UEFA releases insane financial numbers for past three years

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Despite the ridiculous nature of some 2012 financial numbers released by UEFA this morning, many of them are surprisingly unsurprising.

UEFA’s club licensing benchmark report reveals disparity from the top class to the rest of the field, a failure to maintain coaching consistency, and the power of both player and agent presence.

None of those things should shock anyone.

Still, the sheer magnitude of some of the values will no doubt have a bit of a shocking effect.

With the first-ever Financial Fair Play decisions set to be made in a matter of days or weeks, there’s an interesting duality with the release.  UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino (pictured) hit the nail on the head, saying, “This report is unique as it highlights both the tremendous popularity of European club football and the challenges and pressures that this brings.”

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Of the 50 highest wage bills in Europe, 15 were English, 8 were German, 8 were Italian, 6 were Spanish, 6 were Russian, 5 were French, and 2 were Turkish.
  • The highest wage bill in Europe in 2012 was $328 million (€237 million), more than triple the 25th highest.
  • The 728 European teams made over 1,700 coaching changes across a three-year span (2010-2013).
  • Agent costs made up 12.6% of the over $15 billion spent on transfer fees in 2012.
  • Player wages across top European clubs increased 49% from 2007-2012.  England’s increased by 67%.
  • Of $12.7 billion spent on employee wages by top division clubs in Europe in 2012, player wages accounted for $10.1 billion (79.5%)
  • 163 million people attended top-division European matches during the 2012-2013 season.

Infantino said this coming season is a “very important one for the long-term future of club football.” No doubt he’s referring to Financial Fair Play, with rulings set to be made in the coming months.

There are some seriously disturbing numbers in the above list, including but not limited to the coaching changes made. The average European top-division team made 2.3 coaching changes over a 3-year period. That means the average manager lasted about one season during that time period.

It’s no surprise that player wages increased significantly over the last few years, with billionaire owners willing to shell out whatever it takes to secure a player’s signature.  However, when you see that agents pocketed over a billion dollars in transfer fees, things become worrying.  The increased control of the agent in a transfer is certainly a disturbing trend.

Despite loads of red flags in these numbers however, it is clear that the game is expanding globally, with the European game at the forefront.  Growth never comes without problems, and UEFA continues to deal with record-breaking numbers in this department.

You can see the full report here: 2012 UEFA Club Licensing Benchmark Report

LAFC selects Urena, 4 others in MLS Expansion Draft

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Los Angeles FC selected five players in the MLS Expansion Draft, including Costa Rican national team star Marco Urena.

Whether they’ll make their way to the City of Angels is another story.

The first pick from general manager John Thorrington was goalkeeper Tyler Miller from Seattle Sounders.

[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]

Going next was Latif Blessing from Sporting KC, an electric attacker who netted thrice with an assist last season.

Next was Urena from San Jose and the Costa Rican national team, a huge addition, and then Columbus left back Jukka Raitala before closing up the draft with Raheem Edwards from Toronto FC.

LAFC has already announced the signings or acquisitions of Carlos Vela, Walker Zimmerman, Carlos Alvarez, Monday Etim, and Guillermo Vizcarra.

The club will also loan Omar Gaber from Basel and Rodrigo Pacheco from Lanus.

WATCH LIVE: Three Premier League matches

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Chelsea visits the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town in one of three Premier League fixtures this chilly Tuesday in December (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Blues are now 14 points back of Manchester City, and three points clear of fifth place.

Meanwhile there are a pair of matches on NBC Sports Gold: Burnley looks to keep pace with its Top Four ambitions when it hosts struggling Stoke City, while in-form Crystal Palace seeks a home win that would move it out of the drop zone. In its way? Dangerous, attack-minded Watford.

Burnley vs. Stoke City — 2:45 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Crystal Palace vs. Watford — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

FIFA bans Colombia midfielder Cardona 5 games for gesture

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has banned Colombia midfielder Edwin Cardona for five matches for making a discriminatory gesture with his eyes toward a South Korean opponent.

FIFA will allow Cardona to serve the ban in friendly games, so he should be available for Colombia’s World Cup opener against Japan on June 19.

[ MORE: Pep on post-derby celebrations ]

Cardona has also been fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,150) because of the incident last month in a friendly in Seoul.

Cardona apologized at the time, saying he “didn’t mean to disrespect anyone, a country or a race, but if anyone felt offended, or interpreted it in that way, I am sorry.”

Spurs’ Alderweireld won’t return until February

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Spurs finally got a bit of good news this weekend with a blowout of Stoke City.

That was a followed by a tough draw against Juventus in the UEFA Champions League, and bad news on an old injury.

[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]

Center back Toby Alderweireld is going to be gone into February, extending his time on the sidelines with a hamstring injury suffered Nov. 1 against Real Madrid.

Spurs were 6-2-2 in league when Alderweireld went down, and are just 2-2-2 since the injury. The Belgian has missed losses at Arsenal and Leicester, draws against Watford and West Brom, and wins over Crystal Palace and Stoke.

Tottenham did win both of its UCL matches since the injury.