UEFA should review the money it gives football clubs who participate in the Europa League, an expert has said.

UEFA should better support football clubs playing in the Europa League, research shows

UEFA should review the money it gives football clubs who participate in the Europa League because of the financial and logistical difficulties caused by playing in the competition, an expert has said.

Extra funding would help to resolve issues experienced by clubs and increase its popularity, according to Dr Sarah Gilmore, from the University of Exeter Business School.

UEFA, football’s European governing body, has provided generous financial rewards for clubs, but this doesn’t compensate for the demands of extra competition on the squad and management and ensuring they are compliant with the UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations, Dr Gilmore has found.

Manchester United are due to play in the Europa League today, with the final due to be held on 24 May.

Dr Gilmore’s research shows that clubs who qualify for the Europa League are faced with a different set of challenges to those clubs that qualify regularly for the Champions League. It also shows the financial benefits for those playing in the Europa League are not as lucrative as competing in the UEFA Champions League and English Premier League. Competing in the competition has a positive financial benefit for clubs, but this is only significant if the club progresses to the later stages of the competition and has a robust playing squad. UK football league performance of the club can also suffer when a club plays in the Europa League because players get tired.

Dr Gilmore said: “Europa League participation is for most clubs a cause for celebration, and a sign of success. It can be the pinnacle of professional careers. It gives fans the opportunity for a “European tour” to follow their team in new locations playing new opponents.

“But it also creates challenges, most because of the increasingly precarious nature of football club finances. Playing in an extra competition puts significant strains on the playing squad and one of way addressing this is to bolster the pool of available players. This increases costs for the club, particularly those further down the Premier League table who don’t have as big a squad or substantial sports science departments. However, should clubs want to break into the Champions League, a taste of European competition could be useful in the medium term.”

Date: 4 May 2017

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