The deficit of the 40 Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs has increased from €65M last year to €107M ($138.6M) during the '11-12 season. The administration council for the French Professional Football League (LFP) learned of the results during a meeting on Thursday. The data was presented by the DNCG, the organization responsible for overseeing and monitoring the accounts of professional football clubs in France. Of the 40 clubs, 25 presented a net deficit, nine in Ligue 1 and 16 in Ligue 2. Sales for France's top two leagues increased 8.5% to €1.35B ($1.75B). In Ligue 1, the net deficit is €60M ($77.7M), up from the €46M revealed the previous year. The Ligue 2 net deficit increased from €19M during the '10-11 season to €47M ($60.9M). However, debts for the two top leagues remain reasonable at €110M ($142.5M) compared to other neighboring countries. The social and fiscal contribution of football to the state increased from €622M in '10-11 to €640M ($829M) (LFP). The AFP noted for now the LFP "is not giving club-by-club details" regarding the financial results presented by the DNCG (AFP, 11/29).
Superleague Greece club Panathinaikos Athens "is in financial trouble and has difficulties paying the electricity bills for its home ground, the Olympic Stadium," according to the SID. A club spokesperson said, "It is true, there are several unpaid bills that have to be settled. For that reason, we are in constant talks with the stadium management. We expect that these problems will be resolved by the end of the year." One solution that could keep costs down is playing all remaining home games in the afternoon. This would prevent Panathinaikos from piling on additional electricity costs for the operation of the stadium's floodlights (SID, 11/28).
The development of China's professional football league "is closely associated with the real estate industry," as 14 of the 16 teams that comprise the Chinese Super League are owned by realtors or firms with links to the industry, according to the WANT CHINA TIMES. Property tycoons "spend huge amounts of money to support and develop their teams, recruiting internationally renowned players with contracts worth millions of dollars." Of the various sports popular in China, football "tops them all." The "beautiful game has become a platform for the country's super wealthy to parade and exercise their status, wealth and power." Guangzhou Evergrande FC, owned by Evergrande Real Estate Group, "is a conspicuous example." Since '09, the company "has spent big money hiring int'l star coaches and players for the club, greatly boosting its profile." In '10, Evergrande invested 170M yuan ($27M) in the team, rising to 530M yuan ($85M) in '11 and then 370M ($59M) this year. Following Evergrande's lead, each of the 15 other clubs in China's top flight "stepped up their investment in their teams" this year, and so far "total investments in league teams" already exceeds 3B yuan ($480M) (WANT CHINA TIMES, 11/28).