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European Club Losses Stabilising Say UEFA

Tue 5th Feb 2013 | UEFA

Gianni Infantino says "encouraging messages" have emerged from the fifth UEFA club licensing benchmarking report and European teams are heeding the "wake-up call" on financial fair play.

Speaking on the release of the fifth club licensing benchmarking report, UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino said "encouraging messages" have emerged from the report and that the continent's clubs had started to heed the governing body's firm advice with respect to financial fair play measures and their implication for European club football.

The 124 page document provides the widest and most complete financial health check of club football available, with the five-year financial review sourced from over 3,000 detailed sets of financial statements, laying bare the strengths and weaknesses of club football finances across Europe.

Summarising the key figures contained in the report, Mr Infantino highlighted that whilst revenue continued to grow in the sport losses had stabilised.

"We see already some trends which are changing," he said, "and I think there are a few encouraging messages coming out of this study. [They] are, from my point of view, that in spite of the general economic situation, revenues in top division club football have grown again.

“We are now at €13.2bn in revenues. On average in the last five years, they have grown 5.6% per year – can you tell me which other industry has grown 5.6% every year in the last four or five years when we had an economic crisis which is hitting all of us?

“This shows that the professional football business sector is healthy from a revenue point of view.”

But despite the impressive growth, there is still much to be done to curb losses, which had shown signs of stabilising.

"The other encouraging figure is linked to the fact that losses are stabilising,” added Mr Infantino.

“For €13.2bn in revenues, we had €14.8bn costs. This makes around €1.6 to €1.7bn of losses in one year.

“This is worrying. But it is a little less worrying than last year, because the ratio of revenues and costs is going in the other direction for the first time in five years. Last year, it was 12.8%, this year it is 12.7%.

"It is encouraging, because the break-even rules, which will be the rules which have the major impact on this calculation, have not yet kicked in completely. The assessment will be done for the first time next year, so there is still a little bit of time. It shows that the clubs have taken it on board and that they are really taking it seriously and trying to spend a little bit less."

The report also made note that in the latest three-year financial fair play simulation (2009, 2010 and 2011) 46 clubs from 22 separate countries would have been required to improve their balance sheet through equity contributions had Financial Fair Play regulations already been in place during that period.

"Everyone knows the rules and they know when they kick in," Mr Infantino said. "For the first time, some important sanctions have been taken as well. Clubs were excluded from our competitions, others were sanctioned," he said. "Payments were frozen to 23 clubs for a certain period until they put their accounts in order.

"We are not trying to harm clubs," he concluded. "We are trying to help them. We have to protect the whole football system together with the clubs."

Posted by: Aaron Gourley


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