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More bleak news from finance survey

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PKF Football Industry Group has produced its latest Leagues Apart Survey of the finances of football clubs based on the responses of finance directors and it makes for bleak reading.   The report argues that the divide between rich and poor in football is growing.

One note of caution is that while the overall response rate is a respectable 61 per cent, it does fall to 45 per cent in the case of the Premier League.   However, the general trends revealed are informative, particularly in the case of the Championship.

Two out of every three English and Scottish clubs that responded faced significant cash flow challenges with a majority preparing to sell players or seek support from a benefactor before the end of the season.

Charles Bennett, the head of PKF's Football Industry Group, noted that 'with the exception of some Premier League clubs, it is becoming increasingly difficult to run a club without losing money.'

Finance directors in the top three divisions in England all named players' salaries as one of their two biggest concerns over the next year.   Only one in four clubs in the Championship would consider their finances to be 'very healthy', a figure that falls to one in five in League 1.   In the Scottish Premier League, the number falls to one in six.

More than half of Championship clubs expect a fall in matchday ticket sales this season, with a similar fall in the corporate boxes.   Many are borrowing against future revenues with one in five clubs in the Championship having received an advance on next year's season ticket incomes and almost one in three on future transfer fees.

Championship finances are always a particular concern because clubs can be tempted to over spend to reach the promised land of the Premier League.   Many hear the siren call of the Premiership, but, of course, only a few can be chosen.