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English football has a £379m transfer deficit, report says

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas Image copyright Jamie McDonald
Image caption Chelsea paid £27m to bring Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas to the London club

England has the biggest trade deficit in the world football transfer market, according to a report from Barclays.

After a record summer of spending, English clubs had a combined deficit of £379m.

English clubs spent £579m on players from overseas, with £200m of talent going from England to clubs abroad.

But the deficit is more than covered by money from overseas television and foreign sponsorship rights, said Barclays.

This amounted to over £1bn a year, according to the report, Barclays Football Balance of Trade.

Chris Lee, head of professional sports banking at Barclays, said: "While English football has run up the biggest trade deficit in world football transfers, the overall income it generates far outstrips the cost of importing players from overseas.

"Matches from England's premier league are beamed to around 211 countries across the globe, and overseas corporates want to be part of what is regarded by many as the best football league in the world," he said.

The report said that television rights to countries outside England were more than £744m a year, and sponsorships from overseas businesses will contribute more than £343m in the 2014/15 season.

However, the report says that the sponsorship total could be much more, as some amounts are not disclosed.

Spain was England's biggest football trading partner in the summer transfer window, and Spain continues to hold the largest share of the global export market at 35%

France moved from being one of the biggest net importers of football talent in the summer 2013/14 transfer window, spending £247m, to being the third biggest exporter in 2014/15, leaving it with a budget surplus of £86.6m for the 2014/15 summer.

Despite winning the football World Cup in the summer, the German Bundesliga had not seen a demand for players that can match their own import levels. The Bundesliga had the second highest football trade deficit globally for the 2014/15 summer transfer window.

In contrast Argentina, beaten by Germany in the final, had a surplus of £26.9m, ranking the country third overall for net transfer income in the 2014/15 summer window.

Brazil has also enjoyed a surplus from foreign trade so far this year at £19.9m although far lower than its 2013/14 summer transfer window surplus of £161.2m.

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