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UEFA releases insane financial numbers for past three years

Apr 17, 2014, 9:51 AM EDT

Infantino Getty Images

Despite the ridiculous nature of some 2012 financial numbers released by UEFA this morning, many of them are surprisingly unsurprising.

UEFA’s club licensing benchmark report reveals disparity from the top class to the rest of the field, a failure to maintain coaching consistency, and the power of both player and agent presence.

None of those things should shock anyone.

Still, the sheer magnitude of some of the values will no doubt have a bit of a shocking effect.

With the first-ever Financial Fair Play decisions set to be made in a matter of days or weeks, there’s an interesting duality with the release.  UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino (pictured) hit the nail on the head, saying, “This report is unique as it highlights both the tremendous popularity of European club football and the challenges and pressures that this brings.”

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Of the 50 highest wage bills in Europe, 15 were English, 8 were German, 8 were Italian, 6 were Spanish, 6 were Russian, 5 were French, and 2 were Turkish.
  • The highest wage bill in Europe in 2012 was $328 million (€237 million), more than triple the 25th highest.
  • The 728 European teams made over 1,700 coaching changes across a three-year span (2010-2013).
  • Agent costs made up 12.6% of the over $15 billion spent on transfer fees in 2012.
  • Player wages across top European clubs increased 49% from 2007-2012.  England’s increased by 67%.
  • Of $12.7 billion spent on employee wages by top division clubs in Europe in 2012, player wages accounted for $10.1 billion (79.5%)
  • 163 million people attended top-division European matches during the 2012-2013 season.

Infantino said this coming season is a “very important one for the long-term future of club football.” No doubt he’s referring to Financial Fair Play, with rulings set to be made in the coming months.

There are some seriously disturbing numbers in the above list, including but not limited to the coaching changes made. The average European top-division team made 2.3 coaching changes over a 3-year period. That means the average manager lasted about one season during that time period.

It’s no surprise that player wages increased significantly over the last few years, with billionaire owners willing to shell out whatever it takes to secure a player’s signature.  However, when you see that agents pocketed over a billion dollars in transfer fees, things become worrying.  The increased control of the agent in a transfer is certainly a disturbing trend.

Despite loads of red flags in these numbers however, it is clear that the game is expanding globally, with the European game at the forefront.  Growth never comes without problems, and UEFA continues to deal with record-breaking numbers in this department.

You can see the full report here: 2012 UEFA Club Licensing Benchmark Report

  1. sibertt - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    The increase in player wages is kinda staggering, too. Make you think of how much ticket prices really must be going up as well. Ick.

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