Premier League paying twice as much as European rivals

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The Premier League spends more than double on wages than the next highest paying European division, while its 70 per cent of overseas players marks a significantly higher proportion than its continental counterparts.

The findings are from UEFA's Club Licensing Benchmarking Report, which relates to the 2015 financial year.

During this period, Premier League clubs spent EUR2.7billion on wages, with an average of EUR134.5million per club.

For the first time on record, due partly to the strength of the British pound in 2015, this is twice as much as the next highest paying league - Italy's Serie A, which spent EUR1.3bn at an average of EUR65.5m for each side.

Germany's Bundesliga paid an average of EUR69.5m per club but comes in below Serie A's overall figure with EUR1.25bn due to it being an 18 rather than 20-team competition. 

Spain's top flight, LaLiga, returned a EUR1.24bn aggregate at an average of EUR61.9m.

Although the Bundesliga is now second in terms of average club wages, it retained one of the lowest wage-to-revenue ratios at 52 per cent. This is only bettered in Europe's top 20 leagues by Sweden's Allsvenskan and Norway's Eliteserien, with figures of 50 and 51 per cent respectively.

The drop off from the big four to France's Ligue 1 - EUR959m spending on wages in total - is marked, with the Russian Premier League sixth overall on EUR563m.

Of the 175 leagues analysed, the Premier League boasts the highest proportion of expatriate players on 69.2 per cent, featuring 65 different nationalities.

Second on the list is Cyprus' top flight with 57.1 per cent while, of the big four, Serie A and the Bundesliga are fifth and ninth, with a respective expatriate percentage of 55.5 and 49.2.

Despite its foremost stars being Argentina's Lionel Messi and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, LaLiga's strong presence of homegrown players means it does not make the top 10.

According to UEFA, 82 per cent of football's global talent in terms of market value is located in Europe, with 48 per cent in England, Germany, Italy and Spain.

UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules appear to have had a significant impact, with aggregate operating profits in European leagues up to EUR1.5bn from EUR700m in 2011 - two years before the regulations were introduced. Aggregate losses have dropped by 81 per cent, from EUR1.7bn to just over EUR300m, during the same period.

In his foreword to the report, which also stated revenues in European top divisions have now increased for 20 consecutive years to reach almost EUR17bn, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: "The success story of football as a cultural and commercial force stands out once more. It shows that UEFA's regulatory role in Financial Fair Play has not only steadied the ship of European finance, but also provided the framework for unprecedented growth, investment and profitability."