Analysis: The football industry was about to destroy itself even before Covid-19 spread – a change of perspective will make the system profitable and sustainable

9 June 2021

West Ham
Photo: Alamy West Ham fans looking at the pitch in disbelief when they were relegated in May 2011.

Too big to fail? In the next couple of years, the financial gap between the biggest clubs and the rest will grow. Bankruptcies could happen all over Europe.

Covid-19 will be the trigger, but how European football has developed has been alarming because some of the key fundamentals of “normal” industries have just not been in place.

The massive growth in revenues was eaten up by the growth in wages and transfer fees – and the ship only kept sailing thanks to capital injections from wealthy owners, as well as bank loans.

So something has to change if the industry is to survive and keep its current status as a sport where top athletes compete – otherwise the next generation will choose other sports to support.

The European Super League clashed with the cultural understanding of football, but it has been the only idea so far to save an industry on the brink of a collapse.

Alberto Medici, analyst

In the last few months, a significant amount of time has been spent on the creation of the new European Super League (and its subsequent abandonment due to pressure from many stakeholders all over the globe).

But the main issues of equity and competitiveness – and, as a consequence, football industry model sustainability in the long run – have been only partially discussed within the main narrative.

Let's start here:

Covid-19 crisis: The wider perspective 

Do you want to read this article?

Get instant access by signing up for a 7-day free trial

No credit card, no commitments and it will expire automatically.

You will receive a link that activates your trial in an email.