Leading European Soccer Teams Have Financial Future Doubts, UEFA Says

More than one in eight top-tier European soccer clubs have doubts about remaining a going concern, continental ruling body UEFA said on its website, citing auditor reports from the 2009 financial year.

While total revenue of teams in the top divisions climbed to a record 11.7 billion euros ($15.1 billion), their net losses almost doubled to 1.2 billion euros, UEFA said, adding there was “massive” spending on player wages.

Nyon, Switzerland-based UEFA announced in 2009 that it’s aiming to secure the future of teams with rules that stop them spending more than they earn, beginning in 2012. Teams that don’t comply risk being excluded from the region’s top competition, the Champions League.

The measure will help clubs “exit an infernal spiral which prevents certain of them from having a viable medium-term or long-term model,” UEFA President Michel Platini said, according to the organization’s website.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of the European Club Association that represents 197 teams, said clubs need “more rationality,” according to the UEFA website. The European ruling body said total transfer debts of top-tier teams in 2009 amounted to 2.2 billion euros.

Last year, Portsmouth became the first English Premier League team to seek creditor protection. Top-tier Real Mallorca was among clubs in Spain to do the same.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Duff in Madrid at aduff4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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