Supply chain · 24 May 2017

Premier League suppliers chase £1.3m in overdue payments from top football clubs

Could Premier League clubs be throwing their weight around when it comes to their supply chains?
Could Premier League clubs be throwing their weight around when it comes to their supply chains?

Premier League clubs are withholding £1.3m in overdue invoices to suppliers, according to new figures that reveal a troubling culture of late payments in English football.

The Prompt Payment Premier League, compiled by Creditsafe, revealed 20 per cent of supply chain payments were at least three weeks late of the due date.

In a damning indictment of payment practices in the top tier of English football, not a single club paid invoices ahead of agreed terms.

Swansea and Middlesbrough topped the table, paying suppliers one day beyond the invoice deadline, and 12 days before the industry average.

Of the country’s biggest clubs, Manchester United performed most poorly. The club’s 63 overdue invoices – totalling £857,183 – accounted for two-thirds of all late payments to Premier League suppliers.

However, Sunderland and Arsenal stretched invoice payment the longest, paying suppliers an average 20 days beyond the agreed date.

Of the Premier League’s top six clubs, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea paid suppliers most promptly, 12 and 13 days beyond agreed terms respectively.

Commenting on the suffering of Premier League suppliers, Rachel Mainwaring, Creditsafe UK operations director, said a “late payment culture” had emerged in recent years in football.

“Even in the Premier League, with all the money that is available to its top clubs, late payment is rife,” she said in a statement.

“This is a problem for businesses dealing with the wealthy premier league clubs, who find themselves with a potentially dangerous financial shortfall.”

As seen at the top of the payment league, the data revealed a curious trend for smaller clubs to adopt better supply chain practices.

Despite annual turnover of £987m, the trio of Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal paid Premier League suppliers eight days slower than the 13-day late payment average.

“As this year’s Premier League season comes to an end, it’s interesting to see that lower placing clubs pay their bills the fastest.

“In fact, excluding Sunderland, it’s the top ranking clubs of 2017, with turnovers over £250m, that pay the latest and finish in the relegation zone of our alternative premier league table,” Mainwaring added.

Take a look at the full Prompt Payment Premier League table below

Premier League suppliers

Want to learn the secrets to getting your products stocked at the UK’s major retailers? Have a look at our “Selling to big business” supply chain series.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is a reporter for Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and previously worked as a content editor in the ecommerce industry.

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