While reading about Gael Clichy during the Arsenal vs. Manchester City game, I noticed that he was signed from Arsenal for an undisclosed fee.

As far as I understand Arsenal is a public limited company - I will admit that I am not very knowledgeable about this financial talk.

Galatasaray is in a similar position, however, they need to declare all of their signings and the signings' total income when the transfer is finalized. Further, they have to declare when transfer talks are in play to not be charged, AFAIK, due to being a public company in the Turkish stock market.

We see a similar situation with Barcelona FC and the signing of Neymar.

So how can Manchester City and Arsenal manage to hide the exchange of money for a transfer? Shouldn't that be public knowledge?

  • 1
    Regarding the Neymar transfer, Barcelona are largely owned by fans so they put pressure on the club to release the financial info. Undisclosed transfer fees seem to be popular in England, I'm looking up the rules around it.
    – RoB
    Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 8:18
  • Superb Question!
    – Yaitzme
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 4:27

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: This is not a full-fledged answer I originally wanted to comment, but it ended up being too long, so I write it down as an answer.

I guess the answer to the question you put forth is the what a public limited company has to disclose. I think if they buy/sell land, or facilities they need to disclose that. On a side note most people like to think of players as assets that can be bought and sold, but that's a view bordering on slavery so it would do good to leave that view aside. Players are employees and I don't think they have to disclose the fees for each and every employee.

What they need to do report publicly are their finances, the money flow in and out of the club, their liquid and bound assets and debt. That typically happens once a year for the shareholders and club members.

Also see this relevant article: http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2013/sep/04/undisclosed-fee-transfer-window-deadline

  • I think that this is the case with undisclosed fees, the clubs are under no legal obligation to disclose the transfer fee unless there is fan ownership involved as was the case with Neymar then pressure can be applied by fans to reveal the true cost of the transfer
    – RoB
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 8:33
  • @RoB, if a club is public, that means that I can buy shares of the company and be a partial owner, no? So in that case we can assume fan ownership as well. As much as I understand this answer, transfers nowadays can be for huge sums of money. I am not clear why/how that can be hidden. If we are looking for transparency, why not allow all of the information out there (except maybe actual wages)?
    – arin
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 16:39
  • 2
    @arin that's exactly what it means actually. But the fact that you are a partial owner does not mean that the company you are buying shares from have to inform you about every transaction they do, you do however have the right to ask for the information. Typically what happens is that the club administration release information regarding their deeds once a year where all share holders are invited.
    – posdef
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 16:55

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