The arms race in French club rugby continues to produce staggering numbers, with just two Top 14 clubs recording a profit last season.
A report released this week by the Direction nationale de contrôle de gestion (DNCG) – French rugby's financial watchdog – outlined the massive amounts of money being spent across the country's two professional leagues, the Top 14 and the Pro D2.
The report, which covers the spending of the top 30 clubs in France during the 2013/14 season, puts the average Top 14 club budget at €21.2m, with €7.4m of that going to player wages, which represents a €1m rise on the 2012/13 campaign.
The highest Top 14 club budget was close to €35m for the season.
However, the most alarming number to come out of the report is the collective budgetary deficit of €33,891,000 across the two divisions for last season, showing an increase from around €32.5m in 2012/13.
Three clubs – not named in the report but believed to be Racing Metro, Stade Français and Castres – are responsible for more than half that figure.
Only two Top 14 clubs, defending champions Toulon and Brive, managed to finish the season in the black.
The deficit is the highest since the creation of the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) in 1998, prompting the DNACG to comment that it “confirms the loss-making management of professional rugby as a whole.”
The deficit is expected to drop to around €19m for the 2014/15 season thanks to the new €70 million-per-season TV rights deal signed with Canal .
Read the full report here.