Business

English Premier League spending tumbles

Manchester City's James Milner
Image caption City signed James Milner for £26m from Aston Villa

Spending by Premier League clubs in the summer transfer window has tumbled 22% from last year, a report says.

The 20 clubs in England's top flight spent a total of £350m this summer, down from £450m last year, business analysts Deloitte said.

Big-spending Manchester City made up 36% of that, splashing out some £126m, though it recouped a reported 15m euros (£12m) of that with a last minute transfer of Robinho to AC Milan.

The transfer window closed at 1800 BST.

"In general clubs are more keen to spend money on wages than on transfers," said Paul Rawnsley, director of the sports business group at Deloitte.

Among the many factors weighing on clubs' spending, Mr Rawnsley noted the financial failure of Portsmouth FC, higher income tax rates on players' big pay packets, and a weaker pound making foreign transfers more expensive.

This summer had also seen a number of high-profile players move on free transfers, including Joe Cole from Chelsea to Liverpool and William Gallas from Arsenal to north London rivals Tottenham.

This season also saw the introduction of new rules stating that clubs must register a squad of a maximum of 25 players, including eight "home-grown" players.

A home-grown player must have been registered domestically for at least three years before his 21st birthday, so for example Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas would count as home-grown.

In addition, squads can be supplemented by an unlimited number of players under the age of 21.

The rules were designed to encourage investment in young English or Welsh players, but this does not appear to have been the case, according to the report.

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