Monday, March 1, 2010

Real Madrid and Barcelona Head Football's Rich List 2010, Manchester United 3rd, Arsenal 5th

Manchester United have dropped out of the top two richest teams in the world for the first time as Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona have established themselves as the new dominant financial forces in football.

Seven of the top 20 richest teams in the world are now based in the English Premier League, but it now looks as if La Liga is where the real power lies.

Over the last 18 months, La Liga has seen itself attract some of the best talent in the world, some of it from the EPL, and become the new dominant league in Europe, and the world.

Rising tax rates in Britain combined with an ailing currency have become a vital ingredient in seeing Spain become the destination of choice for footballers.

Currently the high tax rate in Britain is 50 percent, meaning that half of everything a player earns goes directly to the government. While this has been going on in England, the Spanish government has reduced the tax rate for "foreign executives" down to an amazing 24 percent.

This in turn enables Spanish teams to attract bigger names and pay bigger wages. This then returns to the clubs through advertising and merchandise revenue streams making Spanish teams winners on every angle.

English football also has another cross to bear.

The current amount of debt the Premiership owes is £3.5billion.

Incredibly, that is 56 percent of all the debt owed by football teams in the whole of Europe. And £2billion of that total is owed by just four teams, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Liverpool.

Barcelona's rise on the list is due to their phenomenal success on the pitch over the last two seasons, and last year in particular.

In the 2009/10 season, Barcelona entered six competitions, and won every single trophy available. Something no other team in world football has ever matched before.

This has sent their annual income soaring above previous high levels.

Alan Switzer, director of Deloitte's sports business group, warned: "Real Madrid and Barcelona have created a clear revenue gap between themselves and their main competitors.

"They look set to contest the top two positions in the money league for the foreseeable future, particularly if the pound doesn't strengthen against the euro."

Dan Jones, a partner in Deloitte's sports business group, added: "Just like it was in Rome last May, Barcelona just proved too strong for United. Like other English clubs, United were impacted by the continued depreciation of sterling - and the scale of this is shown by the fact that, if exchange rates remained at their June 2007 level, they would be top of the money league table."

Real, whose new class of Galacticos include the £80million Cristiano Ronaldo, became the first club to generate more than €400 million of revenue in 2008-09.

Despite the drop seen by most Premiership clubs, Arsenal have replaced Chelsea as the fifth richest club in world football. Returning the favour for the Pensioners taking their place over the last couple of years.

This is quite remarkable especially when you consider that the Gunners are trophy-less for the past five seasons.

A prudent financial footing and a huge revenue creating stadium the main reasons why Arsenal have moved back up. However, the Gunners do have large debts hanging over them, although they look well placed to deal with them if they continue with their current policies.

In recent times speculation has begun to mount about an American consortium being interested in acquiring Arsenal. This rumour spread after Liam Brady resigned from his post as Assistant Manager to Giovani Trappatoni, the Irish national team manager.

Speculation is rife that Arsene Wenger was happy to let Brady double job, the Irishman is in an extremely important job at Arsenal as "Head of Youth Development", but that he was put under pressure by the board to resign as they did not want to be seen to be allowing an important member of staff to take his eye of the main job at hand.

Despite the top fours empires being built on massive debt, Jones believes leading English clubs are still well-placed to survive.

With speculation arising that the EPL will sign a £1 billion TV deal, Jones said: "While there has been much recent comment on the finances of English clubs, we believe problems are experienced at the very highest level are more likely to be a result of mismanagement, weak cost control or a lack of credit than any problems with revenue generation."

How will Premier League teams survive their massive debt strains and still be competitive in Europe is something that will occupy the minds of many owners and chairmen over the next couple of years.

Already, the league has proposed a "39th game" which would be played outside England in the hope of each Premiership team being allowed to generate millions as cities bid to have certain teams play there.

That idea was scrapped but another has surfaced in it's place. A set of playoffs between the four teams who finished from fourth to seventh, allowing the winner to play in the Champions League.

As these playoffs would be outside a normal season they could be brought abroad to the highest bidder...

Either way, the EPL has some way to go to gain on La Liga, whilst Serie A is in real danger of becoming a mid-tier league in Europe.

The pressure is on for all European teams in Serie A. The league faces losing it's coveted fourth Champions League place next year unless an Italian team wins in Europa and every German team gets knocked out in the current rounds of competition.

Given the strong cases being built by Bundesliga teams, that looks a distant prospect.

The power in football is currently residing in Spain, it will stay there for some time until it finds a new lover, expect the new mistress in the coming years to speak German, the Bundesliga is a league on the up.

The Top 20 Rich List:

Position Club Revenue (£m)

1 (1) Real Madrid 341.9

2 (3) FC Barcelona 311.7

3 (2) Manchester United 278.5

4 (4) Bayern Munich 246.6

5 (6) Arsenal 224.0

6 (5) Chelsea 206.4

7 (8) Liverpool 184.8

8 (11) Juventus 173.1

9 (10) Internazionale 167.4

10 (7) AC Milan 167.4

11 (15) Hamburger SV 124.9

12 (9) AS Roma 124.7

13 (12) Olympique Lyonnais 118.9

14 (16) Olympique de Marseille 113.5

15 (14) Tottenham Hotspur 113.0

16 (13) Schalke 04 106.0

17 (n/a) Werder Bremen 97.7

18 (20) Borussia Dortmund 88.1

19 (n/a) Manchester City 87.0

20 (17) Newcastle United 86.0