LONDON: Footballers with English Premier League club Manchester City are the most highly-paid athletes in global sport, according to a study published yesterday.
The study, carried out by Britain’s Sporting Intelligence website, found that the average annual salary of a first-team player at City was £5.3m($8.9 m, 6.4m euros).
City top the list ahead of Major League Baseball teams the New York Yankees and the LA Dodgers, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Chelsea also featuring in the top 10.
NBA teams the Brooklyn Nets and the Chicago Bulls complete the line-up.
City’s lavish spending on players has not been without complications, however.
Reports in the British media suggest that City are due to face punishment for contravening European governing body UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, which oblige clubs not to spend beyond their means.
UEFA yesterday investigated the accounts of top European clubs to see if they complied with financial fair play rules, but declined to comment on reports that Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain both faced punishment.
A UEFA spokesman told AFP that “several clubs” had been spotlighted during a session of the European governing organisation’s Club Financial Control Body.
The control body was created to insure UEFA regulations barring clubs spending beyond their means were respected, in a bid to prevent them gaining an unfair advantage over their competitors.
On Tuesday, British media reported that both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain risked hefty fines for failing to comply with the rules.
But UEFA declined to comment, saying it “does not provide any details about clubs’ ongoing investigations as part of the monitoring process nor will it comment on correspondence between the Club Financial Control Body and clubs”.
“UEFA will only communicate once decisions have been taken by the CFCB Investigatory Chamber, which we anticipate will happen at the beginning of May,” it said.
A central tenet of financial fair play is that clubs are forbidden from making losses of more than 45m euros ($62.1m) during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, with exceptions for certain forms of expenditure.
Each bankrolled by mega-rich owners from the Middle East, City and PSG both spent heavily on new players during that period.
City’s outlay helped them to win the Premier League title in 2012, while PSG claimed the Ligue 1 crown the following season.
Clubs found guilty of contravening FFP regulations could face punishments including exclusion from the Champions League or being stripped of titles.
But British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, which did not cite any sources, said that City and PSG were more likely to be hit with a financial penalty.
The paper said that “fewer than 20” clubs were at risk of sanctions.Agencies