European football clubs continue to ride the effects of the global recession. When the summer transfer window in Europe closed on 31 August, clubs across the continent had spent less on players than they did in 2007. Overall spending by clubs in the English Premier League (EPL) was around £350 million (around Rs1,650 crore now), 22% below 2009 levels, and the lowest since 2007. France, Germany, Italy and Spain were even worse off, their spending dipping by 25-40% compared with 2009. Part of the reason for this restrained spending is European football governing body Union of European Football Associations’ (UEFA’s) new financial rules, which will come into effect from next season. According to these new rules, teams that don’t break even by 2013 will be suspended from UEFA’s Champions League and Europa League competitions.
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, owner of EPL club Manchester City, is clearly not worried about that. The member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family set a £125 million outlay for the club, the highest in the Premier League for the second straight year. That cash got them Inter Milan’s Italian forward Mario Balotelli, Valencia and Spain’s World Cup winning winger David Silva, England and Aston Villa midfielder James Milner, and Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure, among others, in this transfer season.