Analysis: Which leagues have the largest income inequality?

8 October 2021

Photo: Alamy Ligue 1 is the most unequal in terms of income distribution. Paris Saint-Germain alone earned more than a third of the total €1.58 billion generated by the teams in the best league.

A widening gap between rich and poor has become a characteristic of many areas of the world, and the world of football is no different.

The clubs in the top tiers in Europe generate billions of Euros in turnover each year. However, not all clubs get an equal slice of the cake.

Off The Pitch has analysed the big five leagues to see which has the biggest income inequality.

We used typical economic tools, namely the Lorenz curve and the Gini coefficient, to see how turnover is distributed among the clubs.

The results show that the distribution of income is heavily skewed in several leagues, where a few top clubs should almost be considered to be in a league of their own.

Emil Hauge, analyst

Most people would agree that several of Europe’s big five leagues can be characterised by their wide financial gap between the top and bottom clubs, with FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Paris Saint-Germain being a long way ahead of the rest in Spain and France. 

Similarly, the top six clubs in England could be expected to be in a class of their own, as it is often the same six clubs competing for trophies and qualifying for European football year after year, thus attracting higher income. 

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