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UEFA has released its ninth club licensing benchmarking report on European club football - highlighting a more stable and sustainable financial position for European top-division clubs.

UEFA has released its ninth club licensing benchmarking report on European club football, named ‘The European Club Footballing Landscape”. The latest report highlights the transformation in football’s finances, with Financial Fair Play regulations creating a more stable and sustainable position for European top-division clubs.

 

In his foreword to the report, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said: “Clubs are generating revenue but they are also investing in assets and infrastructure, thanks in a part to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Regulations. For the first time, club investments in stadiums and other long-term fixed assets exceeded €1bn in 2016. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that an increasing number of national associations and leagues, both inside and outside Europe, are starting to implement their own versions of Financial Fair Play.”

 

The report paints a comprehensive picture of football finance and the positive impact that Financial Fair Play has had on improving the underlying finances of European club football:

 

The 700 top-division clubs together are generating year-on-year revenue growth of almost 10%. You need to go back to 2002 to find a faster rate of growth in European club revenues.

 

In recent years (2010 to 2016), European club football has become less reliant on donations/grants and other one-off revenues (down 12%), with gate receipts up 7%, sponsorship and commercial revenue up 59%, TV revenue up 64%, transfer income up 105%, and UEFA prize money and solidarity payments up 106%.

 

Despite wages growing at the fastest rate since 2010, clubs reported the highest operating profits (before transfers) in history of more than €800m in 2016.

 

Bottom-line losses after transfers, financing and tax decreased to €269m in 2016 – this is less than one-sixth of the club losses recorded prior to the introduction of Financial Fair Play.

 

A record 26 leagues generated profits in 2016 (as an aggregate of the clubs’ results in each league) – this could be said of just 9 leagues in 2011, prior to the introduction of Financial Fair Play.

 

Net debt continues to fall, from 65% of revenue before the introduction of financial fair play in 2011 to 40% in 2015 and down to 35% in 2016. Conversely, club net assets have doubled during this period.

 

Čeferin adds: “The data from this report and other research from our new intelligence centre helps inform our decision-making. Once more, we cannot help but note that the polarisation of commercial and sponsorship revenues between the top tier of clubs and the rest is accelerating. As the guardians of the game, UEFA must ensure that football remains competitive even as financial gaps are augmented by globalisation and technological change.”