Main Article Content

Pedro Garcia-del-Barrio
Universitat Internacional de Catalunya
Giambattista Rossi
Birkbeck University of London
United Kingdom
Vol. 9 No. 2 (2020), Articles, pages 119-142
Submitted: Dec 14, 2019 Accepted: Feb 20, 2020 Published: Jul 24, 2020
How to Cite


Institutional and legal reforms applied in the context of sports competitions often provoke structural changes that can be empirically investigated. Using a data set of 560 observations (20 teams per season, from 2009/10 to 2015/16, of teams playing in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1), this paper examines how the UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations may have altered the football clubs’ decisions concerning their sport and financial priorities. Moreover, based on a simple theoretical description, the paper shows that the increasing financial stability promoted by the FFP rules might actually imply – as an undesired side effect – a declined competitive balance affecting the European football leagues. Finally, the paper discusses some policy issues and recommendations.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details


Aguiar-Noury, A., and Garcia-del-Barrio, P. (2019). Global Brands in Soccer: Identifying low-risk projects and business opportunities, Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, 8(1), 62-83.

Andreff, W. (2012). Sport events, economic impact and regulation. In Michel Desbordes and André Richelieu (Eds.), Global Sport Marketing: Contemporary Issues and Practice. (Chapter 5).

Backman, J. (1968). Is Advertising Wasteful? Journal of Marketing, 32(1), 2-8.

Barajas, A., and Rodriguez, P. (2010). Spanish Football Clubs’ Finances: Crisis and Player Salaries. International Journal of Sport Finance, 5(1), 52-66.

Caporale, T., and Collier, T.C. (2015). Are We Getting Better or Are They Getting Worse? Draft Position, Strength of Schedule, and Competitive Balance in the National Football League. Journal of Labor Research, 36(3), 291-300.

Carmichael, F., McHale, I., and Thomas, D. (2011). Maintaining market position: team performance, revenue and wage expenditure in the English premier league, Bulletin of Economic Research, 63(4), 464-497.

Caro, C. A., and Elder, A. (2017). The relationship between spending and winning in college baseball: Is this the new ‘arms race’ in college athletics? International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 12(3), 381-397.

Coates, D., and Humphreys, B. R. (2012). Game attendance and outcome uncertainty in the National Hockey League. Journal of Sports Economics, 13(4), 364-377.

Deloitte ARFF (2000-2019). Annual Review of Football Finance. Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.

Deloitte DFML (1997-2019). Football Money League. Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.

Dietl, H., Franck, E., and Lang, M. (2008). Overinvestment in team sports leagues: A contest theory model, Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 55, 353-368.

Dietl, H. M., Lang, M., and Rathke, A. (2009). The effect of salary caps in professional team sports on social welfare’, The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, 9(1), 129-151.

Dietl, H. M., Grossmann, M., and Lang, M. (2011). Competitive Balance and Revenue Sharing in Sports Leagues With Utility-Maximizing Teams. Journal of Sports Economics, 12(3), 284-308.

Edwards, H. (1984). The collegiate athletic arms race: Origins and implications of the “Rule 48” controversy. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 8(1), 4-22.

Forrest, D., and Simmons, R. (2002). Team salaries and playing success in sports: a comparative perspective. Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft, 72(4), 221-238.

Franck, E. (2014). Financial Fair Play in European Club Football - What is it All About? University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration, UZH Business Working Paper No. 328.

Gallagher, R., and Quinn, B. (2019). Regulatory own goals: the unintended consequences of economic regulation in professional football. European Sport Management Quarterly. Online: 3 April 2019.

García, J., and Rodríguez, P. (2002). The determinants of football match attendance revisited: Empirical evidence from the Spanish football league. Journal of Sports Economics, 3(1), 18-38.

Garcia-del-Barrio, P. (2018). Media Value in Global Sports: Football versus Formula One, International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 18(3), 241-266.

Garcia-del-Barrio, P. and Pujol, F. (2020). Recruiting talent in a global sports market: Appraisals of soccer players’ transfer fees. Managerial Finance, Forthcoming.

Garcia-del-Barrio, P., and Szymanski, S. (2009). Goal! Profit maximization and win maximization in football leagues, Review of Industrial Organization, 34(1): 45-68.

Garcia-del-Barrio, P., and Tena-Horrillo, J. D. (2019). Investment in Talent and Visibility in the Media: A Study of Professional Football in Europe. In Jaume García (Ed.), Sports (and) Economics (pp. 271-294). FUNCAS Social and Economic Studies, 7. Madrid, Spain.

Ghio, A.; Ruberti, M., and Verona, R. (2019). Financial constraints on sport organizations' cost efficiency: the impact of financial fair play on Italian soccer clubs. Applied Economics, 51(24), 2623-2638.

Hausman, J. (1978). Specification Tests in Econometrics. Econometrica, 46, 1251-1271.

Heiskanen, A. (2017). UEFA Financial Fair Play’s effect on the salary-to-revenue ratios of European professional football clubs – evidence from top-5 football leagues in Europe.

Hoffer, A., Humphreys, B. R., Lacombe, D. J., and Ruseski, J. E. (2015). Trends in NCAA Athletic Spending: Arms Race or Rising Tide? Journal of Sports Economics, 16(6), 576-596.

Lazear, E.P., and Rosen, S. (1981). Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts. Journal of Political Economy, 89(5), 841-864.

Litan R., Orszag J. and Orszag P. (2003). The empirical effects of collegiate athletics: An interim report. (Commissioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association). Retrieved from:

Madden, P. (2015). Welfare Economics of “Financial Fair Play” in a Sports League With Benefactor Owners. Journal of Sports Economics, 16(2), 159-184.

Neale, P. (1964). The peculiar economics of professional sports: a contribution to the theory of the firm in sporting competition and in market competition. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 78(1), 1-14.

Orszag, J. M., and Orszag, P. R. (2005). The Physical Capital Stock Used in Collegiate Athletics. Indianapolis, IN: National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Orszag, J. M., and Israel, M. (2009). The Empirical Effects of Collegiate Athletics: An Update Based on 2004-2007 Data. Indianapolis, IN: National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Owen, D. (2014). Measurement of competitive balance and uncertainty of outcome. Chapter 3 in: Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football (Ed.: Goddard, J.; Sloane, P. J.). Edward Elgar. Cheltenham, UK - Norhampton, MA, USA.

Pawlowski, T., and Anders, C. (2012). Stadium attendance in German professional football–The (un)importance of uncertainty of outcome reconsidered. Applied Economic Letters, 19, 1553-56.

Peeters, T., and Szymanski, S. (2014). Financial fair play in European football. Economic Policy, 29(78), 343-390.

Rohde, M., and Breuer, C. (2016). Europe’s Elite Football: Financial growth, sporting success, transfer investment, and private majority investors. International Journal of Financial Studies, 4(2), 12.

Rottenberg, S. (1956). The baseball players labor market. Journal of Political Economy, 64(3), 242-58.

Sanderson, A. R. (2002). The Many Dimensions of Competitive Balance. Journal of Sports Economics, 3(2), 204-228.

Szymanski, S., and Smith, R. (1997). The English football industry: profit, performance and industrial structure. International Review of Applied Economics, 11(1), 135-153.

Szymanski, S. (2006). The future of football in Europe. In Placido Rodriguez, Stefan Kesenne, and Jaume Garcia (Eds.), Sports Economics After Fifty Years: Essays in Honour of Simon Rottenberg, Oviedo, Spain: University of Oviedo.

Torgler, B., and Schmidt, S. L. (2007). What shapes player performance in soccer? Empirical findings from a panel analysis. Applied Economics, 39(18), 2355-2369.

Tsitsos, W., and Nixon II, H.L. (2012). The Star Wars Arms Race in College Athletics: Coaches’ Pay and Athletic Program Status. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 36(1), 68-88.

Tullock, G. (1980). Efficient rent-seeking; In J.M. Buchanan, R.D. Tollison and G. Tullock (Eds.): Toward a theory of rent-seeking society. College Station: Texas A.andM. University Press.

UEFA (2010). UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations, Lyon.

Vöpel, H. (2011). Do we really need financial fair play in European Club Football? An Economic Analysis, CESIfo DICE Report.