The majority of Belgium’s professional football clubs are in the red. This is the conclusion of an article written in the Dutch-speaking version of Trends on Thursday. The authors of the article, Patrick Claerhout and Luc Huysmans, consider that the objectives of the licensing system instigated by Royal Belgian Football Association have not been met, and that the general financial situation of clubs depends, to a large extent, on outgoing transfers.
There are red flags around the general situation of the twenty-four professional clubs. Half of the teams in the Jupiler Pro League for the coming season are showing operational losses in their 2015-2016 accounts. This is so although global losses across the league have reduced from €39.2 million to €12.3 million in two years.
For clubs in the Proximus League, the situation is at least as worrying with figures in the red for three-quarters of Division 1B clubs.
By way of comparison, the elite clubs had €4 million of profits following 2007-2008 season and a TV contract brought in €45 million. In 2017, this contract went up to €65 million, but this was not enough for the majority of clubs.
Henceforth the financial model depends upon transfer earnings. Again the authors state that these are random from one season to another. The clubs in the play-offs come off best. Anderlecht, Club Bruges, Ghent and Genk are in the most healthy position financially. Malines and Charleroi are currently recovering well.
The authors of the report go further saying that Standard Liège has recorded an operational loss of €12 million d’euros. Ostend is dependent on its President/Sponsor Marc Coucke. Without him, the KVO would be virtually in liquidation. For “small” clubs, the situation is disconcerting.
The report authors say that clubs are not controlling their costs. Their goal is sports success, not to make profits.