Written By Onyeka Daniel
The January transfer window is now officially closed and all business over and done with, but the spending of the English Premier League is generating some talking points.
After Chelsea completed the signing of Enzo Fernandez, with the fee involved overtaking the amount spent to sign Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan, the EPL has been accused of transfer doping by their counterparts from Spain.
The EPL spent more than €800 million this winter, with Chelsea alone being responsible for 37 per cent of money spent, amassing a greater total than all clubs in the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1 combined.
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La Liga’s corporate general director, Javier Gomez, in a statement has called for UEFA to take actions, highlighting the difference in spending between LaLiga and EPL: “We are aware there is a lot of talk about how LaLiga’s economic control means Spanish clubs sign less than Premier League clubs,” Gomez said.
“The reality is that at LaLiga we want clubs to spend what they can afford and generate themselves, that is to say their own revenues. It is true that shareholders are also allowed to support the club and put money in to spend more than the club itself can generate, but within certain limits.”
“Essentially, [in England] they are ‘doping’ the club. They are injecting money not generated by the club for it to spend, which puts the viability of the club at risk if the shareholder leaves. In our opinion, that is cheating, because it drags down the rest of the leagues.
That is our fight, demanding that UEFA implements a new economic regulation that prevents the shareholder of a club from putting in more than a certain amount and that it enforces this rule and sanctions non-compliant clubs.” Overall in 2022-23, Premier League sides spent £2.8bn, comfortably surpassing the record of £1.9bn previously set in 2017-18.
While there’s no word from UEFA yet on the issue, they’ve already taken steps to forestall Chelsea type of spending in the future after the Blues took advantage of a loophole in player’s possible contract, by offering them long term deal, thereby spreading the cost of the transfer fee over long periods.
Leicester chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha has cleared the club’s outstanding £194 million debt to parent company King Power International. The club owed the amount In loans to KPI, which is owned by the Srivaddhanaprabha family. Leicester said the move was evidence of “KPI’s commitment to supporting the club’s long-term sustainability”.
“These loans have been provided by KPI to the club over the last four years to fund the construction of the club’s world-class new training ground at Seagrave and to continue to support the club’s investments into its squad and women’s football during the Covid-19 pandemic,” the club said in a statement.
“Their conversion into equity serves to strengthen the club’s balance sheet, reduce its interest costs, and provide further evidence of KPI’s commitment to supporting the club’s long-term sustainability.”
It Is the second time a debt-to-equity transfer has been completed under the Srivaddhanaprabha family’s ownership, with £103 million worth of debt relieved in 2013, and it ensures all existing shareholder investment in the club will not be carried forward as debt.
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