The Financial/Accounting Impact of FFP on Participating in European Competitions: An Analysis of the Spanish League

Alberto Calahorro-López    
Melinda Ratkai and Julio Vena-Oya    


This paper analyses the impact of Financial Fair Play (FFP) on clubs? finances and on the relationship between them and clubs? sporting outcomes in the Spanish league. To this end, financial ratios and accounting variables obtained from the clubs? own annual accounts, published from 2004 to 2019, are analysed, and the Mann?Whitney test is used to describe which differences are significant. The objective is threefold: firstly, we describe the financial/accounting structures of Spanish league football clubs, showing how both their financial statements and ratios have evolved after the application of this law, providing evidence of whether FFP is an adequate tool to guarantee the long-term viability and sustainability of football clubs, as intended by the UEFA. Secondly, we show the relationship between financial/accounting performance and sporting results. Thirdly, the paper looks at whether FFP has impacted the gap between the top clubs and the rest. The results show that, after the implementation of FFP, clubs? financial/accounting health has improved, and a change in their efficiency in this regard can be observed. Although FFP is a tool that achieves the objective for which it was created, the possibility that the gap between the elite clubs and the rest may be increasing should not be ignored.

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