UEFA reveals €1.6bn losses for clubs
Europe's top-flight clubs have reported annual losses totalling a jaw-dropping €1.6 billion (£1.3bn), UEFA's latest club licensing report has revealed.
The latest figures, for 2010, show overall losses from the leading leagues around the continent are up from €1.2 billion (£1bn) the year before - a 36% rise.
UEFA said there were some positive changes including a 6.6% rise in overall income, a small drop in the proportion of clubs' revenue going on players' wages, and an increase in the number of home-grown players in the Champions League.
The European governing body said the findings of the club licensing benchmarking report will take on "an increasing significance'' with the financial fair play rules starting to be measured from this season and implemented for European competitions in the 2013-14 season.
A UEFA statement read: "The need for financial fair play measures and strong governance is strongly emphasised by the report findings.
"Whilst the level of losses was one of a number of warning signs that confirms the need for football to act, there were some improvements with the 64% percentage of income spent on employee costs, representing a small decrease on the previous year after four years of rising percentages.''
In Germany, however, the Bundesliga clubs have turned around their finances and recorded a profit after deciding on cost-cutting measures 18 months ago.
The Bundesliga's annual report refers to the 2010-11 season rather than the 2010 financial year which UEFA's report refers to.
The top-flight clubs in Germany posted record revenue of €2.23 billion and profits of €52.5 million compared to a loss the previous year of €78 million. Debt was down by €50 million to €594 million.
Christian Seifert, Bundesliga chief executive, said: "The measures for an improved cost control approved by the clubs in August 2010 have borne fruit.
"With that, professional football continues to have a strong outlook of remaining a success story, also because the Bundesliga is as popular as never before with fans, sponsors and media partners.''