DFL chief executive Christian Seifert: “Controlling expenditure remains one of the main challenges.” (Getty)

(WFI) Despite record revenues exceeding 2 billion euros, Germany’s 36 first and second division Bundesliga clubs posted a combined loss last season.

The clubs generated combined revenues of €2.1 billion ($2.9bn) in 2009/10 – an increase of 21.5 percent over the past three years and a record turnover for the sixth consecutive season , the German Football League (DFL) has announced.

The league said the income growth was down to a spike in revenues “in all the core categories”, advertising, media and transfers. The 18 top-division clubs earnt an average of €98.3 million each.

But the Bundesliga clubs recorded an overall loss of more than 103 million euros for the first time since 2003.

The top-flight Bundesliga clubs posted losses of 78 million euros, with three clubs accounting for 93 per cent of the losses. German media reports said these clubs were Cologne, Hertha Berlin and Schalke 04.

Only seven clubs made a profit, the report said.

First-division debts also rose to 644 million euros, up from 610 million on the previous season.

“This is not a positive trend. This is why the league association has taken measures for a stricter licensing procedure,” DFL chief executive Christian Seifert was quoted by the Associated Press. “These figures are not alarming.”

“The Bundesliga continues to find great resonance with fans and sponsors alike. Professional football can therefore look forward to unaltered bright prospects going forward. Controlling expenditure remains one of the main challenges for the licensed game”, Seifert was quoted on the DFL’s website.

Reinhard Rauball, president of the DFL, expressed satisfaction that the Bundesliga had increased revenues to a historic
high of over €2 billion “despite the global financial crisis and economic recession”.

“This is testimony to the dynamic growth experienced by licensed football, particularly over the last few years, growth which takes place from a healthy base thanks to a balanced mix of income from media rights, advertising and gate receipts,” he said in the report.

Germany’s Bundesliga continues to be the best supported league in European football.

“Investments in new stadiums and the conversion of other stadiums into modern arenas offering more comfort and the highest possible level of safety have played an essential role in the continuing, enormous popularity of professional football,” Rauball added.

“After seven record years in succession, spectator figures in the 2009-10 season came to rest at the same high level as that seen last season: almost 12.8 million people visited stadia to watch a Bundesliga match.

“That’s an average of 41,802 spectators per fixture, bringing Germany to the top of the world’s attendance tables, way ahead of the other top European leagues.”

He also remarked on the progress of the DFL’s top clubs and the “great headway” they had made in the last few years, which he hoped would result in at least three German clubs entering the Champions League next season.

“They are now once again able to compete at an international level, thanks in part to the large number of new stars emerging from the league’s own youth academies,” he said.

Rauball added: “The Bundesliga can therefore be expected to overtake Italy and climb to third place in the UEFA five-year rankings this season. If this happens, then three instead of two clubs will definitely go into the Champions League at the start of the 2011-12 season, with another qualification place up for grabs, too.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for the Bundesliga to present itself to even greater advantage on the international stage and to win new fans all over the world.”

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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