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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Premier League pays £30 million more in January transfers because of Brexit, report

A study by pro-EU group Best for Britain said the fall in sterling had led to top clubs spending millions more

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cost Arsenal £8.5 million more because of the weak pound, it has been claimed. Patrik Stollarz/ AFP Photo
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cost Arsenal £8.5 million more because of the weak pound, it has been claimed. Patrik Stollarz/ AFP Photo

English Premier League football clubs spent an extra £31.5 million (Dh164m) in this year’s January transfer window because of the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote, a pro-EU group has claimed.

Best for Britain, an anti-Brexit group led by campaigner Gina Miller, said the hike in costs for foreign players will likely be passed on to supporters through increased prices for shirts, tickets and TV subscriptions.

The group calculated that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s transfer from Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal would have cost £8.5m less had the majority of British voters backed the Remain side in the June 2016 referendum on EU membership.

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The value of sterling plunged in the aftermath of the vote and, despite a rise against the dollar at the beginning of the year, has not recovered to the same level it was at before June 2016.

Arsenal and Manchester City together paid nearly £17m more on their winter transfer bill, while Tottenham spent £3.6m more to bolster their squad, claimed Best for Britain.

"The pound has sunk in value thanks to the Government's appalling mishandling of Brexit negotiations – a sign of the damage leaving the EU will do to our football clubs and our economy,” said Jo Stevens, a pro-Remain politician.

"No fan wants to see their club having to pay more for their January signings but that is what has happened.”

Ms Stevens, who is also the Treasurer of the All Party Parliamentary Football group, said the weak pound meant football supporters would not be getting value for money.

"With wages squeezed and inflation increasing, fans paying out for tickets, club merchandise and TV packages want the most value they can for their money – a weaker pound means that just isn't the case.

"This is yet another reminder of the real cost attached to Brexit and how those who already have less, end up paying more."

Premier League club owners have previously spoken out about the effects Brexit will have on its buying and selling of players. Some have asked the government to exempt football players from visa requirements for European players which may be applied after Britain leaves the bloc.

"It's [Brexit] already affecting us because players are more expensive to buy because of the pound," West Ham chairman David Gold said in March.

"The Premier League is the greatest league the world has ever known. It's a fantastic advert for Britain, for England. I know people talk about the wealth that's there, but these guys are on huge salaries and all the tax is going into the exchequer.”

The Premier League declined to comment on Best for Britain’s findings when contacted by The National.

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