Deloitte Report Shows “Untouchable” Premier League Financial Might - The Leamington Observer

Deloitte Report Shows “Untouchable” Premier League Financial Might

Leamington Editorial 17th Feb, 2023   0

It’s been an age-old debate. The riches of the Premier League have long been discussed in England, particularly in the context of what it means for grassroots football in the country. We are supposed to see the trickledown effect, with the Premier League’s might ultimately helping clubs lower down the footballing pyramid, Leamington FC included. Of course, as many critics point out, it doesn’t always feel that way to those at the lower end of football’s food chain.

However, as Deloitte’s annual report on football finances has pointed out, the might of the Premier League has become so great that it has also left the “Big Leagues” of Europe trailing in its wake. Eleven of the top 20 clubs in Deloitte’s Money League are from the Premier League, with three of the top four taken by English teams. There were seven English clubs in the top 20 in 2021. While not wholly unexpected, the report has left critics decrying foul play.

There is, of course, unquestionable global appeal to the Premier League. Fans around the world are committed to competition, and they are willing to pay to watch the action. That commitment to paying is key to the Premier League’s bounty, according to Deloitte. Nearly every top football league in the world has seen either a decline or no change in the most recent rounds of television broadcasting deals and other media rights.

Intense competition captures global audience

Does the level of competitivity help the “product”? Sure. We know that this season Arsenal have emerged as the frontrunning candidates for the title, as the Gunners now lead Manchester City both in the table and in the Premier League betting markets. But there’s also the pulsating race to finish in the Top 4, with teams like Manchester United, Spurs, Newcastle, Liverpool, and Chelsea all in with a chance. The point is that, while Liverpool and Man City have had the most success in recent years, the Premier League feels more open than other leagues. For example, we knew back at the start of the season that Bayern Munich and PSG would surely triumph in the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 respectively.

The problem, though, as many critics put it, is that the gap seems to be widening, or more aptly, it will widen. At the time of writing (just before the January Transfer Window closes), Premier League clubs has spent close to £0.5 billion on transfers. SPORTbible reported on Twitter that this equated to more than five times that of Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga, and Ligue 1 combined.

Critics point to mountains of debt

So, we might ask, who cares if the Premier League continues to grow as the world’s number one sports “product”? There is a sense that the attention given to the competition drains resources from elsewhere. That may or may not be true. Does the might of the Premier League stop you from going to the New Windmill Ground to watch The Brakes? Perhaps not. However, there are those who maintain that the constant coverage given to the Premier League takes away from the core appeal of grassroots football.

And perhaps most of all, the critics point to an unsustainable model. Deloitte’s Money League is somewhat misleading, as it looks at revenues generated and not overall losses. We see the big signings in the January Transfer Window and assume the clubs are awash with money, but it’s not the full truth. There are some rich owners of Premier League clubs, sure, but there are many clubs that operate with losses. Others, including Chelsea, have been accused of taking advantage of fair play rules. Whether it is through the exodus of rich owners, UEFA hammering clubs for spending, or the tv money taps suddenly being turned off, the division could find itself floating in debt one day. That would be bad for all levels of English football.

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