Playground bullies: Big teams are getting obese while the rest are fighting for scraps

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December 6 – The big are getting bigger and the small are falling further behind. That is the conclusion of a study into the competitive balance within European club fooball by the CIES Football Observatory.

The study examines the competitive balance in 24 European leagues over the past 10 seasons finding “a clear trend towards a greater imbalance.”

The growing imbalance is not just between Europe’s national leagues but also within the big-5 leagues and the Champions League, described by the report authors as being “particularly marked” and “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.”

See the full report at

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