Never before so quiet on the transfer market

Erasmus School of Economics

The transfer market seems to be vast asleep in comparison with the preceding years. How has this come to be? In an article from Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, sports economist at Erasmus School of Economics Thomas Peeters analyses the tranquility.

The five largest soccer countries spent in total some 630 million euros less than last year. In Belgium, there were never so few transfers in January in recent years. Thomas Peeters, sports economist at Erasmus School of Economics, sees an important trend change. ‘Whereas in previous crises soccer was immune, this time there is definitely a major impact.’

Seemingly independent economy

‘Soccer is an economy of its own,' says Peeters. ‘Over the past twenty seasons it has grown by 8 to 9%. Even financial crises had no impact on soccer.’ This is the first time there has been a real impact. ‘But corona is not the only explanation. It feels like a certain ceiling has been reached. There is no longer flexibility in certain media contracts, for example. It remains to be seen whether English clubs can do any better than their current agreements. Meanwhile, clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus are struggling. They have already played out the national markets in terms of TV rights and sponsorship. It is no coincidence that the Super League is now being talked about more than ever. That is one of the last options for scaling up.'

The Belgian transfer market also remained quiet and Belgian clubs have never spent so little. Peeters sees another trend: 'Many clubs are trying to get rid of their surpluses. In a way that is also a consequence of corona. The teams have to save money, so they are trying to get the wage costs down.'

Associate professor
More information

You can read the full article from Het Laatste Nieuws, 2 February 2021, here.

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