Five questions answered on the cost of the premier league transfer list

Football is big business

Football clubs are often criticised for their extravagant spending on the ‘beautiful game’, and as another Premier League transfer deadline passes it’s been revealed clubs spent twice as much on players this year than last. We answer five questions on the cost of this year’s Premier League transfer list.

How much money has been spent during the course of this year’s transfer window?

After closing at 11pm yesterday about a £120 million had been spent, with £35 million of that frantically spent transfer deadline day.

Net spend this year, which includes money recouped on player sales, was £70m.

How does this compare to previous years?

Well, it’s double what was spent last year, £60 million, but a drop in the ocean compared to what was spent in 2011, which was a record £225m.

Who were the biggest spenders this year?

The biggest spenders were Liverpool, QPR and Newcastle, the three combined contributing to 50% of the January total.

On average the biggest spenders are Chelsea who has spent £12.3m on average since the transfer window tradition started 10 years ago, QPR £11m, Man City £10.9m, Tottenham £9.1m, Liverpool £8.1m and West Ham £5.71m.

Chelsea holds the record for the most ever spent in a transfer window when it dished out £75 million in 2011.

Who were the most expensive players this year?

Mario Balotelli, who went from Manchester City to Milan for £17m, plus £5m add-ons, followed by Christopher Samba from Anzhi Makhachkala to QPR  for £12.5m.

What have the experts said about this year’s transfer spend?

Dan Jones, partner in the sports business group at Deloitte told the BBC:

Clubs have been relatively restrained in their player transfer-fee spending, in spite of the upcoming uplift in their broadcasting revenues.
Clubs are now in a reporting period that will count towards the first assessment of Uefa's financial fair play break-even requirement for international competition, and Premier League clubs are also considering the implementation of additional cost-control regulation at a domestic level.

Harry Redknapp was quoted earlier in the week saying about the transfer process:

There's not that many deals happening. If someone can muscle in on a deal… it's a bit like ice cream sellers when someone has nicked their pitch… in Glasgow! Someone's going to shoot them or something!

Adding:

This transfer window, I have never seen anything like it. Every agent seems to be trying to screw one another. It's like gang warfare out there – it's scary. If you're trying to get a player another agent will try to scupper that deal if he's not involved in it, to try to get you to have one of his. It's unreal, unbelievable. They're all fighting for big money – that's the problem.

 

Photograph: Getty Images

Heidi Vella is a features writer for Nridigital.com

Photo: Getty
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The Prevent strategy needs a rethink, not a rebrand

A bad policy by any other name is still a bad policy.

Yesterday the Home Affairs Select Committee published its report on radicalization in the UK. While the focus of the coverage has been on its claim that social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are “consciously failing” to combat the promotion of terrorism and extremism, it also reported on Prevent. The report rightly engages with criticism of Prevent, acknowledging how it has affected the Muslim community and calling for it to become more transparent:

“The concerns about Prevent amongst the communities most affected by it must be addressed. Otherwise it will continue to be viewed with suspicion by many, and by some as “toxic”… The government must be more transparent about what it is doing on the Prevent strategy, including by publicising its engagement activities, and providing updates on outcomes, through an easily accessible online portal.”

While this acknowledgement is good news, it is hard to see how real change will occur. As I have written previously, as Prevent has become more entrenched in British society, it has also become more secretive. For example, in August 2013, I lodged FOI requests to designated Prevent priority areas, asking for the most up-to-date Prevent funding information, including what projects received funding and details of any project engaging specifically with far-right extremism. I lodged almost identical requests between 2008 and 2009, all of which were successful. All but one of the 2013 requests were denied.

This denial is significant. Before the 2011 review, the Prevent strategy distributed money to help local authorities fight violent extremism and in doing so identified priority areas based solely on demographics. Any local authority with a Muslim population of at least five per cent was automatically given Prevent funding. The 2011 review pledged to end this. It further promised to expand Prevent to include far-right extremism and stop its use in community cohesion projects. Through these FOI requests I was trying to find out whether or not the 2011 pledges had been met. But with the blanket denial of information, I was left in the dark.

It is telling that the report’s concerns with Prevent are not new and have in fact been highlighted in several reports by the same Home Affairs Select Committee, as well as numerous reports by NGOs. But nothing has changed. In fact, the only change proposed by the report is to give Prevent a new name: Engage. But the problem was never the name. Prevent relies on the premise that terrorism and extremism are inherently connected with Islam, and until this is changed, it will continue to be at best counter-productive, and at worst, deeply discriminatory.

In his evidence to the committee, David Anderson, the independent ombudsman of terrorism legislation, has called for an independent review of the Prevent strategy. This would be a start. However, more is required. What is needed is a radical new approach to counter-terrorism and counter-extremism, one that targets all forms of extremism and that does not stigmatise or stereotype those affected.

Such an approach has been pioneered in the Danish town of Aarhus. Faced with increased numbers of youngsters leaving Aarhus for Syria, police officers made it clear that those who had travelled to Syria were welcome to come home, where they would receive help with going back to school, finding a place to live and whatever else was necessary for them to find their way back to Danish society.  Known as the ‘Aarhus model’, this approach focuses on inclusion, mentorship and non-criminalisation. It is the opposite of Prevent, which has from its very start framed British Muslims as a particularly deviant suspect community.

We need to change the narrative of counter-terrorism in the UK, but a narrative is not changed by a new title. Just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, a bad policy by any other name is still a bad policy. While the Home Affairs Select Committee concern about Prevent is welcomed, real action is needed. This will involve actually engaging with the Muslim community, listening to their concerns and not dismissing them as misunderstandings. It will require serious investigation of the damages caused by new Prevent statutory duty, something which the report does acknowledge as a concern.  Finally, real action on Prevent in particular, but extremism in general, will require developing a wide-ranging counter-extremism strategy that directly engages with far-right extremism. This has been notably absent from today’s report, even though far-right extremism is on the rise. After all, far-right extremists make up half of all counter-radicalization referrals in Yorkshire, and 30 per cent of the caseload in the east Midlands.

It will also require changing the way we think about those who are radicalized. The Aarhus model proves that such a change is possible. Radicalization is indeed a real problem, one imagines it will be even more so considering the country’s flagship counter-radicalization strategy remains problematic and ineffective. In the end, Prevent may be renamed a thousand times, but unless real effort is put in actually changing the strategy, it will remain toxic. 

Dr Maria Norris works at London School of Economics and Political Science. She tweets as @MariaWNorris.