International soccer clubs spent a record high of $4.18 billion in player transfers in 2015, according to world soccer’s premier governing body FIFA. With television and sponsorship money rocketing, the number of players transferred from one club to another was up to an all time high, according to FIFA's Global Transfer Market report, which monitored 6,500 clubs around the world.
England, home to the Premier League, was responsible for more than 30 percent of the total outlay, the statement released Thursday showed.
The reports showed that 13,558 transfers took place last year, of which only 13.7 percent had a fee involved. Transfer fees have ballooned in the past few years, with the amount spent on player transfers rising by 44 percent since 2011.
In discussing the transfer market, FIFA chief of transfer compliance Mark Goddard gave credit for the data to Football Leaks, a controversial website that published confidential financial details of player trades.
“"Obviously, the Football Leaks guys have gone rogue," Goddard said. "For us, all streams of information are very, very useful and that one has been as well,” Goddard said.
The report also showed salary data for the first time. Soccer players received $6.6 billion in wages as part of transfer deals in 2015. As domestic transfers are not overseen by FIFA, Godard estimated that the total transfer market could be worth more than the $4.2 billion reported.
The FIFA transfer market report also called on the teams around the world to provide greater clarity in how they operate in the transfer market. Spain’s three biggest clubs — Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid — have all been hit with transfer bans by FIFA in 2015 after they breached regulations related to signing foreign players under 18.
"It would be really good if we could have a verifiable transparent credible source as opposed to back pages of football magazines and soccer leak websites and these kind of things,” Goddard said, according to Bloomberg.