Manchester United have been predicted to return to the top of football’s ‘Money League’ for the first time in 12 years as English clubs increase their financial stranglehold on the game in Europe.
United’s return to the top of the Deloitte’s money league has been forecast despite the club dropping into third place in the latest rankings behind Real Madrid and Barcelona, mainly due to last’s season Champions League absence.
However, United’s return to Europe’s elite club competition and the impact of huge new adidas sponsorship deal should see United take over at the top of from the Spanish giants for the first time since 2004.
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English clubs dominate the top 30 of the world’s richest clubs – no fewer than 17 of the 20 Premier League clubs are ranked in the top 30 – and their position will become even stronger from next season when the huge new Premier League TV deals – expected to top £8billion over three years – come on stream.
On a European level, Italian clubs’ financial struggles are continuing. Inter Milan have almost dropped out of the top 20 and are set to be overtaken by the likes of Leicester City and Southampton in future years.
Real Madrid have topped the latest list, based on revenue from the 2014/15 season, for the 11th year in a row, with Barcelona leapfrogging United into second spot. Bayern Munich have fallen to fifth spot, their lowest position since 2006/07.
Tim Bridge, senior manager at Deloitte, said: “Despite a reduction in revenue year-on-year, the fact that Manchester United remain in the top three of the money league demonstrates the underlying strength of the club’s business model.
“The return to Champions League football, as well as the commencement of a number of significant commercial partnerships, will only strengthen the business in 2015/16. With this in mind, it would not be surprising to see United top next year’s Money League for the first time in 12 years, with the club forecasting revenues of around £500million.”
In the latest rankings, Arsenal have gone above Chelsea into seventh place, one behind Manchester City while Liverpool are the other Premier League club in the top 10, in ninth spot.
English were also helped by a 10 per cent strengthening of sterling against the euro and a record nine Premier League clubs are now ranked within the top 20 including West Ham.
Bridge added: “Despite disappointing performances by Premier League clubs in recent European competitions, they continue to lead the way in revenue terms. This is again testament to the phenomenal broadcast success of the English Premier League and the relative equality of its distributions, giving its non-Champions League clubs particularly a considerable competitive advantage internationally.
“With the new round of Premier League broadcast deals set to deliver greatly improved domestic broadcast revenues in 2016/17, we expect to see Premier League clubs cementing their places in the top 30 in the coming years, with potential for some of these to climb into the top 20.”
The financial strength of the Premier League helps explain the competitiveness within the league – the likes of Everton, Stoke and West Ham can now outbid many of the top clubs in Italy, Spain, Germany and France for players.