Financial Fair Play…

Background: European football and Italy, for the first time, do not see "red" in the accounts. In 2017, there was, surprisingly, a positive sign. Football is not completely cured, it has some diseases here and there, it can not relax the recipe, but financially it was never so healthy, it was not managed so well, with less crazy expenses. Something has really changed. The profit is at 600 million euros across the continent, in Italy they exceed 85 million after decades (centuries?) Of deficits. "Thanks to Financial Fair Play," said UEFA President Alexander Seferin. "In 2011 we had a loss of 1,7 billion euros. Here is the proof that the licensing system works: We offered the clubs the platform to control the expenses and to pay the debts ".


UEFA's analysis covers all the top categories in Europe. The indisputable fact is the continuous development of an industry that does not know the word crisis: In 1996 the first categories of the European Championships had a turnover of 2,8 billion euros, 20 years later the amount jumped to 20,1. A steady trend, never declining, but at the same time worrying. Because the increase in revenue corresponded to a larger increase in expenditure, with losses on the balance sheets leading to the disaster: 600 million euros in 2008, 1,2 billion in 2009 and -the maximum- 1,7 billion euros in 2011. On the same year that the Financial Fair Play that Michel Platini wanted and designed by Gianni Infantino and Andrea Taverso, the head of UEFA, entered football.


There was no lack of criticism. Other logics and based, especially "photographing" the initial situation: It was difficult to cover the lost ground whoever was left behind and it was difficult to increase its turnover with all the restrictions imposed by the regulation. Then the delay in sanctions. Some legislative gaps. The rather soft treatment of Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City. No one is saying that FFP is the ideal system, it can certainly be done better, but eight years of intensive care have changed the scenario. Football would not have rolled down the aisle, but no one can say how many clubs would have gone bankrupt by continuing as before. The "tears and blood" measures changed the trend: 1,1 billion euros deficit in 2012, 800 million in 2013, 700 in 2014, 500 in 2015, 300 in 2016, until the surprise of +600 million euros in 2017 ! If it were time for a change, we could start thinking of a new philosophy: Less deficit limits, more spending freedom. As if, that is, the EU allowed in the States to exceed 3%.


Of the 20 billion of turnover, 15 belongs to the top 5 championships. First of all, the English Premier League which - within 2017 - had 5,34 billion in revenue thanks to the terrifying rise in television rights (and would have been more without the depreciation of 12%). Following are Spain (2.89 billion) and Germany (2.80). Italy is firmly 4 at almost 2,2 billion: If the UEFA ranking made it possible to overtake Germany, it is not yet economical. France is back with 1,64 billion. But now we have to increase the revenue: TV counts a lot for Italian football, almost 49%, so it depends so much on it that it would collapse if the TV networks decided to make big cuts (for England the 54% of TVs revenue but after a monstrous contract). Low commercial track revenue (24%), even less of the stadiums (10%): New marketing strategies and new stadiums are needed.


England has a very high turnover, spends most of the time but continues to make a profit. The relationship between profit and loss is at + 10,3%. To explain it: It collects 5,34 billion, spends less than 5, earns almost 550 million. In this ranking, Italy is in the 3 position with + 3,7%: Nearly 85 million. From 2010 to 2016, Serie A posted much higher revenue losses, from 10% to 20%: 2016 deficit was at 200 million. So this, now, is a historic first time. Even the impact of wages on income, 66%, has decreased. There was a brake on the cost. While transfers never stop, with 1,2 billion spent on 2018, in the year of Cristiano Ronaldo: The summer transfer deficit reached 306 million, only England recorded worse performance, -481 million, but with different in total.


We can now think about the European future with optimism. Clubs, especially large ones, demand more freedom in their movements. The years in which tycoons could spend whatever they wanted are over, but we can think of a brake loosening and a differentiation of measures. One way could be to enter a "luxury tax": on transfers, on salaries or, even better, on refinancing. Example: Does a club have an 90 € 90 million imbalance in the balance sheet? He puts them freely in the fund but, at the same time, gives another XNUMX, or a smaller percentage, to the system.

Scheffer tried to bring in such measures, the clubs' response so far has been negative. "However, we have strengthened the system with new measures that ensure transparency and, at the same time, if a debt club continues to spend, able to act immediately," says the UEFA president.