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Premier League clubs post record revenues as Europe recovers from COVID-19 impact



Premier League club revenues rose by 12% to a record 5.5 billion pounds ($6.96 billion) in the 2021-22 season as European football capitalised on fans returning to stadiums after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to analysis from Deloitte.

In its Annual Review of Football Finance, Deloitte’s Sports Business Group said the “big five” leagues in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France had a combined 10% rise in revenues – with Spain’s LaLiga rising 11% to 3.3 billion euros ($3.57 billion) while France’s Ligue 1 shot up 26% to 2 billion euros.

Italy’s Serie A was the only league of the five to record a decrease in revenue, falling 7% to 2.4 billion euros.

Matchday revenue for the Premier League rose to 763 million pounds in 2021-22, far surpassing the 2020-21 season, large portions of which were played behind closed doors, as well as improving on pre-pandemic levels of 684 million euros in the 2018-19 season.

“Topline figures show that European football has emerged resiliently from its most challenging period to date,” said Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.


“Following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, fans’ pent-up demand gave rise to record matchday and commercial revenues across Europe.”

Despite rising revenues, operating profits in the big five leagues has declined by 1.8 billion euros since the 2018-19 season, thanks in part due to a 15% rise in wage costs.

Clubs will have to adjust wage costs in future to adhere to UEFA’s new “sustainability regulations”, which were passed in 2022 and limit teams to spending no more than 70% of their revenue on their squads.

The regulations came into force in 2022. The 70% figure will be reached after a three-year transition period, gradually falling from 90%.

“The focus for all clubs must now shift to ensure long-term financial sustainability across the football system, and the introduction of new regulations across European football are appropriately timed to support this,” Bridge said.


“Record growth in the Premier League continues to increase revenue polarisation between and within European football leagues, and every league faces new challenges brought by increased competition, regulation and the strain of a challenging macroeconomic climate.”

In England, the combined net debt in the top flight decreased by 34% to 2.7 billion pounds in 2021-22 following the takeovers of Chelsea and Newcastle United.

Net debt also declined by 110 million pounds in the second-tier Championship, but wage costs exceeded revenues for the fifth straight year.

“The net debt of Championship clubs remains significant, with a vast number of clubs increasing their loans over the 2021/22 season,” Bridge said.

“The glamour of Premier League promotion is spearheading the continual drive for investment in Championship clubs, often in an unsustainable manner, driving some clubs to overstretch financially.”




Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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