Financial Fair Play in European Football

48 Pages Posted: 31 May 2014

See all articles by Thomas Peeters

Thomas Peeters

University of Antwerp

Stefan Szymanski

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Date Written: April 2014


In 2010 UEFA, the governing body of European football, announced a set of financial restraints, which clubs must observe when seeking to enter its competitions, notably the UEFA Champions League. We analyse the financial and sporting impact of these ‘Financial Fair Play’ (FFP) regulations in four major European football leagues. We first discuss the details of FFP and frame these regulations in the institutional set‐up of the European football industry. We then show how the break‐even constraint embedded in FFP could substantially reduce average payrolls and wage‐to‐turnover ratios, while strengthening the position of the traditional top teams. Since the benefits of the break‐even rule to consumers remain unclear, we argue that these rent‐shifting regulations might fall foul of European competition law.

Suggested Citation

Peeters, Thomas and Szymanski, Stefan, Financial Fair Play in European Football (April 2014). Economic Policy, Vol. 29, Issue 78, pp. 343-390, 2014. Available at SSRN: or

Thomas Peeters (Contact Author)

University of Antwerp

Prinsstraat 13
Antwerp, Antwerp 2000

Stefan Szymanski

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

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