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New Report shows decline of competitive balance in European football

The 40th Monthly Report of the CIES Football Observatory analyses the evolution of competitive balance in 24 European leagues over the last 10 seasons. The study reveals a clear trend towards a greater imbalance. The level of imbalance is particularly marked and on the increase in the big-5 leagues and the Champions League, where the economic divides between teams are very strong.

In 2017/18, big-5 league champions achieved a record of 83.3% of points. This proportion is 10% greater than that measured in 2008/09. Over the ten seasons studied, the biggest average goal difference per match was measured for the UEFA Champions League: 1.58 goals. The premier competition of European football is also that presenting the highest proportion of matches with a goal gap of at least three: 21.0%.

According to the Report, “the concentration of resources goes hand in hand with the concentration of talents. Many teams and leagues are confined to a stepping-stone role for up and coming players. This permits the generation of profits on the transfer market. However, the financial compensations from these transactions are not sufficient to halt the increasing competitive imbalance. The present situation favours the wealthiest clubs. Each day, they increase their sporting, economic and political domination”.