated that failing to complete the season would cost clubs around 1 billion euros.

AFP

Spanish Football Federation Offers Clubs Loans To Pay Bills

(File) View taken on on September 16, 2017 of the new Wanda Metropolitano stadium before the Spanish league football match Club Atletico de Madrid vs Malaga CF in Madrid.  AFP PHOTO / OSCAR DEL POZO.

 

Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales on Wednesday announced lines of credit for lower-level clubs in difficulty because of the coronavirus pandemic and repeated that he hoped the season could be completed.

He also told an online press conference he was willing to talk to La Liga, which runs the top two divisions, about helping its clubs.

Rubiales said that semi-professional and non-professional clubs in men’s and women’s outdoor and indoor football “will have a line of credit that will reach up to four million euros ($4.3 million) depending on their wage bills”.

He said the loans would be interest free and could be repaid over two years.

Some clubs are considering introducing part-time working to compensate for lack of income.

Rubiales said he hoped that this aid would help prevent such drastic action.

“We’re talking about four million for modest levels of football, but there’s also professional football and we want to reach out to it,” said Rubiales.

“If La Liga wants to talk, it’s time to do the maths,” he said. “We have worked on a line of financing of 500 million euros.”

He said the RFEF was ready “to sit down and look for financing for clubs that are going to have a problem”.

READ ALSO: Fury-Wilder Rematch Postponed Over COVID-19

“(If the season) does not end on June 30, which is more probable, there are going to be clubs that do not receive 100 percent of the money from television,” he added.

He said he could make 500 million available “for first and second division clubs, who need 15, 20 million euros now”.

Rubiales reiterated that competition will resume “when it is possible”, but he said he wanted to “give clubs fighting relegation the chance to save themselves, and those in a position to win promotion the chance to earn it”.

AFP

FIFA Punishes Clubs Over Player Deals

FILE PHOTO FIFA President, Gianni Infantino.  Credit: Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

 

Lisbon clubs Benfica and Sporting, Spanish teams Celta Vigo and Rayo Vallecano, Al Arabi of Qatar and the Lao Football Federation were on Thursday punished by FIFA over player deals.

Football’s world ruling body FIFA ruled the four Iberian clubs broke the rules on third-party ownership (TPO) of players, which is banned.

FIFA fined Benfica 150,000 Swiss francs (125,000 euros) and Sporting 110,000 Swiss francs for using TPO (third-party ownership). Both clubs, FIFA said, entered into “two contracts which enabled a third party to influence the club’s independence.”

Benfica were cleared over a deal with Celta Vigo, but the Spanish first division club were fined 65,000 Swiss francs, “for entering into a contract that enabled Benfica to influence the club’s independence” and for misusing FIFA’s International Transfer Matching System (ITMS), which keeps track of player sales.

Second-division Rayo Vallecano were fined 55,000 Swiss francs for TPO deals and abusing ITMS.

Al Arabi of Qatar were fined 187,500 Swiss francs for a series of TPO deals, “for a breach of confidentiality,” and seven offences related to ITMS.

The Lao federation were hit with the heaviest fine, 690,000 Swiss francs, for offences that included breaking the  rules on international transfers and on the “first registration of minor players.”

AFP

Sunday Mba; Super Hot Target For Clubs In Europe

Nigeria’s Afcon 2013 sensation; 24-year-old midfielder Sunday Mba he is being wooed by many Premier League clubs as he plots a move away from his Nigerian side Warri Wolves.

Mba’s exploits and performance at the just concluded Afcon 2013 where Nigeria emerged eventual winners of the competition in South Africa attracted a number of scouts to monitor his progression.

Though, still with his local club Warri Wolves, Mba revealed that he is open to a move from the club to Europe after being inundated with offers from several top clubs in Europe.

It is understood Andre Villas-Boas had a scout keeping a close eye on him, but the north-London club are expected to face competition from Everton and Reading for the £4million man.

“I won’t lie, I have been inundated with offers from England, Spain, Italy and some other countries but I will not be hasty in reaching a decision now,” Mba ended.