Football transfer spending in steep rise

Nacho Monreal celebrates scoring for Arsenal against Swansea
Image caption One of the big January moves was of Nacho Monreal from Malaga to Arsenal

The amount of money spent on football transfers has risen sharply in the past six months, says Fifa, although the number of deals has fallen slightly.

The number of transfers fell by 2% in the first six months of 2013, but their total financial value soared by 39%.

The total income from 5,204 transfers around the globe was $928.8m (£612m).

Fifa's transfer unit said the increase could be down to some economies recovering. The top seller was Brazil and the biggest buyer was England.

The data was revealed by Fifa's Transfer Matching System (TMS) organisation, which uses modern electronic technology with the aim of making international football transfers more transparent and legally compliant.

Free transfers

TMS head Kimberly Morris said sales revenues were "trending up considerably", and had been helped by the improvement in some countries' economic fortunes.

She also said the increase might also be down to clubs becoming more accurate and diligent in the filing of financial information within the TMS system.

Ms Morris, who had been speaking at a World Sports Law Report conference into football player contracts, also said the vast majority of player moves so far this year had been free transfers.

The total of $928.8m income generated in the first half of the year came from just 12% of all transfer deals.

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Media captionErnst and Young's Neil Patey says wealthy clubs are paying a lot of money on fees for big-name players

The figures refer to international transfers and do not cover "domestic" transfers between two clubs in the same country.

With a month-long period to register transfer details in the TMS system, it means the final figure for the first half of the year may increase slightly, as some other moves that took place in June filter through.

Transfer windows

There were a handful of high-profile incoming international deals into English football earlier this year, including Zeki Fryers from Standard Liege to Spurs for £3m, Mathieu Debuchy from Lille to Newcastle United for £5m, Nacho Monreal from Malaga to Arsenal for £10m, and Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan to Liverpool for £8.5m.

Relegated QPR spent a total of £20m on the duo of Loic Remy and Chris Samba, from Marseille and Anzi Makhachkala.

Most of the deals done in the first half of the year take place during the January transfer windows in Europe, and July and August are the two months when most global trading in the second half of the year will take place.

The big five European leagues - England, Germany, France, Italy and Spain - have transfer windows that run from 1 July to 31 August. Scotland has a similar transfer window.

However, despite the ever-growing amounts of TV money that have flowed into the coffers of English Premier League clubs, the biggest names have been keeping their powder dry so far this summer when it comes to making marquee purchases.

The TMS is an online system for registering international transfers and has replaced the old set-up of documents based on paper.

In order for a transfer to be validated, the two clubs involved must enter the relevant information on the deal into the TMS system.

During the whole of 2012 the biggest spenders were English clubs, followed by those in Russia, Turkey, China, and Germany.

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