Reuters today reported a study released by Professor Gay of the University of Barcelona that criticized the amount spent by all 20 clubs playing in the Spanish Primera Liga. His research covers the period between 1999 and 2008. Last year alone (2008), he calculated debts racked up by all the clubs increased by €650 million for a total of €3.5 billion.
“We are faced with a situation where the economic life blood of the clubs is seeping away,” the professor said.
He has urged the Spanish authorities to act to force clubs to stop living beyond their means and warned of their financial collapse if left unregulated. This sentiment was also recently echoed by Primera Liga club’s Osasuna president, Francisco Izco, in a Reuters interview last week.
For their part, Spain’s Professional Football League, LFP, stated they will have an emailed reply to the study by this Friday.
The study showed that the club with the largest debt in the 2007/2008 financial year was Real Madrid, owing a staggering €563 million, followed by Atletico Madrid owing €511 million, while Valencia racked up €502 million. FC Barcelona by that financial year was €438 million in the red (though his study also claims, the club’s policy of bringing up its own youth players and debt-payment rescheduling is a more sustainable economic strategy).
To prove the professor’s case, Valencia CF officials recently admitted that they have to sell some of their top players and even delay players’ wage payments. They also have to shelve plans for a new stadium due to their financial woes.
However, these phenomena is not isolated to the Spanish Primera Liga alone, as there are several other leagues that face these dilemma including the English Premier League.