To read this content please select one of the options below:

Football clubs’ profitability after the Financial Fair Play regulation: evidence from Italy

Mario Nicoliello (Dipartimento di Economia e Management, Universita degli Studi di Pisa, Pisa, Italy)
Davide Zampatti (Dipartimento di Economia e Management, Universita degli Studi di Brescia, Brescia, Italy )

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 12 September 2016




In 2009, the Union of European Football Associations approved the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. These regulations refer to the requirements of transparency and financial conditions for football clubs participating in European competitions. The purpose of this paper is to combine the managerial and the economic points-of-view in order to understand if Italian football clubs are ready to comply with the new FFP rules.


In the analysis, the authors focus on the main Italian football league, Serie A. Using business model analysis, the authors determine what the main profit determinants of football associations are, through panel data for 15 clubs from 2011-2013. The authors then try to match the statistical and managerial approach.


The results show that the key contributing factors to profits are on the costs side. In particular, the most relevant expenses are player wages. The core revenue for clubs comes from the net profit from player trading, while other income, such as TV rights, commercial and match-day proceeds, have no statistical significance for profit formation.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of the analysis is that the survey regarded only on Italian Championship. So it is deeply influenced by the competitive structure of the Italian league that is different from that of other European leagues. Therefore, the authors think that the future developments of this work could be the examination of another European Championship, for example, English Premier League, and the compared analysis of Italian league and other European one.

Practical implications

There is a close-link between costs and profitability, and especially between expenditure on players and the ability to close the financial year with a profit. Clubs must address the issue of player wages in order to follow a path of economic recovery towards profitability.


In the work the authors put together managerial point of view and economical one, in order to understand how FFP can impact on profitability of football clubs. The authors use an empirical econometrics model to test the hypothesis about business model of Italian Clubs.



Nicoliello, M. and Zampatti, D. (2016), "Football clubs’ profitability after the Financial Fair Play regulation: evidence from Italy", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 460-475.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles