The Premier League contributed a total of £3.3 billion in tax to the Treasury in 2016-17.
Premier League players themselves paid £1.1 billion of this, according to a report from accountancy firm EY. In total, the Premier League contributed £7.6 billion to the UK economy in 2016-17.
The tax take in 2016-17 increased by 50% since 2013-14 when the last calculation was made.
The league accounts for 100,000 full-time jobs across England, with the vast majority of these (87,000) held in the supply chain of the clubs, both indirectly and directly.
Mark Gregory, EY’s Chief Economist says: “The Premier League is a globally recognised brand, built upon high-quality football. The league’s global success feeds into its capacity to generate economic and social returns within the UK.
“GVA impact [ the value of goods and services created] from the clubs has grown from £0.7 billion in 1998-99, to £7.6 billion in 2016-17. This equates to an astounding increase of 800% in cash terms and a compound annual growth rate of 13%.”
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Bill Bush, Premier League executive director, adds: “It is a simple model: many of the best players in the world playing for some of football’s finest clubs in a compelling competition in front of passionate fans, broadcast here and around the world.
“Great football gives us the economic success to invest in our own competition and provide unparalleled support to the EFL, youth development, the non-league system and community football.
"The national economy benefits from over £1billon in overseas earnings and over £3billion in tax because our clubs strive so hard to get the football right.”
Stats in context
Paying £1.1 billion in tax is a good headline figure, but what does that mean compared to the rest of us?
Around 600 players were on the books for Premier League clubs in the 2016-17 season. This means that the average amount of tax players paid was £1,833,333 in 2016-17. However, there will be a big disparity between the top-earning players and those who earn less.
The average full-time worker in the UK earned £27,200 at the end of the 2016-17 tax year. Excluding things like pension payments or a student loan, this average salary would have incurred a £5,535 tax bill (income tax and national insurance combined) – or 20.3% of their earnings.
This means that the average Premier League footballer paid the same in tax as 331 average workers.
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But what about the highest-earning player?
In 2016-17 the player earning the top wage was Manchester United's Paul Pogba, who earned £290,000 per week – or £15.08 million per year.
A salary this high would garner an eye-watering tax bill of £7.077 million – an effective tax rate of 47%. This is equivalent to 1,279 average earners’ tax bills.
This article was originally published in our sister magazine Moneywise, which ceased publication in August 2020.
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