Cash crunch may see mass exodus of stars from English Premier League

January 9th, 2009 - 6:57 pm ICT by ANI  


London. Jan 9 (ANI): English football fans fear a mass exodus of top football stars amid claims that the Premier League is facing a cash crisis.

Sports experts reckon the worlds best league could lose key sponsor Barclays, as the bank tightens its belt to beat the credit crunch, the Daily Star reported.

Officials would be left with a 70million pounds black hole if the firm decides to pull funding from next year.

And if the league is suddenly plunged into the red, other countries with more cash to spend could take advantage and nab top stars like Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, and John Terry.

The Football Supporters Federation is even warning that several big name clubs could go bust as they struggle to keep up with soaring player wage demands.

It also reveals real fans are being priced out of the game.

Jon Keen, of the FSF, admitted: Its a real possibility some of our stars could leave. If sponsorship dried up for the Premier League then its prize money and payments to all 20 clubs could be cut.

The clubs would then be forced to slash costs on player transfers and their wages. The problem is the Premier Leagues business model is not sustainable. The clubs are relying on rising sponsorships and riding on debt. Chelsea and Man United alone are in debt to the tune of some 1.5billion pounds, Keen added.

Moneymen at Barclays were torn when the firm agreed the current three-year deal at the height of Britains economic boom.

Some reportedly felt a 70million pounds bill when the bank was only spending a meager 5million pounds to promote the fact it sponsors the Premier League was too big a price to pay.

And with only a year-and-a-half left on the deal, and a dire financial outlook, experts reckon Barclays enthusiasm to back the game could completely dry up.

The bank has taken a 1.3billion pounds hit during the credit crunch and bosses are being urged to tighten their belts wherever possible, including major sponsorships.

John Varley, group chief executive, believes the country is only half way through the downturn and is preparing the business for long-haul hardships.

But Barclays was last night playing down concerns over its future sponsorship of the Premier League. (ANI)

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