European football crushed by the financial power of English clubs

The Manchester City team, including Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, in London on February 15, 2023.

Will the British government whistle the end of the match? Thursday, February 23, after years of procrastination, he will publish a “white paper” which should, in principle, suggest the creation of an English football regulator. After three decades of hyperinflation of expenditure, it is a question of putting some order in the financing of the clubs.

The year 2023 began with an avalanche of billions in the world of English football. On Friday February 17, two offers were officially submitted for the takeover of Manchester United, after its owners, the American Glazer family, decided to put it up for sale.

One comes from a British billionaire, Jim Ratcliffe, who made his fortune in petrochemicals at the head of Ineos and also owns OGC Nice. The other comes from Qatar, in the person of Sheikh Jassim Hamad Al Thani, a member of the royal family, president of one of the Qatari banks, QIB. Officially, because UEFA prohibits meetings in the Champions League between two clubs with the same owner, it is not the same shareholder as that of PSG, in this case Qatar Sports Investments. Manchester United price, fourth budget in European football? Around 6 billion euros, according to British media, although no official figure has been confirmed.

Read also: Football: a Qatari consortium ready to take over Manchester United

Separately, Tottenham Hotspur, the ninth-biggest budget in European football, have received an unsolicited offer. The American businessman Jahm Najafi, emigrated from Iran at the age of 12, who has built an empire present in formula 1, extreme sports, and Portuguese, Spanish, Belgian and German football, offers 3 .5 billion euros, according to the FinancialTimes. What visibly annoy the president of the London club, Daniel Levy: “We are in a league that sees more and more money from sovereign wealth funds and financial consortiums; a league where purchasing power is in the hands of a few who dominate the market and have the ability to manipulate it. »

We must add the acquisition, in 2022, of Chelsea for 2.8 billion euros (and 2 billion euros in investment promises) by a consortium led by the American financier Todd Boehly. A few months earlier, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia had acquired Newcastle United.

“The British market is boosted”

What a transformation for English football! In 1992, when the Premier League was created, the era of hooligans was not far away, standing room in the stands still existed and the best footballers left for Italy. Three decades later, English football is financially overwhelming the rest of Europe. “There is a permanent increase: millionaires have been replaced by multi-millionaires, who have been replaced by billionaires, themselves replaced by multi-billionaires”underlines Kieran Maguire, specialist in the economy of football at the university of Liverpool.

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