Revenue made by English football clubs tops $4.64 billion as the Premier League contributes $3.71 billion

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“She’s got an indiscreet voice,” I remarked.

“It’s full of -” I hesitated.

“Her voice is full of money,” he said suddenly.

When I think of the Premier League the above quote from ‘The Great Gatsby’ frequently pops into my head.

The league, while incredibly compelling for so many reasons, is ultimately all about money. Every time I find myself getting wound up about the game I inevitably come back to that earth-shattering realization – it’s not a game, it’s just a business.

And man, business is BOOMING.

Today it was revealed that the combined annual revenue of the 92 clubs in England’s top four divisions has eclipsed £3 billion ($4.64b) – that’s ‘b’, as is business – for the first time ever. The numbers come virtue of Deloitte’s most recent finance review from 2011-12 that shows revenue from the Premier League’s 20 clubs increased 4% to almost £2.4 billion ($3.71b), capping yet another astounding year of commercial growth.

By means of comparison, these number dwarf those of the Bundesliga (£1.58 billion ($2.44b)), La Liga (£1.4 billion ($2.16b)) and Serie A (£1.3 billion ($2.01b)). Signs did, however, indicate that the Bundesliga is fast catching up where operating profits were £161 million ($248.84m) while in the Premier League they were £98 million ($151.47m), up from £25 million ($38.64m).

Adding further intrigue to the economic efficiency of German football (or, the inefficiency of the Premier League) is that the revenue-to-wages ratio average in the Bundesliga fell to 51%, while the Premier League’s ratio hovered at 70%. Of course, in a league where clubs like Manchester City are permitted to run riot spending more than £200 million ($309.12m) on players’ salaries, this can hardly come as a shock.

Dan Jones, a senior partner at Deloitte, spoke of the Premier League’s huge boom in revenue:

The £3bn is a big stat. Likewise is the growth in the Championship itself – sometimes the Championship gets overshadowed by the Premier League. The reality is they’re both great successes. It’s just the Premier League is the bigger success.

The Championship performance is extremely strong again. It’s the biggest second-tier league in Europe by a street. No one else has a second-tier league that comes anywhere close. People are pushing very hard to get in the Premier League. What is imperative is that clubs do that in a way that is sustainable. The Football League is bringing in its financial fair play rules precisely to address that.

The Deloitte report does not cover the most recent season. With the significantly larger amount of TV broadcast revenue (£5 billion spread over three seasons) that will be coming the way of Premier League clubs beginning in 2013-14, Jones believes that while there is some uncertainty as to how team’s will react, player wages could begin to skyrocket.

The big test will be what happens to the new TV money, how much of that finds its way into the wage bill. It will also be interesting to see how the new financial regulations will affect clubs’ behavior.

Once the new TV deal kicks in I think you’ll find the total spent on players will be up at a record level. There’s no intrinsic problem with that but it’s all about spending being balanced and not being excessive to the point that it endangers the club.

How seriously the Premier League is taking phrases like “spending being balanced” and “not being excessive” will be key to the league’s continued development. While higher player wages should make England an even more desirable destination for the world’s most sought-after footballers, league officials must be concerned over whether such staggering growth is sustainable.

Regardless, it’s remarkable how far England has come since the installation of the Premier League in 1992.

What do you think?

Is this all good news or is the Premier League’s voice a bit too full of money?

Francesco Totti on bench for final Roma match

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Sunday marks Francesco Totti’s final match with Roma after a stellar 24-year career, but the striker won’t be starting at the Stadio Olimpico.

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The 40-year-old was named to the bench for his club’s 2016/17 Serie A finale against Cagliari, with Roma needing a victory to capture second position in Italy’s top flight.

Napoli currently sits just one point behind the Giallorossi and hold a slight two-goal edge in goal differential, which could be a decisive factor in which side finishes second.

It would be quite odd for Roma to not give Totti playing time in his final outing, after a career that featured over 300 goals across all competitions for his hometown club.

Transfer rumor roundup: PL clubs losing ground for Dembele and more

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With all the major leagues across Europe either closing or already have finished it’s the season of transfer rumors once again.

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Here are several of the juiciest pieces from Sunday:

Three London sides could potentially miss out on Celtic star Moussa Dembele as AC Milan has emerged as a favorite to sign the top-rated Frenchman. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have all expressed great interest in the promising attacker, who scored 17 goals this season for the Scottish champions.

After struggling at times this season to keep goals out, Liverpool could turn to France as a potential outlet to fix the cracks in their back line. AS Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy already has significant PL interest from Manchester United and Manchester City, but Jurgen Klopp‘s side could also put up a fight.

West Ham is looking to bolster its attack this summer, and with Pep Guardiola likely making significant changes at the Etihad Stadium, Kelechi Iheanacho could be on his way to the Hammers ahead of the 2017/18 PL season.

Manchester City higher ups are keen on having Guardiola bring back goalkeeper Joe Hart from Torino this summer. Hart spent last season on loan with the Italian club after Guardiola sent him away from England early in his managing tenure at the club.

Luis Enrique leaves with feeling of mission accomplished

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MADRID (AP) Luis Enrique leaves Barcelona with no regrets and the feeling of mission accomplished.

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The coach capped his three-year stint with the Catalan club by winning the Copa del Rey title with a 3-1 win over Alaves on Saturday.

Now it’s time to enjoy some much-needed time off after three “intense” seasons, and let the club move on under fresh leadership.

“There is no sadness at all, just happiness,” Luis Enrique said. “I’m the one who decided to stop, and I think that it was a wonderful decision for me, for the players and for the team as well. The intensity of this profession demands maximum dedication every single day and there is a natural wear out.”

He said players always need new challenges and will benefit from a change in leadership, and the club will certainly keep winning despite his departure.

After missing out on the league this season, the Copa del Rey was Barcelona’s second title of the campaign to go along with the Spanish Super Cup, but Luis Enrique has won nearly everything since replacing Gerard Martino in 2014. The former midfielder led Barcelona to the treble of the Spanish league, Copa del Rey and Champions League in 2015. He also managed the league-Copa double in 2016, and also won the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup in 2015.

He said he was “proud” to have helped Barcelona fans celebrate so many accomplishments during his time at the helm.

“If someone had told me when I arrived that I would have the opportunity to help my team win nine titles out of 13 that we played, I’d say that these would be good numbers,” he said. “It would have been nice to have won La Liga and contended for the Champions League title this season, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I believe that the fans recognized the effort and the sacrifice of all the players throughout the season. I have enjoyed the opportunity to make them happy.”

Luis Enrique said he was also lucky to have had the chance to coach a player like Lionel Messi.

“He is extraordinary, extraterrestrial,” Luis Enrique said about the Argentina forward, who scored the team’s first goal on Saturday. “I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy Messi at his best, performing at the highest level. He is the very best, without a doubt.”

Neymar and Paco Alcacer also scored at the Vicente Calderon Stadium to help Barcelona win its third straight Copa del Rey title, and 29th all-time.

Luis Enrique celebrated with his seven-year-old daughter by his side, waving his winner’s trophy and singing the club’s anthem in front of the Barcelona fans who traveled to Madrid.

Barcelona is expected to announce this week that its new coach will be Ernesto Valverde, who left Athletic Bilbao a few days ago.

Luis Enrique’s future remains up in the air.

“I don’t know what I’ll be doing, really. I’m open to every possibility, including changing sports,” the 47-year-old Luis Enrique said, with a smile on his face. “I do know that I’m very competitive and it’s been like this since I was born. Right now I’m looking forward to the opportunity of enjoying my friends and my family.”

Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

Report: Reus could miss six months after sustaining knee damage

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Marco Reus missed much of the 2016/17 season with injuries, and the Borussia Dortmund attacker had that unfortunate spell continue on Saturday.

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The 27-year-old exited the club’s DFB Pokal final win against Eintracht Frankfurt at halftime after suffering a knee injury.

According to German outlet Bild, Reus will miss at least six months as he rehabs and prepares to make a comeback.

Despite the bad news for Dortmund, Thomas Tuchel’s men captured the title behind goals from Ousmane Dembélé and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.