• Premier League

Premier League clubs paid £1.8 billion in wages

ESPN staff
May 3, 2014
Wenger calls for level financial playing field

Premier League clubs made a loss of £291 million while paying their players and staff record wages of £1.8 billion in the 2012-13 season, a study in the Guardian has shown.

Clubs spent two-thirds of their turnover on salaries as they increased by 11% in a sign of football's propensity to give above-inflation rises to players.

The Guardian's review of the Premier League's annual accounts showed five clubs made a loss of at least £50m - Aston Villa, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and relegated Queens Park Rangers - and seven others made smaller losses.

QPR, who finished bottom of the league, recorded the biggest loss - of £65m - and had a wage bill, of £78m, that was substantially bigger than their £61m turnover.

City had the highest wage bill, of £233m, which was £31m higher than in their title-winning campaign of 2011-12, and the third biggest turnover, of £271m.

Manchester United had the biggest turnover, of £363m, but wages only accounted for 50% of that. United had the division's biggest debt, of £389m, incurred by the Glazer family's takeover in 2005.

Chelsea had the third highest wage bill (£179m) and the fourth highest turnover (£260m) and lost £56m, second only to QPR.

Of the leading clubs, Arsenal's balance sheet looks the healthiest with turnover of £283m, the second most, and a wage bill of only £154m. They had a profit of £7m.

Everton, who had the 10th highest wage bill and came sixth in their final season under David Moyes, punched above their financial weight and recorded a £2m. West Bromwich Albion, who finished eighth with the sixth smallest wage bill, also flourished and ended the year in the black.

The biggest profit was recorded by Swansea, who made £21m while finishing ninth and winning the League Cup with the fourth lowest wage bill in the division.

Villa, who had the eighth biggest wage bill but were nearly relegated and recorded a £52m loss, were one of the underachievers.

Wigan had the lowest wage bill in the division, of £44m. They were relegated but won the FA Cup.

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