The Money League: what does it all mean?


The annual Deloitte money league that charts the world’s richest clubs was revealed today, and with it come further evidence that English clubs, most notably Manchester United, are falling further and further behind their Spanish rivals when it comes to perfecting the art of making money.


Real Madrid top the charts having generated a whopping €479 million in 2010/11 while Barcelona trail slightly behind having made €451 million, with United occupying third spot with €367 million generated in the last tax year.


That outcome marks the seventh straight year Madrid have been able to boast the highest revenues out of Europe’s richest clubs, with the report suggesting that the gap between English and Spanish teams is unlikely to narrow anytime soon.


The Deloitte money list is calculated only on revenue generated by each club in the previous year, and is therefore not indicative of the overall financial health of any given club, with the Glazer family debt at United not taken into account.


Last year’s list showed that Madrid generated €439 million worth of income for 2009/10 while United in third behind Barca, as is the case this year, made a total just short of €350 million. While both clubs will be delighted with the continual growth in revenues despite the tough economical climate, it is worrying for United that their growth can’t keep pace with their rivals.


Madrid’s figures are up a healthy €40 million from last year while United show a not inconsiderable growth of €17 million from the year before, the previous gap between the two of €89 million has increased to €112 million.


United of course occupied top spot for eight consecutive years at the turn of the century as their brand spread across the globe, cornering untapped markets particularly in Asia.


But it appears now that the strength of the Real Madrid brand is proving too much for United to keep pace with, while the Spanish club’s ability to negotiate their own T.V rights deal rather than as part of the league, continues to help them and hinder English clubs.


With Barcelona narrowly behind their arch rivals in the money list, the Catalan club will be hoping the announcement of a multi-million pound shirt sponser deal will boost them up to top spot and distance themselves from United next year having previously donated the space on the front of their shirts to Unicef.


Having previously dominated the list United face the ignominy of falling even further behind at exactly the wrong time as the introduction of Financial Fair Play looming on the horizon.


The rules of financial fair play stipulate that clubs can only spend what they generate over a period of time, meaning United’s failure to gain qualification for the Champions League knockout stages this season could stunt their growth in the near future, while benefiting both Spanish clubs who will have hopes of going all the way and boosting their revenues.


According to rough estimates, club’s gain £3 million for getting to the qualifying rounds of the Champions League, another £3 million for reaching the group phase; then there's roughly £20 million up for grabs in the group stage itself, including £1.2 million in prize money alone for winning each match. A figure of approximately £70 million is up for grabs if a club goes all the way.


So with United instead competing in the Europa League they stand to miss out on millions of pounds worth of T.V money, money for progressing to the final stages and gate receipts their ability to bring in players and grow as a club could face restriction because of their failure to make any real progress in Europe.


Of course, you only have to cast your mind back a few years to see English clubs regularly competing in the final of the Champions League, and success in Europe and being at the sharp end of the money league go hand in hand.


Now, with both Spanish clubs seemingly unstoppable on the pitch and off it, it may be sometime before any English club tops the list once more.


Further down the list there was some cause for optimism that English clubs could make a move up the list, with Liverpool (ninth) recently announcing a record kit deal with Warrior Sports that should see them move up the list by next year, although participation in the Champions League will help significantly, while Etihad’s continued sponsorship of Manchester City plus their growing success thanks to on the pitch matters should also see them move up.


For Tottenham, 11th in the money list, their long term financial future rests largely on their ability to make it back into the Champions Legaue on a regular basis, something that is looking increasingly possible, but they will also be desperate to sort out a new stadium.


With a move to the Olympic Stadium in Straford vetoed, plans to develop the nearby Northumberland Park area with a new 60,000 all-seater stadium have been looked at again.


If Spurs hope to maintain their on-pitch success of recent years they must be able to compete with the big European clubs, and a increased revenue stream from regular European football and gate receipt from an expanded stadium would be very beneficial indeed.


Football Money League Top 10

1. Real Madrid: 479.5m euros

2. Barcelona: 450.7m euros

3. Man Utd: 367m euros

4. Bayern Munich: 321.4m euros

5. Arsenal: 251.1m euros

6. Chelsea: 249.8m euros

7. AC Milan: 235.1.m euros

8. Inter: 211.4m euros

9. Liverpool: 203.3m euros

10. Schalke: 202.4m euros.

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