The positive impact of club licensing and financial fair play measures, and how to strengthen the current forward impetus, has been examined at UEFA’s latest Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play workshops.
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UEFA’s club licensing and financial fair play measures are continuing to have a significant and positive impact on the health of club football finances across Europe - and a recent series of UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play workshops have provided an ideal opportunity to examine how the momentum can be maintained.
The workshops, hosted by the national associations of Israel, Hungary and San Marino, brought together representatives of UEFA’s 55 member associations for an in-depth analysis of the current situation, as well as discussions on how to approach the future in this vital area for football.
The gatherings follow encouraging news announced by UEFA in its latest club licensing benchmarking report, issued in January. The overview of 700 top-division clubs highlights profits and record revenues and shows ten-year trends.
For the first time since financial fair play was introduced in 2009, the report says, the 700 top-division clubs together generated a ‘bottom-line’ profit figure in the 2017 financial year. These bottom-line profits of €615million – profits after transfer, non-operating, financing, tax and divestment – reflect six consecutive years of improvement.
The report emphasises an important cultural change in European football finance over the past decade, with football regulation, led by UEFA and supported by national associations; a stable media landscape; supporter loyalty; and a club-wide focus on managing costs allowing European football to end these ten years far stronger than when it started.
Aleš Zavrl, UEFA’s head of club licensing, told the workshop in San Marino that it was imperative that nobody rested on their laurels in the continuous drive to safeguard and guarantee European club football’s financial well-being.
“Although the financial performance of European clubs is continuously improving, as was evident in UEFA’s latest club licensing benchmark report,” Zavrl said, “there is still a lot of work to do through UEFA support.”
“With that in mind, these regional workshops provide an ideal platform to exchange views and brainstorm ideas on how club licensing and financial fair play processes can continue to be an important part of our joint activities for the better governance and financial stability of European club football.”
Each of the three hosting national associations were invited to showcase the progress that has occurred in their respective countries in both football and club licensing, as well as initiatives they have put in place at domestic level to accommodate national specificities. A key theme centred on the guidance and support to be provided by UEFA in view of the proper implementation of its Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations.
Women’s football was also a major topic – from the 2020/21 season, UEFA will require women’s football clubs to undergo a licencing process in order to enter the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
The workshops provided UEFA with the opportunity to present its new CL/FFP IT solution, which will be deployed throughout Europe in order to collect and analyse clubs’ financial information. This project represents the culmination of over a year’s work by UEFA’s financial fair play unit, and aims to facilitate the data entry procedure that clubs and national associations have to go through on a seasonal basis for UEFA.