The English Premier League has been declared the world’s richest football league once again judging from the 2013-14 season.
Clubs recorded income of £3.26bn outstripping that of the next richest league, Germany’s Bundesliga, by more than £1bn.
In the first year of the Premier League’s 2013-16 television deals, which total £5.5bn, a review of football finance by the accountants Deloitte found the clubs’ TV income alone was €171m (£126m) more than the entire income of Spain’s La Liga clubs, €405m more than the total earnings of Italy’s Serie A clubs and €606m more than the income of France’s Ligue 1 clubs.
15 of the Premier League clubs made a profit in 2013-14 and the league recorded an overall pre-tax profit of £198m, its clubs’ first overall profit since 1998-99.
This transformation of England’s top flight into a largely profitable one was due to financial fair play rules introduced to limit the increase in wages that could be paid from the additional TV money in the 2013-16 bonanza. Deloitte reported 19 of the 20 clubs made an operating profit, an overall total of £614m and an increase of £532m – more than sevenfold – on the previous year.
The report highlighted the huge financial divide between the Premier League and the Football League, from which the top-division clubs broke away in 1992 so they would no longer have to share TV income with the three divisions below. Deloitte described as “alarming” the overall loss made in 2013-14 by the 24 clubs in the Championship of £247m, an average per club of £10m.
The clubs in English football’s second tier, several now funded by investors seeking the vast financial rewards delivered by promotion to the Premier League, paid more in wages than their entire income of £491m. That was itself a record, although caused largely by Premier League parachute payments to relegated clubs having grown by £57m. Eight clubs in the Championship received these payments.
This overall loss in the Championship was recorded in the first year the Football League implemented strict regulations seeking to limit club losses, with penalties for those which default. Deloitte described the Championship’s operating losses, of £222m, as a “significant issue”.
League One clubs’ overall income was £148m, the report said, an increase of £28m from 2012-13. This was due largely to Wolverhampton Wanderers being relegated to the third tier while still being entitled to £19m in parachute payments from their stint in the Premier League.
Income of the 24 clubs in League Two was down 9% to £78m “largely due to the change in composition of clubs in the division”, the report said.