Holland sale proof of bargains

The sale of Matt Holland to Charlton for £750,000 has been highlighted in a report by the Football League as proof that the Premier League are getting bargains while clubs in the lower divisions are being severely penalised due to the transfer window.

By Derek Davis

Chief Football Writer

The sale of Matt Holland to Charlton for £750,000 has been highlighted in a report by the Football League as proof that the Premier League are getting bargains while clubs in the lower divisions are being severely penalised due to the transfer window.

Research shows that lower division clubs' income from selling players to the Premiership has dropped dramatically from £55.2m in 1999-2000 to just £39.2m last year, a dip of 36 per cent in three years.


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The difference in value of players sold from one Football League team to another has plummeted from £25.8m in 2001-2002 to £3.3m last season, while transactions within the Premier League involved £52.5m last season compared to an £80m average from 1997-2002.

And the total amount spent by all 92 clubs buying from anywhere dropped almost 50 per cent last season when £90.4m was spent compared to the 1997-2002 average of £169.5m.

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The loss of traditional income for the Division One, Two and Three clubs is a direct consequence of the FIFA- imposed transfer window to the Premier League when clubs can only sell from the end of the season until up to August 31 and again for one month in January.

League chairman Sir Brian Mawhinney has backed calls from club chairmen, including Ipswich Town's David Sheepshanks, that FIFA should only restrict transfers for players switching countries, as the EC had originally directed, and not moving domestically.

The league claims the sale of Matt Holland (right) for a cut-price £750,000, when Aston Villa had offered £4m a year earlier, and Malcolm Christie's £3m switch to Middlesbrough, when he had been valued three times higher the season before, offers proof that lower division clubs are losing out.

Another football analyst, John Moore of stockbrokers Lawrie White, claims the Premier League is not exploiting the 72 clubs and that the Football league misery is '100 per cent self-induced' and that a drop in transfer valuations world-wide mean they can buy in players cheaper from abroad.

He points to Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer who were recently valued at £30m but went for a total of £10.1m.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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