U.K., Scotland Football Club Finance Directors Believe Wealth Gap Is Growing, Survey Finds
The "money men" in English and Scottish football have indicated that the financial rules brought in to "address the huge wealth gap between football clubs risk having the opposite effect," according to Mark Odell of the FINANCIAL TIMES. A survey by accounting firm BDO of 67 finance directors from the Premier League, the three Football League divisions and the Scottish Premiership found that 94% thought the wealth gap between the larger and smaller clubs "was widening." Almost 80% of finance chiefs in the EPL and "more than three-quarters in the Football League Championship said the gap had widened within their own leagues." UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules were introduced in attempt to "stop the big established clubs from sucking in a larger and larger share of the wealth." The survey, however, found that "few football clubs thought the rules were having the desired impact." The "big sponsors that bring much of the money into the game are becoming more discerning about where they spend their money." They are "increasingly concentrating their marketing spend on clubs with brands capable of giving them global coverage." BDO partner and former Chelsea CEO Trevor Birch said, "The top six or seven clubs in the EPL will be able to consolidate their superiority with bigger and better global commercial deals." In all, 90% of respondents said that they had "complied with the rules and thought they were workable, while almost half said they needed refining or changing." But almost two-thirds said that they "did not meet their main aim of promoting sustainability" (FT, 8/15).