• Premier League

Player wages will grow - Woodward

ESPN staff
November 15, 2013
United eyeing Kagawa-Reus swap?

Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward believes the salaries of world-class footballers will continue to grow and grow.

On a day when United are reported to be preparing a £52 million four-year deal for Wayne Rooney, Woodward feels that lesser players will only receive limited increases in their income, because of the effects of Financial Fair Play, but expects the game's elite to carry on getting more and more lucrative contracts.

United's staff costs rose 31% for the first quarter of the 2013-14 financial year, partly reflecting the arrivals of Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa in the summer of 2012, and the improved deals given to other players.

Woodward said: "In terms of player wages we are seeing inflation around it but we are also seeing, particularly within the Premier League, a fall in the acceleration around player wage growth.

"I think [this is] due to Financial Fair Play rules and the rules that have been put in place in the Premier League.

"But when you look at the top end of wages, the top ten teams in Europe or the top players, we are seeing inflation at that end. There is a bit of a mix going on and we will present a blend over that over the next three to five years."

United's revenues rose 29.1 percent to a record 98 million pounds for the first quarter of the financial year and the reigning champions, who are benefiting from a new television rights deal in English football, will probably also see a rise in the turnover in 2015, when the next Champions League broadcasting contracts come into effect.

Once again, that ought to increase the amount of money the very top footballers can command.

Woodward added: "Sport is the 'must-have' content, its value has grown dramatically.

"We are excited by the continuing rise in the value of sports content, evidenced, amongst other things, by the recently announced BT deal for the UK rights to broadcast the Champions League and Europa League matches for three seasons from 2015/16.

"This deal represents a meaningful increase over the current arrangement, which should translate into higher broadcasting revenues for the participating clubs."

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