European Club football has shown an overall combined profit for the first time in 10 years. The governing body for football in Europe, UEFA has attributed the better financial health to the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, which now regulate the spending on player acquisitions in proportion to the clubs’ revenues.
European clubs, UEFA has revealed, have made combined €600 million profits in 2017, which is a major gain on the €1,700 million combined losses in 2011. It is for the first time since 2008 that the combined financial figures of 718 football clubs in Europe have shown a profitable balance.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has attributed the positive development to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations, which have made European football finances stronger than ever before.
The finances of 718 first-division clubs in Europe are compiled by UEFA’s financial sustainability and research division. The data, covering the period up to and including December 2017, shows that in 2017 for the first time on record European top-division club football was profitable.
“Thanks to Financial Fair Play, European football is healthier than ever. The €600 million combined profits of the clubs in 2017 are a remarkable improvement on the €1,700 million combined losses in 2011 when UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations were introduced. This clearly demonstrates that Financial Fair Play works,” said UEFA President
The figures also revealed that club balance sheets are stronger than ever before, with assets at €7,700 million higher than debts and liabilities, compared to €1,900 million at the start of 2011.
“This success, this new stability is a result of the work done by UEFA and its member associations in introducing licensing systems including cost control mechanisms which have yielded much improved financial discipline. Financial Fair Play has provided the platform for clubs to control their costs and pay their debts,” added Čeferin.
The Financial Fair Play regulations have enabled 29 of the 54 top division European Clubs report profits in 2017. The number was a mere 8 when the Financial Fair Play regulations were introduced in 2011.
The clubs have collectively recorded a €1,600 million increase in revenues. The figures are highest ever in a single year for the European football clubs. This indicates a seven-time jump in revenues in the past 20 years.
The fact that, for the fourth time in five years, revenues increased at a faster rate than wages illustrates that clubs have been remaining prudent and controlling costs as part of the Financial Fair Play ecosystem.
UEFA has not been resting on its laurels, however, and the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations have been updated for the new competition cycle 2018-2021.
“Now is the time to take the next step,” said the UEFA President. “And that’s why we have decided to strengthen the regulations further, to push for more transparency and harmonisation of financial accounting practices.
“The new regulations will further allow UEFA to act more swiftly and anticipate problems before they become too big. For example, when we see that a club has spent over a certain amount on transfers, or when the club has too much debt, UEFA will now immediately react and proactively assess the club’s ability to meet the rules in the future.”