Wages in League of Ireland rise by 28pc
A new UEFA report has detailed how wage levels are on the rise in the League of Ireland, and the importance of European income is growing.
The governing body's annual benchmarking report looks at the finances of its 55 member leagues under a variety of headings.
Their latest figures touch on the 2016 financial year, a slightly unique one in the local context with Dundalk pocketing the bulk of their European rewards from their extraordinary €6.5m run during this period.
In that context, the fact that 43pc of the League of Ireland's €19m revenue came from UEFA channels - a figure in excess of €8m - can be attributed largely to the exploits of Dundalk and Cork in Europe.
In all, 32pc of revenue came from commercial and sponsorship opportunities, with 21pc taken from gate receipts and 4pc from other sources. Just 1pc of revenue comes from transfer proceeds and the absence of a TV deal is another factor that sets the League of Ireland apart from the high-earning leagues.
Significantly, local spending on wages went up 28pc in 2016, meaning an average spend of €700,000 per club with 70pc of that going on players.
Ireland are ranked 37th out of 55 in terms of spending on wages, but the 47pc wage to revenue ratio is skewed considerably by the bonus year for Euro funds which only succeeded in helping Dundalk and, to a considerably lesser extent, Cork.
For example, in 2015, gate receipts were responsible for 31pc of revenue - the third highest reliance in Europe - and the reduction for 2016 can only be attributed to Dundalk's special year. 2017 will be more reflective of the overall health after modest European performances.
League chief Fran Gavin was at Dalymount Park yesterday to launch the Bohemians 'More Than a Club' plan, which is a EU-funded initiative that has given two SSE Airtricity League clubs two full-time and one part-time staff to work on community projects.
Cork were the other club selected, but it's questions over Bray and Limerick that hang over the Premier Division heading into the new season. Gavin admitted Bray's financial issues last year were not the league's 'greatest hour' and said the FAI have 'strongly' made that point in the ongoing licensing process.
Limerick owner Pat O'Sullivan has called for support, and Gavin would like him to get it from interested parties in the locality. Gavin promised to offer an updated take on all clubs' health and news on prize-money at next month's league launch.