Premier League clubs made a loss of 291 million pounds ($491 million) while paying their players and staff record wages of 1.8 billion pounds ($3 billion) in the 2012-13 season, a study in the Guardian has shown.
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Clubs spent two-thirds of their turnover on salaries as they increased by 11 percent in a sign of football's propensity to give above-inflation rises to players.
The Guardian's review of the Premier League's annual accounts showed five clubs made a loss of at least 50 million pounds -- Aston Villa, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and relegated Queens Park Rangers -- and seven others made smaller losses.
QPR, who finished bottom of the league, recorded the biggest loss -- of 65 million pounds -- and had a wage bill, of 78 million pounds, that was substantially bigger than their 61 million-pound turnover.
City had the highest wage bill, of 233 million pounds, which was 31 million pounds higher than in their title-winning campaign of 2011-12, and the third biggest turnover, of 271 million pounds.
Manchester United had the biggest turnover, of 363 million, but wages only accounted for 50 percent of that. United had the division's biggest debt, of 389 million, incurred by the Glazer family's takeover in 2005.
Chelsea had the third highest wage bill (179 million pounds) and the fourth highest turnover (260 million pounds) and lost 56 million, second only to QPR.
Of the leading clubs, Arsenal's balance sheet looks the healthiest with turnover of 283 million, the second most, and a wage bill of only 154 million. They had a profit of seven million pounds.
Everton, who had the 10th highest wage bill and came sixth in their final season under David Moyes, punched above their financial weight and recorded a two million-pound profit. West Bromwich Albion, who finished eighth with the sixth smallest wage bill, also flourished and ended the year in the black.
The biggest profit was recorded by Swansea, who made 21 million pounds while finishing ninth and winning the Capital One Cup with the fourth lowest wage bill in the division.
Villa, who had the eighth biggest wage bill but were nearly relegated and recorded a 52 million-pound loss, were one of the underachievers.
Wigan had the lowest wage bill in the division, of 44 million pounds. They were relegated but won the FA Cup.
Southampton's executive chairman Nicola Cortese was the best-paid director, taking home 2.129 million pounds.