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UEFA report highlights scale of Premier League debt

Premier League clubs' debts are more than the rest of Europe's clubs put together. The figures are contained in a new UEFA report into the state of football's finances, and shows the total debt of the Premier League clubs as being £3.4billion, 56% of the total across Europe.

Premier League clubs' assets are £3.8billion, accounting for a 48% share of the assets among all European clubs.

What is worrying for English clubs however is that the total value of the debt is so close to the value of the assets.

In Spain, which has the next highest debt of £858million, the assets are worth £2.5billion, three times the value of the debts.

In Italy, the debt is £442million and the assets worth £1.3billion.

UEFA's report, the European Club Footballing Landscape, has looked at the 2007-08 accounts from all 732 clubs licensed by football's European governing body.

The 80-page document's analysis of the Premier League reports that many clubs have used their stadiums and grounds as collateral to borrow money.

"Some of the long-term debt is linked to new stadia such as Arsenal's, and in other cases already-built assets provide security for commercial lenders," says the report, adding that the leveraged buy-outs have been "so far acting principally as a burden rather than to support investment or spending".

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