Europe's leading football clubs maintained revenue growth despite recent global financial turmoil, but have failed to control escalating salaries.
The annual study of football finances by accounting firm Deloitte found that revenue at clubs in the top leagues - England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France - rose by 4 percent in the 2010-11 season to (euro) 16.9 billion, which converted to $24.5 billion at the time of the study.
But Deloitte warned that wage costs are growing at a faster pace than revenues, with salaries soaring by more than (euro) 100 million to exceed (euro) 5.6 billion (then (euro) 8.1 billion).
"Cost control continues to be European club football's greatest challenge," Adam Bull, a consultant in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said. 'The wages to revenue ratio across Europe's 'big five' leagues has increased from 60 percent to 66 percent over the last five years."
The 2010-11 season was the last before UEFA started taking figures into account for its financial fair play calculations where clubs have to break even or risk being excluded from European competitions from 2014.
Premier League wages grew the most, by 14 percent to (euro) 1.8 billion ($2.6 billion), but the 20 clubs generate the most revenue in Europe - (euro) 2.5 billion ($3.6 billion).
Spain's La Liga is third-ranked by revenue - (euro) 1.72 billion ($2.5 billion) - but pays the second-highest wages in Europe at (euro) 1 billion (then $1.5 billion).
The Bundesliga remained the most profitable league with a 25 percent increase in operating profits to (euro) 171 million ($248 million), compared with (euro) 75 million ($109 million) in England.
"The German Bundesliga has the highest average attendances in European football (42,100) which, when combined with an increase in commercial revenues from Europe's largest economy, helped maintain its second placed revenue ranking," Dan Jones of Deloitte said. "The additional UEFA Champions League spot for Germany from 2012-13 and 50 percent lift in domestic league broadcasting rights from 2013/14 will help continue the Bundesliga's impressive recent revenue growth and secure its status as the Premier League's closest rival in revenue terms."