Concerns over English football's financial wellbeing are set to deepen with the release of a report from UEFA which shows that Premier League clubs owe more money than all other clubs in Europe's top divisions put together.
That is contained in UEFA’s official report, The European Club Footballing Landscape, a copy of which has been seen by The Guardian, which analyses the 2007-08 annual accounts, the latest available, of all 732 clubs licensed by Uefa.
It calculates the combined debts of just 18 Premier League clubs at just under €4bn (£3.5bn), around four times the figure for the next most indebted top division, Spain's La Liga.
Total Premier League debts were higher even than that — only 18 clubs are included in the report because two of the most indebted, Portsmouth and West Ham, were not granted UEFA licences that year.
Premier League made more money from television and commercial income; the next wealthiest was the German Bundesliga, whose clubs made an average €79m.
Yet despite that commercial advantage, the 18 English clubs were hugely more reliant on borrowed money from banks and club owners than the 714 other clubs combined. “English clubs contain on their balance sheets an estimated 56% of Europe-wide commercial debt,” the report says. When it publishes the report in the coming weeks, Uefa will present it as authoritative evidence of the need.