How is Scottish Premiership faring in latest Uefa benchmarking report?

Celtic and Aberdeen players
Celtic and Aberdeen were the Scottish Premiership's top two in seasons 2014-15 and 2015-16

Uefa's latest 'benchmarking' report aims to assess the footballing landscape across Europe.

It paints a picture of a sport in improving financial shape across the continent during 2015.

So, how does Scotland's top flight fare?

Revenue streams

Revenues fell in the Scottish Premiership on a number of fronts, most markedly from Uefa itself (down by 58% to 10m euros) and from transfer fees (down 23% to 19m euros).

Also down were broadcast revenue (18% to 17m euros) and sponsorship and commercial revenue (1% to 52m euros).

A cameraman
Broadcast income was not Premiership club's biggest source of revenue over the period in question

The broadcast figure meant the Premiership ranked 16th in Europe in terms of the average sum paid to clubs (1.4m euros) - below leagues in Romania and Poland but above Switzerland and Sweden.

The sponsorship/commercial revenue amounts to 4.3m euros on average (14th in Europe) but this figure, like many of the average totals, is skewed as Celtic's finances dwarf those of the other clubs in almost every category.

Gate money

Revenue from gate money also fell by 11% to 50m euros despite a rise in overall attendances.

The Premiership attracted a total of 2.2m spectators in season 2015-16, up more than 220,000 on the previous season, partly owing to Hearts' return to the top flight.

Only five leagues added more supporters over the same period.

The report shows that no other European league is as reliant on gate money as the Scottish Premiership, with this revenue stream accounting for 37% of total income across the 12 clubs.

Hearts fans
Hearts fans saw their team return to the Premiership in 2015


Scottish football has continued to cut its cloth as income falls. Operating costs fell by 9% to 56m euros (4.6m euros on average per club), placing the Premiership 14th in Europe.

That accounted for 42% of total revenue, similar to many mid-sized leagues across the continent, but significantly more than the cash-rich English Premier League (23%).

Wages dipped by 8% to an aggregate of 87m euros, which is 66% of total revenue - just below Uefa's recommended maximum of 70%.

The report does point out that the disparity between wage bills among the top four clubs in the league and the rest makes a winner from outside that group very unlikely, but in reality - and what is not made clear - Celtic alone account for a sizeable chunk of the aggregate wage bill.

Overall picture

Seven of the Premiership's top 12 during the period in question made a loss after tax.

That figure increases to nine when only operating profits are considered, with four of those clubs' loss margin in excess of 20%.

Darian Mackinnon and Scott McDonald
Premiership clubs appear to be less constrained by debt that many of their European counterparts

The picture looks somewhat rosier in terms of overall debt, with the league not featuring in the top 20 in Europe in terms of liabilities.

In fact in Uefa's table of 'assets to liabilities ratio' no league is better off than the Scottish Premiership.

However, the six-year growth figure (from 2009-2015) looks less healthy, down 65m euros - a rate of -32.8% - worse than any other top 20 league apart from Greece.

Other than the requirement for work permits for non-EU nationals, there is no restriction on foreign players in the Scottish game.

Many other leagues impose minimum or maximum quotas, with Austria distributing a third of the league's TV revenue to clubs that have at least 12 Austrian players or 12 players who were registered in Austria before the age of 18.

Expatriates make up just over 50% of players in the Scottish Premiership and only six other European leagues - including the top two divisions in England - have a higher percentage.