Column: Fundamental financial problems in European football – the Super League plans might have been unpopular but they solved some serious problems

23 June 2021

Fitch Ratings
Photo: Alamy Hatem Ben Arfa from Football Club Girondin de Bordeaux is looking a bit worried during last years game against Olympique Marseille on the empty stadium in the Southern part of France. Fitch Ratings are also a bit concerned when they look at the financial situation in European football.

Super league plans may be gone, but thanks to pandemic woes, maybe not for good. Powerful players are blocking the need for flexible costbases in clubs.

We expect stadium attendance in Europe to reach around 40 per cent of capacity during the 2021/2022 season, improving to around 80 per cent in 2022/2023 and not fully recovering before 2023/2024.

The transfer market is also in very bad shape. This could lead to decisions that prevent clubs from receiving some much needed cash.

George Abbatt, Director, Global Infrastructure & Project Finance, Fitch Ratings contact@offthepitch.com

What were a dramatic few days in the football world seem to have resulted in largely the status quo being restored. However, this may just be the beginning of a shakeout for an industry which is still struggling to recover from the financial damage of the pandemic.

Following an announcement late on Sunday the 18th April that 12 of the largest European clubs would be setting up their own largely “closed” league, the clubs involved faced a furious backlash which saw most abandon the project over the next few days.

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