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Competitiveness of the English Premier League (1992-2010) and ten European football leagues (2010)


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This paper examines the state of competitiveness in top division football leagues in ten European countries. Potential factors that might affect, or be influenced by, competitive balance are also explored. Using alternative indicators of competitive balance, the research found that with the passage of time the English Premier League has become less competitive, which coincides with the growing incidence of overseas investment in English clubs. The French Ligue 1 emerged as the most competitive league (out of ten) in Europe on most indicators in 2010, whereas the Dutch Eredivise was the least balanced. Further investigation revealed a strong statistically significant relationship between league competitiveness and league size (number of clubs) and a moderately strong, albeit insignificant, effect of a league's competitive balance on its popularity (attendance). However, the link between competitiveness and the perceived quality of countries' football leagues (as per UEFA association rankings) was relatively modest and insignificant. The findings provide a useful baseline for examining the effect of UEFA's financial fair play regulations on the competitiveness of football leagues across key European markets in the years to come.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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