Cost of summer transfer window revealed at Edinburgh conference

The total spend of international transfers from the summer transfer window has been revealed at a sports law conference in Edinburgh '“ £3.56 billion (4.67bn USD), up 24 per cent from £2.87 billion (3.76bn USD) last year.

PSG strikers Kylian Mbappe (left) and Neymar Jr. The latter broke the transfer record this summer after moving from Barcelona. Picture: Getty

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Kimberly Morris, general manager at Fifa TMS (Transfer matching system), has confirmed the figure, which includes Neymar’s world record £198 million transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, in the city’s Signet Library.

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Neymar’s lawyer, who handed the cheque to Barcelona that triggered the Brazilian striker’s release clause last month, was present at the conference yesterday.

Marcos Motta flew to Edinburgh from Brazil having just over four weeks ago visited the Barcelona club offices to make the payment of€222m for the “unilateral termination” of Neymar’s contract.

Also in the audience were Hearts owner Ann Budge and Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster.

As much as 47 per cent of the £3.56bn figure was accrued from just 50 transfers – including Neymar’s controversial move and also 20 year-old striker Ousmane Dembele’s £98m switch from Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona.

This only includes cross-border transfers. Therefore, the total does not take into account, for example, the £75million paid by Manchester United for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.

Only 1454 of the 7307 international transfers recorded by Fifa around the world this summer involved a transfer fee being paid. Unsurprisingly, English clubs spent the most, followed by those in Spain, France, Germany and Italy.

Highlighting the continued role of ‘intermediaries’ in these transfers, 98 per cent of all commissions were paid by clubs in these big five European leagues. Nearly £58m was paid by England clubs to agents - or intermediaries.

Canadian Morris, who has worked at Fifa TMS since 2012, delivered a talk on integrity issues in player transfers.

“Before TMS, in 2010, it could take weeks to complete a transfer,” she said of the online system, available 24/7 for clubs. “Now a light has been shone on the market.”

A more detailed study of the most recent summer transfer window, which shut in British football last Thursday, will be published online on 12 September at https://www.fifatms.com.

Over 150 delegates attended yesterday’s Edinburgh Sports Conference, which runs until lunchtime today, including officials from Inter Milan, Everton and Manchester United.

Scottish lawyer Alasdair Bell, director of legal affairs at Uefa, started proceedings yesterday morning with a talk on integrity in football, taking in issues such as third party ownership and match fixing.

Andrew McKinlay, the Scottish Football Association lawyer and Manchester United head of legal Patrick Stewart, another Scot, took part in a later discussion on third party investment and club ownership issues.