UEFA has released its seventh club licensing benchmarking report on European club football. The report offers a unique and exclusive review of the continental club game – and a thorough analysis of the financial development of European football after the first decade of club licensing.
The report casts an eye back over the last 20 years of huge growth in European club revenue and wages; analyses in detail trends across Europe over the past five years (pre and post-financial fair play implementation); while also looking to the future of commercial and broadcast deals in an increasingly global game.
The report shows that the financial health of European club football has been turned around with bottom-line losses cut by 70%, record operating profits generated last year and club balance sheets strengthened by 50% in the first three years of UEFA's financial fair play regulations.
In his foreword to the report, UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino states: "While we should remain cautious, it appears that the worst financial excesses of European football reported in 2010 and 2011 are potentially behind us. This year's edition of the report highlights some notable improvements that have taken place in the last three years, coinciding with the introduction of financial fair play."
And he adds: "This report provides an in-depth analysis of the current situation, allowing national associations, leagues and clubs to benchmark their performance and all readers to better understand the context in which clubs across the 54 UEFA member associations operate."
The report underlines some notable improvements that have taken place in the past three years, coinciding with the introduction of financial fair play, with club football's remarkable ability to grow revenues year after year increasingly being matched by a willingness to adopt more sustainable plans for the future:
Here are some key findings:
The report is unique in its depth and scale and in the quality of the data that underpins its analysis. The underlying basis for this report consists of up to 170 separate line items per year and per club from club financial statements and their notes. In total, reaching back over nine years, the UEFA club database includes over two million items, thus forming an unrivalled basis for the financial analysis of club football.
One of the features of this year's report – published online today and in print at the beginning of November – are a series of top-20 lists of clubs. UEFA Head of Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play, Andrea Traverso, explained the concept in the report's introduction: "Previous versions of this report have been welcomed for bringing more transparency to club finances, by presenting authoritative analysis of trends across 700 clubs a season. This year's report takes us to a new level of financial disclosure.
"For the first time, Europe's clubs are individually ranked in a series of top-20 lists, covering TV money, gate receipts, UEFA prize money, wages, other operating costs, underlying operating and 'bottom-line' net profitability, stadium assets, squad costs and transfer incomes and spend."
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