Several British clubs likely to go out of business

LONDON - Several British football clubs are in danger of going out of existence because of falling revenues exacerbated by huge wage bills, according to a leading insolvency lawyer.

In an interview with Reuters, Danny Davis, a partner in the London law firm Mishcon de Reya, said he circulated a general insolvency alert every week within the firm.

"I would say for the last two months there's been a football club in there every week. Not necessarily ones that are in administration but those that are on the brink," he said.

"Most football clubs appear to be in real financial difficulty. Football clubs tend to operate over and above their revenue.

"The real issues at the moment are that not enough people are going to the games, not enough people are watching them on television, the revenue is deteriorating, advertising is dropping.

"I think we are going to see some of these clubs go out of existence. At the moment they can just about go into administration and find some sort of low-level finance to keep them going."

Davis said huge wage bills were a primary reason for the parlous position of so many clubs.

"One of the reasons football clubs don't have too much money is that they pay their players too much money comparative to their operating income," he said.

"However, if a club goes into administration, it's unlike administration in any other industry, because to retain membership the club either has to pay or reach a compromise with the creditors.

"And if you don't you can't play in our game. You don't keep your share in the football league or the Premier League, everybody has to be paid or you have to reach an agreement.

"You are led to believe as a man on the street that football's awash with money. Up to a point that's right because TV money is enormous, it's absolutely enormous. But you don't have to look very far to see where that goes."