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SBD Global/March 11, 2013/International Football

Falling Attendance, Rising Wage Bills Causing Concern Among Football League Clubs

A BBC study shows that lagging attendance and rising wage bills are "causing widespread concern among clubs in the Football League," according to the SUNDAY TIMES. Of the 41 clubs which contributed to the study, only one rated the financial health of Football League clubs in general as "better than adequate." A total of 34 clubs said that they "were either concerned or extremely concerned about falling attendances." One CEO said that three-quarters of clubs "were experiencing a decline in attendances compared with last year." One League One club managing director said that gates in his division "were down 15%, with an average fall across the leagues of 4%-5%." League Championship side Millwall CEO Andy Ambler said crowds had fallen but it was "up to us to fight hard to get them up". LEague One Brentford's CEO Mark Devlin said his club's gates were up slightly, but: "Over a generation we have suffered with younger fans being attracted to teams playing at a higher level." Twenty-eight clubs identified players' wages "as a problem." League Two Chesterfield CEO Chris Turner said, "The amount of money going out to players and agents is incredible. It should have been stopped 20 years ago when it first started happening, but it's too late now" (SUNDAY TIMES, 3/10).
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