Liverpool & Norwich City Top Sustainability Index Tables

Liverpool and Norwich City have topped the tables in a first-of-its-kind in-depth ranking of a club’s sustainability. 


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The Sustainability Index, developed by Fair Game, rates each club in the Premier League and EFL Championship for financial sustainability, good governance, equality standards and fan engagement.


Fair Game partnered with world-renowned independent experts and organisations in football to create fair and impartial metrics across the four criteria. 


Niall Couper, CEO of Fair Game, said of the results: “For the first time we have a measure that shows which clubs are well run.


“But equally we’ve shown the challenges clubs face to become sustainable – vital in ensuing the history and traditions of football clubs, so cherished by supporters, are secure for the long term.”


Of the 20 Premier League teams, Liverpool led the way in governance, scoring highly in the Football Leadership Diversity Code, which makes up 50% of the governance score.


Finishing bottom of the table were Nottingham Forest, hamstrung by their financial rating of 1.0 out of a maximum score of 40 and significantly behind the second least financially solvent, Bournemouth, with 9.4. 


Figures showed Forest spent 202% of their revenue on players’ wages, nearly triple the recommended amount of 70%. Their financial liabilities were over twice their assets, and their income revenue was less than half what they owe in loans due in the next 12 months. This is supported by previous Fair Game research that showed over half of the clubs in the football pyramid are technically insolvent. 


In the EFL Championship, Norwich City top the table but the Index shows a clear divide created in part by the unequal distribution of parachute payments available to those that have been recently relegated from the Premier League.


Those at the top are all boosted by the short-term benefit of parachute payments, while those at the bottom are almost entirely clubs that are over-stretching in pursuit of promotion the Premier League. Tellingly, Wigan who came second bottom in the Championship Index, have recently been docked points for late payment of wages.


Couper, added: “Football is in crisis. The debacle of the European Super League demonstrated the chasm of feeling between clubs and supporters. The pandemic and cost-of-living crises have stretched finances to the limit.


“Football needs a culture change. It needs to start celebrating and rewarding good behaviour, and we believe the Sustainability Index does that.”


The publication of the Index comes just weeks before the long-awaited White Paper on Football Governance is published by the Government and builds on the Fan-Led Review, chaired by Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, which published its findings at the end of 2021 – findings that were largely welcomed by Fair Game.


Couper said: “Outside the Premier League clubs’ finances are a mess. The Championship has become a casino and at stake is the history and traditions of our great clubs. 


“The argument for an independent regulator of football is over. This is more evidence for the need for change. The new regulator needs to take control of football’s financial flow and end the insanity that exists in our National Game.


“In the Championship the true winners are the likes of Luton Town, Millwall and Bristol City – clubs that are building for the future and are refusing to put themselves at risk.”





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