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"If you want some accessible but informative insight into football then I suggest you couldn't do better than the Political Economy of Football website, which is not only intelligible but comes with the added bonus of being written by Addicks fan Wyn Grant."
Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

The Premiership

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Chinese interest in Palace

Crystal Palace could be the latest club to fall into Chinese ownership.   There has been interest from Double Edged Sports (Desports), a Chinese marketing company that wants to acquire another football club after purchasing La Liga's Granada last year.

Value for money for Premier League clubs

A study by Sky looks at the value for money obtained by Premier League clubs in terms of their points total compared with transfer fees paid out.  

West Bromwich Albion come out on top with a cost of £1.47m per point compared with Manchester United at the other end of the scale with just under £8m per point.  They are closely followed by Manchester City on £7.8m.

The rush to China

Barcelona is the latest European football club to invest in China on the back of President Xi Jinping's plans for a football revolution.  They have opened a €4m complex featuring a football school, Barcelona shop and fan zone on the island of Hainan.  They believe that revenues from China will be critical to Barcelona's target of generating €1bn of revenue by 2021, up from €679m in the 2015/16 season.

Tax raids on Premiership clubs

The relationship between the tax authorites and football has been a difficult one in recent years.   There was the controversy over payments for players 'image rights' while the tendency of clubs in financial difficulties to use their tax payments as a de facto credit card also gave rise to resentments.  

In recent years HMRC has collected more than £80m in additional tax payments from clubs, players and agents following probes into 'image rights' payments through which parties to a transfer can make large tax savings.

Football and gambling

Views can differ about the harshness of the punishment on Joey Barton for breaking betting rules for players which effectively sent him into early retirement.   However, a bigger issue is the whole relationship between football and the betting industry.

Half of Premier League clubs have gambling firms as shirt sponsors and most of them have gambling partners.

Premier League clubs slump into loss

Premier League clubs have made a combined loss for the first time in three years.   Clubs in the Premier League posted combined revenues of £3.6bn for the 2015-16 season, a 9 per cent rise from the previous year, according to Deloitte. 

However, spending on players has outpaced revenue growth.   Wages increased 12 per cent to £2,3bn which along with other costs, such as splashing out on transfer fees, helped to push clubs into a combined pre-tax loss of £110m.

Record loss for Premier League

The fall in the value of the pound after the Brexit referendum has hit the Premier League hard.   A pre-tax loss of £312m is expected to be announced this week.

For many years the TV contracts that have fuelled the league's boom have been paid in sterling, dollars and euros with the company paying the league clubs in sterling and using derivatives to manage the exchange rate risk.    However, the accounting rules for reporting derivatives have changed.

Arsenal could go in the red

It is now looking increasingly unlikely that Arsenal will qualify for the Champions League.   This could lead to a drop in income of £30m and mean that Arsenal make a financial loss for the first time since they moved to the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal would stand to earn about £17m from the Europa League instead of £45m from the Champions League.  They have made profits of less than £20m in four of the last five years and the loss of Champions League money could tip the balance.

Big spenders on agents

Manchester City and Chelsea spent the most money on agents in the last two transfer windows as Premier League clubs parted with £174m.   Manchester City spent £26.3m, Chelsea £25.1m, Manchester United £19m, Liverpool £13.8m and Arsenal £10.2m.

The three promoted clubs spent the least (£1.9m to £2.6m), while West Bromwich Albion were the next most parsimonious at £4.2m.

Champions League penalties for players

Arsenal players will lose out on bonuses worth about £5m if they fail to qualify for the Champions League. The club pays out £200,000 per player if it reaches the group stage, although that is not evenly split.  The competition was worth about £46m in payments from Uefa last season, while the club also made money from matchday income.