Premier League clubs pay record fees to agents: How much has your team spent?
Premier League clubs paid a record £272 million to agents in the past year despite the coronavirus crisis, it has emerged.
The outlay has been branded “obscene”, with fresh calls for payments to intermediaries to be capped.
According to figures released by the Football Association, Chelsea paid agents a record £35.2 million in the past year, with Manchester City (£30.2m), Manchester United (£29.8m), Tottenham Hotspur (£16.5m) and Arsenal (£16.5m) also spending more than ever before.
Liverpool were the only member of the so-called Big Six to cut their payments, although they still shelled out £21.7m.
That is despite Premier League chief executive Richard Masters recently revealing clubs’ losses due to the pandemic were projected to hit £2 billion by the end of the season.
By contrast, spending on intermediaries in the EFL and National League fell in each division.
Clubs in the Championship paid £40.7m (down from £49.2m), in League One £3.1m (from £3.9m), in League Two £1.1m (from £1.2m), and in the National League £271k (from £320k).
Premier League clubs’ total outlay on intermediaries also surpassed the £1bn mark for the first time since the Football Association began publishing the figures, with £1.2 billion having been spent in the last five years.
Clive Efford MP, a member of the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport select committee and former shadow sports minister, said: “The amount of money that goes out of football into the pockets of agents is obscene. It’s even more so at this time of crisis when so many football clubs are facing financial ruin.
“Agents should take a long hard look at the amount of money they’re taking out of football at the moment and ask whether it’s justified at this time.
“I’d certainly want to look at imposing a cap on what can be paid out in agents fees. It can’t be good for football for so much money to go into the pockets of agents when clubs in the EFL are living hand to mouth.”
Mehmet Dalman, chairman of Cardiff City, said: “We had a Big Bang in 1987 in the City of London when regulation came in and stopped the Wild West of stock brokers charging any commission they liked. It is time for the football world to have a Big Bang and look at the regulations surrounding agents fees.”
Meanwhile, the Save Grassroots campaign posted on Twitter: “While many grassroots football clubs/teams struggle to survive £272million is taken out of OUR GAME. Time to put a levy on agent fees.”
Arsenal’s payments to agents rose by almost £3m despite them having announced plans during the same period to make 55 staff redundant because of the financial impact of the pandemic. Arsenal and Spurs were also allowed to borrow £120m and £175m, respectively, of public money via the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility.
Among the other clubs whose payments to agents increased were Newcastle United (£11.3m), Sheffield United (£7.1m), Burnley (£4.5m), promoted Leeds United (£7m) and relegated Norwich City (£6.8m), all of whom controversially made use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Figures published last week revealed the first four of those clubs claimed £575,000 of public money in December alone after furloughing staff. Both Leeds and Newcastle claimed between £100,000 and £250,000, with Burnley applying for between £25,000 and £50,000, and Sheffield United between £10,000 and £25,000.
The Premier League declined to comment but TelegraphSport has been told it is awaiting what changes come from FIFA’s agents fee consultation process.
Premier League club-by-club figures
(Feb 2020-Jan 2021 compared to Feb 2019-Jan 2020)
Twenty-three clubs listed to account for promotion and relegation