Real top of the heap

Weak pound stops United topping rich list

February 12, 2009

Real Madrid remain the world's richest soccer club while English clubs have been hit by the declining value of the pound, according to accountancy firm Deloitte's annual survey.

Manchester United and Barcelona held their respective second and third positions in the latest "Football Money League" report on the world's 20 biggest soccer clubs ranked by revenue.

"If the exchange rate value of the pound had not depreciated, there would have been nine, rather than seven English clubs in the top 20 and Manchester United would have topped the Money League ahead of Real Madrid," said Dan Jones, partner in the Sports business group at Deloitte.

The impact of the current economic downturn on club revenues was not measured in the report from the 2007-08 season.

But top clubs should weather the crisis, thanks to loyal fan bases and long-term broadcast and sponsors contracts, Deloitte said.

"The unique nature of the football industry will enable major clubs to be relatively resistant to the economic downturn," said Paul Rawnsley, director in the sports business Group

Primera Liga champions Real Madrid saw their revenues rise by four percent to 366 million euros.

Manchester United, the Premier League and Champions League winners, posted a 21 percent increase in revenues to 324.8 million euros.

The top 20 clubs' aggregate revenue grew by six percent to 3.9 billion euros in 2007-08.

The ranking was dominated by European clubs, with the number of English clubs growing to seven from six, four from both Germany and Italy and two each from Spain and France.

Fenerbahce became the first Turkish club to feature in the ranking since its creation in 1996-97.

Bayern Munich, whose revenues were boosted by the club acquiring the entire ownership of its home ground, climbed three places to fourth, reaching the top places for the first time in five years. Chelsea dropped one place to fifth.

Celtic, Valencia and Werder Bremen dropped out.

Manchester City climbed to 20th position largely due to the increase in broadcast revenues received from the Premier League before the club's take over by the Abu Dhabi-based owners.