Cumulative losses of $2 billion by top European clubs in 2010 has prompted renewed warnings from UEFA that sanctions will be imposed on teams that fail to comply with financial guidelines. Debts are still rising as wealthy owners pump massive amounts into buying top players. Accounts from about 650 clubs reveal 56 percent lost money in the 2010 financial year, and their total debt was 8.4 billion euros ($10.9 billion).
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantinosaid it was “a last wake-up call” with clubs having been subject to UEFA’s financial fair play monitoring since July 2011.
“We must end this negative spiral and gamble for success,” Infantino told reporters at a briefing.
UEFA’s research showed that richer and more successful clubs were more likely to spend and lose money. Of more than 200 clubs playing in UEFA’s Champions League and Europa League competitions two years ago, 65 percent spent more than they earned. Three out of every four clubs earning more than 50 million euros ($65 million) annually also recorded a loss. UEFA says clubs who overspend in an initial two-year monitoring period can be excluded from its competitions from the 2014-15 season. It acknowledged that 13 clubs would have failed its break-even tests on their 2010 accounts. The clubs were not identified.
Since financial licensing was introduced in 2004, 31 clubs, including four this season, have been refused entry to its two main club competitions However, clubs barred this season were from the small-market leagues of Ireland, Kazakhstan, Lithuania and Romania. Skepticism has grown over UEFA’s willingness to take on big-spending clubs such as Premier League leader Manchester City, whose owners from Abu Dhabi funded a $318 million-loss for 2010-11, the final season before FFP took effect.