English football clubs chasing Premier League dream ‘risk bankruptcy’
London: English Football League clubs are risking bankruptcy by chasing promotion to the Premier League, where they face “economic exhaustion” trying to compete with established sides, financial experts said on Tuesday.
Between the 2008-09 and 2015-16 seasons, 19 clubs gained promotion from the Championship to the top flight, with Hull, Norwich and QPR going up twice and Burnley three times.
Of these, only Crystal Palace avoided making a loss, with average losses among the 19 of more than £300,000 per week, said the report by Vysyble.
Most clubs made money in their first Premier League season but after four years just one in four was still in the black.
One in three of the clubs was immediately relegated and two in three were down again within three years.
The report highlighted the “economic exhaustion” caused by trying to compete with the more established Premier League clubs.
Vysyble’s Roger Bell said many fans and owners of clubs in the English Football League (EFL) see promotion to the top flight as a “golden ticket to untold riches” but in reality trying to stay in the Premier League is “ultimately loss-making”.
This “financial over-exertion” can lead to long-term problems, Bell said, which cannot be solved by parachute payments to relegated clubs, even though they can now total more than £90 million ($119 million).
“EFL clubs who spend beyond their means are, in fact, risking their futures by chasing a dream that is just that, a dream, and one that is actually more likely to end up as a financial nightmare,” Bell added.
According to the report, Blackburn, Bolton and Fulham are examples of this, while both Aston Villa and Sunderland face similar challenges.
But a spokesman for the EFL said the league was in a strong financial position and that no club had been through an insolvency process for several years.
“Reports of this nature inflame the position and confuse the reality of the situation for supporters,” he added.
The Premier League declined to comment on the report.