The influx of private equity capital shakes up European football

Billionaires in search of “trophy assets” and ready to spend lavishly on the purchase of players, yes. But funds that require a financial return, the idea goes very badly in European football. From Germany to Italy via Spain, private equity investors, who are drowning in cash, are struggling to open the doors of the football leagues and their juicy commercial rights.

The finding of the European Association of Football Clubs (ECA) is however clear: the pandemic has generated more than 8 billion euros in lost revenue. “Clubs today have a critical need for cash to enable them to honor their short-term financial commitments”, alerted in December Michael Verschueren, the president of the financial commission of the association, calling for tightening the rules of the financial fair play (which prevents clubs from spending more than they earn). Club debt has exploded, and some are facing an “existential threat”, said Hugo Hamon, ECA’s financial manager.

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