Top footballers enjoy 1,500% pay growth
Top footballers' salaries increased 1,500 per cent from the formation of the English Premier League in 1992 to 2010, according to a report from the High Pay Centre think tank. Over the same period, average UK wages rose 186 per cent. Players' wages account for up to 70 per cent of a club's turnover, compared with 48 per cent in 1997.
The study also revealed that Premier League clubs accounted in 2010 for 56 per cent of all the debt of 732 top flight clubs in Europe (albeit some of those would be in relatively small leagues). Half of all English League clubs have been insolvent in the last 20 years. Of those clubs promoted from the second tier to the Premier League in the last five years, only Norwich did so while spending less than 100 per cent of their turnover on players' wages.
In a seminar on the report Mr Boyle highlighted the complexity of rewards packages for footballers, an area in which he saw similarities with executive pay. He also argued that spending money on players' wages means that less is available for investment in coaching and developing national talent. For example the ratio of coaches to players in Germany is 1 to every 150 players whereas in England it is 1 to 812.
Defending its product against charges that we are paying more for less the Premier League said that people were 'willing and able to pay for top-quality football and good stadiums', and that stadiums had been more than 90 per centt full over the past 15 consecutive seasons. 'People clearly like what they get,' it added.