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Socio-economic impact of the Pro League on the Belgian economy

Determining the footprint of Belgian professional football for the season 2021/22

It is the most popular sport in Belgium and it not only engages supporters, but it makes an impact on our economy and society. Discover how the Pro League and the professional football clubs contribute to our lives in our sixth annual report.

While the 2021/22 football season was still impacted by the pandemic as 32 matches were played behind closed doors and the season kicked off with uncertainties such as the Corona Safe Ticket, it marked a strong comeback for the Belgian Pro League and its clubs.

Overall revenues reached an all-time high of €381.5 million. The aftermath of COVID 19, fiscal reforms, a limited European campaign, and soaring labour costs on an international level led to an aggregated loss of €156 million, which is €16 million more than the season 2020/21. However, €14 million can be attributed to the fiscal reforms.

Net transfer results increased by 11% to €42.3 million. A full recovery to pre-pandemic levels was hindered by exceptional losses on outgoing transfers.

Belgian professional football made an economic contribution of €1.2 billion to our nation’s economy. This is a 24% increase on the previous season, yet not quite pre-pandemic levels.

The international war on talent forced Belgian clubs to increase their salary expenditure by 22% in 2021/22. However, the average player salary dropped by 5% to €253,000.

In the last five seasons, Belgian clubs' investments in youth development have grown steadily at an annual rate of 8.4%, reaching a total of €58.1 million in 2021/22. With a budget of €2.5 million and 96,500 participants, Belgian clubs’ social projects surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

The number of social media followers of Belgian clubs increased by 51%, totalling 11.9 million in 2022.

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