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Premier League wages rise, losses fall

Accounts for the 22 Premier League clubs released this week have shown the total wage bill stands at £1.6 billion, a sum that has risen by over 6% year-on-year for the past three seasons, but fewer clubs are now running at a loss.

Since 2009-10, wages have risen by £0.1 billion each season, which - while still a huge proportion of clubs' expenditure - does indicate a level of stability, especially when clubs enjoyed greater revenues from a new TV deal after 2010. Clubs also spent £77 million on agent fees between October 2011 and September 2012.

Overall debt has also fallen over the period, down from £484 million to £205 million, with Manchester City reducing their losses of £197 million in 2011 to £99 million.

The Guardian's 2011-12 report of Premier League clubs' finances shows that 12 of the 20 Premier League clubs are still running at a loss but, considering in 2009-10 there were 16 clubs in the red, there appears to be a gradual move to a more sustainable business model.

Manchester City unsurprisingly have the highest wage bill in the Premier League, paying out £202 million-a-year to their players and staff. Chelsea are the second highest spenders, with a wage bill of £173 million. That is in stark contrast to Swansea City, who spend around £35 million on wages and whose latest accounts showed a profit of £15 million.

Player wages as a proportion of turnover have remainded at just over two thirds, from 68% in 2009-10 to 69% in 2010-11, before dropping to 67% in 2011-12.

With the new TV deal due to start for the 2013-14 season, which sees a 70% rise in revenues from UK broadcasters, clubs have agreed to limit the amount their wage bills can increase over the next three seasons: £4 million in 2013-14, £8 million in 2014-15 and £12 million in 2015-16.

Parachute payments to relegated clubs will also rise sharply from next season.


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