Soccer Head Platini Says 29 Percent Drop in Player Trading Is `Good' News

Soccer clubs in Europe’s five biggest leagues slashed spending on player trades by 29 percent to 1.32 billion euros ($1.68 billion) in the offseason amid an economic decline, according to a report.

Clubs cut their squads by 546 players overall to reduce costs while investment on foreign talent also declined because of a tax hike in Spain and a rule in England requiring eight of 25 squad members to have played for the youth team, Barcelona- based marketing company Prime Time Sport’s study found.

Spending plummeted by 45 percent in Spain’s La Liga and by 43 percent in Ligue 1 of France, the report found, adding it fell by 15 percent in the English Premier League, soccer’s richest by revenue. A decline in fees is good news, according to Michel Platini, president of European soccer ruling body UEFA. UEFA plans to control club finances by barring money-losing teams from the Champions League from 2015.

“It’s good they are spending less money,” Platini said in an interview in Geneva. “If they spend more money they would” become bankrupt, he added.

UEFA is trying “not to kill clubs but to protect them,” Platini said.

England’s Portsmouth and Spain’s Real Mallorca are among first-division European clubs that have entered administration, a form of bankruptcy, this year. Spending on trades fell 32 percent in Germany’s Bundesliga and 18 percent in Italy’s Serie A, the report said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Duff in Madrid aduff4@bloomberg.net Tariq Panja in London at tpanja@bloomberg.net.

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