Salary survey

Scottish clubs pay price on players’ wages

Wages are a challenge for Scotland’s top clubs (pic: SNS Group).

The difficulty facing Scotland’s top football clubs trying to sign new players has been underlined by a survey on wages which shows the Premiership lagging way behind many of its European counterparts.

The average weekly wage in the top flight north of the Border last season was £2,214, contributing to an average wage per season of £115,139.

Compare that to the English Premier League where players earned on average more than £1.2 million per year and the gulf in riches continues to be a real problem for the likes of Rangers boss Steven Gerrard and his Celtic counterpart Ange Postecoglou as they strive to strengthen their squads.

According to the report by olbg, the Premiership, with an annual wage bill of £60m, paid less than League One, the third tier of English football, which paid out nearly £99m to its players per year.

The Greek Super League, the Netherlands’ Eridivisie and Serie B in Italy are among those leagues which spent more on wages than the Premiership.

The report, based on figures published by sports salary database salary sport, featured 30 of the sport’s highest paying leagues, with Scotland’s top division ranking a lowly 23rd in the list.

The Scottish Championship, with an average weekly wage of £600 – total annual wage bill of £9.6m – came in at No. 29, paying less each year than the likes of Thai League One (£11.1m), the Indian Super League (£21m) and Ekstraklasa in Poland (£39m).

“By far the highest-earning league in the world is England’s Premier League, where the average player picks up £1.2 million a year and the league as a whole paid out an incredible £1.8 billion to its players last year,” said the olbg report.

“Premier League teams are owned by some of the richest people in the world and are watched by billions of people in almost every country around the world, so it’s no surprise to see that players who ply their trade here earn the most.

“Another European powerhouse, Italy’s Serie A league, has a number of valuable and glamorous clubs such as AC and Inter Milan but arguably the biggest money-spinner of them all is Juventus.

“The league pays an average annual wage of £619,797 to its players and £1.2 billion in total, but quite a significant amount of that sum is accounted for by Juventus’ star player and one of the most famous footballers in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo.

“As home to perhaps the two biggest football teams in the world, Barcelona and Real Madrid, Spain’s La Liga has some serious financial firepower, paying its players an average of £2m a year and £1.1bn in total.

“While the bulk of La Liga’s highest earners play for these two teams, the league, in general, is strong, with other successful teams such as Atlético Madrid, Sevilla and Villarreal.”

The huge gulf between the wages in Scotland and England reflects the difference in the TV deals negotiated by those at the helm.

The English Premier League’s current television deal is worth £4.7bn, while the Scottish Premiership’s broadcasting contract is valued at just £125m.

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