Top 14 clubs had a massive average budget of €21.2million last season

The average spend on player wages rose to €7.4million in 2013/14.

Updated at 18.05

A FINANCIAL REPORT published yesterday has revealed that France’s 30 professional rugby clubs accumulated a deficit of almost €34million during the 2013/14 season.

The report was carried out by the Direction nationale d’aide et de contrôle de gestion [DNACG], which essentially acts as the financial watchdog for the Top 14 and Pro D2.

Steffon Armitage Toulon were one of just two Top 14 clubs to post positive financial results in 2013/14. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The DNACG, which is managed by both the LNR and FFR but predominantly answers to the latter, reported an accumulated deficit of €33,891,000 across the two divisions for last season.

That figure is the highest since the creation of the LNR in 1998 and the DNACG says it “confirms the loss-making management of professional rugby as a whole.”

In the 2012/13 season, France’s professional clubs had a total deficit of €32.5m, although the DNACG says the 2014/15 season should see the accumulated figure drop towards €19m as the beneficial effects of a €70 million-per-season TV rights deal are felt.

The DNACG says that three clubs alone contributed €19.7m of last season’s deficit, although the official report does not reveal who they are. Midi Olympique, the French biweekly rugby newspaper, claims the three clubs are Racing Métro, Stade Français and Castres.

It is no surprise that Johnny Sexton’s Racing racked up a notable deficit if true, considering their recently-built training facilities in Le Plessis-Robinson and the ongoing construction of their new ‘Arena 92′ stadium in the western suburbs of Paris.

Toulon and Brive were the only two clubs in France to post positive financial results for the 2013/14 season, according to the DNACG. Such results might come as a surprise to those who view Mourad Boudjellal’s club as excessively big spenders.

In terms of expenditure on players’ salaries, the latest annual DNACG report also makes for interesting reading.

Salaries Source: DNACG

In 2013/14, Top 14 clubs spent an average of €7.4m on players’ wages, a figure that rose from €6m as recently the 2009/10 season. The average expenditure on players’ wages jumped by almost €1m from the 2012/13 season into 2013/14.

As for the overall average budgets for Top 14 clubs, the rise is equally as notable over recent years.

DNACG reports that the average budget for a Top 14 club in 2013/14 was €21.2m, having been as low as €8m in the 2004/05 season.

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Budgets Source: DNACG

The highest Top 14 club budget in 2004/05 was €18m, with that figure standing at close to €35m for the 2013/14 season.

The lowest budget in the Top 14 in 2004/05 was just over €2m, but that rose to almost €11m by the 2013/14 season.

By way of a comparison that is admittedly clunky, the IRFU reported an expenditure of €31,871,014 on professional game costs in 2013/14.

That figures includes “all costs associated with the senior National team including match costs together with the Union’s contribution to the cost of running the four provincial teams.”

It does not, however, include the money spent in other areas such as elite player development [€3.6m], domestic rugby [€9.8m], marketing [€1.3m], grounds [€3m] and administration [€5.2m].

Read the full DNACG report here.

Originally published at 13.52

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