Published On: Fri, Apr 5th, 2013

Italian football finances show improvement despite austerity

Serie ASerie A has defied expectations by recording improved financial figures for the first time in four seasons.

The combined debt of the all professional clubs within Italy during this campaign currently amounts to € 388 million, down from €430 million during the 2011-2012 season, documenting how clubs, including those outside the top echelon, are beginning to get a tighter grip on their finances in times of austerity and increased financial monitoring.

Calciomercato reported how research carried out by the Research Centre for the Football Federation of Italy showed that in Serie A there was a marked reduction in overall levels of debt with a decrease from €300 million to €281 million, which can be explained by a 7% increase in revenue for clubs in Italy’s top flight that counteracted a 4.4% increase in overall running costs.

Many are seeing this report as evidence of how clubs are paying more attention to their finances in order to become sustainable business models in the wake of the introduction of the UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, introduced during the 2011-2012 season across Europe. Under the regulations, clubs are not allowed to have outgoings which are in excess of total incomings.

To take but one example from one of Italy’s most famous clubs provides much insight into how the FFP rules are being abided by, and having a tangible effect on club transfer policy. AC Milan posted a loss of €69.751 million in December 2010 and thus this, combined with the new financial regulations, saw them sell Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic for a combined total of around €60 million.

Of AC Milan, Inter and Juventus, the current Serie A champions are the only club to have what can be deemed ‘healthy’ finances, and therefore it is hoped that the continuous financial erosion of Italy’s football clubs can be stopped, and the evidence so far appears to be positive.

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