Every year, European media outlets eagerly await the release of a report, dubbed the Football Money League, in which Deloitte business consultants rank the richest clubs in world football. Published yesterday, this year's report places Spain's Real Madrid atop the 20-club leader board; the club posted a revenue haul of €438.6 million last year and also made a splash when it signed Cristiano Ronaldo for a world record fee of nearly €100 million. Catalan archrivals Barcelona claimed second place with €398.1 million brought in last year, while American-owned English superpower Manchester United rounded out the top 3 with €349.8 million.
There was little movement at the top from previous years. This year's emerging trends highlight the consolidation of wealth that has seen the Barclays Premier League become the world's wealthiest football league. Arsenal, the only English-owned club in the Money League's top 10, sits comfortably in fifth place at €274.1 million; fellow Premiership contenders Chelsea (sixth) and Liverpool (eighth) also crack the top 10. The biggest mover of the year was Manchester City, up to 11th from last year's 20th-place showing on the back of unprecedented personal investment from new owner Sheikh Mansour.
Unsurprisingly, no American clubs made the list.
This edition of the Money League is of particular interest in light of new Financial Fair Play rules from Uefa, European football's governing body, which will set limits on club expenditures in an effort to curb reckless spending. Over the next few years, the rules dictate that spending will be limited to significant fractions of revenue; in other words, a football club might have to make €100 million in a year to spend €50 million. This represents a difficult prospect for clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea, whose Saudi and Russian owners (respectively) bankroll lavish transfer spending with immense personal fortunes.
A few more findings:
•Combined top 20 revenue exceeds €4 billion for the first time
•English clubs have widest presence with seven Money League contenders
•All but three clubs posted revenue increases despite economic woes in Europe
•Deloitte expects Real Madrid and Barcelona to battle for top spot for foreseeable future
The Football Money League report, which marked its 14th edition this year, is the product of Deloitte's Sports Business Group. According to the firm, this "team of business consultants works exclusively on sports assignments, bringing unparalleled commercial, financial, regulatory, taxation and general business knowledge from major sports to service your needs."
For more information:
Deloitte Football Money League 2011
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