Home » Another record loss for our professional football clubs: 193 million euros in the red

Another record loss for our professional football clubs: 193 million euros in the red

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Our professional football clubs have combined for another record loss. The 25 professional teams from the Jupiler Pro League and Challenger Pro League together lost no less than 193 million euros. The loss has never been higher. However, the Pro League, the collection of professional clubs, sees bright spots.

With a record loss of 46.5 million euros, Antwerp is by far the worst student in the class. Standard (20 million euros loss), AA Gent (19 million), OH Leuven (19 million euros loss), Lommel (14 million and Zulte Waregem (12 million) are also in deep red figures. Club Brugge, Union, STVV, KV Kortrijk and Cercle Brugge are the only ones of the 25 professional football teams that make a profit. In the case of Union and Cercle Brugge, that profit comes through a substantial capital increase of the owner of 9 million and 15 million euros respectively. Lierse’s loss (161,676 euros) is negligible.

Lorin Paris. — © BELGA

“There is certainly still work to be done,” says Lorin Parys, CEO of the Pro League. “These are high figures. I want to put them into perspective in the sense that a quarter of the clubs account for two-thirds of the losses. The reasons are too high salaries, the financial settlement with the TV channels after Covid and the additional tax burden after the abolition of tax benefits for the clubs.”

profit and loss of our clubs in 2023

The table looks mainly red.

Parys says that we are working hard on it. “We have introduced some rules to limit these losses. We are on the right track there. The mandatory positive assets in the longer term, the squad spent ratio (the salary costs of the core players, measured against the club’s income, ed.) which will ultimately have to be reduced to 70 percent.”

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For next season, the limit for the squad spent ratio has been set at 90 percent. Seraing (92 percent), Dender (93 percent), Beveren (100 percent), RWDM (115 percent), Cercle Brugge (115 percent) and Lommel (152 percent) are now above that.

Paul Gheysens. — © ANP / Gerrit van Keulen

In the meantime, Antwerp (34 million euros) has knocked Brussels rival Anderlecht (32 million euros) from second place as the club with the largest wage costs. Club Brugge remains by far the number one there. Lierse from the Challenger Pro League has wage costs of barely 1.2 million euros.

“At the winter mercato, our clubs raised 67 million euros, 27 million euros more than last season,” Parys added. “That may brighten up the figures next season, but it also means that the clubs take the measures into account.”

Ostend points deduction again

Sanctions are imposed on clubs that are not in order. KV Oostende already received a points deduction of three points and it will happen again. The American owner did not follow up on files regarding Financial Fairplay and Viability of Belgian Professional Football: some payments were not made. The second division receives a fine of 177,500 euros and starts the next season with one point below zero. Ostend does not intend to challenge that sanction.

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