Football Finances Under Scrutiny

PKF (remember Bryan Jackson?) questioned fifty clubs in this year's survey including an unspecified number from the SPL. The main finding is that the gap between the top and bottom teams continues to widen with the big guns seeming to have given up with last season's trend for reducing players' wages. As a result wages in lower divisions are also on the rise causing much concern to financial directors.

Findings suggest that ticket sales and income from TV and radio are of equal importance to SPL clubs. Almost half of the clubs surveyed reported that their biggest rise in income came from increased ticket sales though whether this is from increased charges or higher gates is not made clear.

Sixty percent of SPL clubs do not expect an increase in sponsorship revenue and the same number expect to make some sort of profit over the year. In terms of wages, it seems that many SPL clubs “have given up on cutting payroll costs with none of them cutting salary budgets”. It may be in our case that the harsh pruning which followed the period of interim administration reduced saw it hit the lowest level which enabled survival and that no further reductions were thought to be desirable.

Most clubs believe that the size of their playing squads will not change this season but that their first team payroll costs will increase.

The trend towards increasing the proportion of wages which is performance related seems to be falling. Most clubs calculate that between 10% - 25% of wages are paid on the basis of results. The views about players' agents is clear, most clubs feel that they add cost for little benefit.

The biggest concern expressed by the financial directors was to do with the inflexibility of players' salaries and the loss of income which would follow relegation. There were few who were worried by attracting sponsors, resistance in season ticket price increases or potential falls in TV income.

Few of these views will come as a surprise to those who keep an eye on the financial goings on at Fir Park but the old adage which warns about spending money you don't have seems to remain the best guiding light for Motherwell FC.

The full report can be downloaded from here.