Back on top of the money pile

After an 11-year wait, the Red Devils are once again in top spot on Deloitte's Money League

LONDON • Manchester United have deposed Real Madrid as the world's richest football club after revenue grew to a record £604 million (S$1.04 billion) in 2015-16, according to Deloitte's annual Money League published yesterday.

The 20-time English champions knocked Real off the perch they had occupied for 11 years with a return to the Champions League and increased commercial revenue as the key to their rise.

Real dropped to third behind Barcelona with Bayern Munich fourth and Manchester City into the top five for the first time after last year's Champions League semi-finals run.

Eight of the top 20 (including five of the top 10) revenue generators are from the Premier League, reflecting the greater financial clout England's top-flight clubs enjoy compared with their European counterparts.

Surprise champions Leicester City made the list for the first time in 20th place and Tim Bridge, senior manager at Deloitte, said it is likely every Premier League club will be in the top 30 next year thanks to an eye-watering £5.1 billion television rights deal that kicked in this season.

"The Money League continues to demonstrate the Premier League's financial strength in depth," Bridge said.

"The appearance of Leicester shows that on-pitch success gives any Premier League club a chance of a place in the top 20.

"There is a strong chance that almost all Premier League clubs will be in the top 30 clubs next year."

Only one other Spanish club, Atletico Madrid, made the top 20 while there were three from Germany and four from Italy led by Juventus in 10th place.

Paris Saint-Germain, the only French club in the list, dropped to sixth from fourth. Russian club Zenit St Petersburg completed the top 20.

Combined revenues, which exclude player transfer fees, VAT and other sales-related taxes, of the top 20 clubs went up 12 per cent to €7.4 billion (S$11.24 billion).

The top three richest football clubs all broke the €600 million revenue barrier in 2015-16 - the first ones to do so.

It was also reported yesterday that United have agreed to sell misfiring forward Memphis Depay to Lyon for around €17 million (S$25 million).

The fee could potentially rise to €25 million if a series of add-ons are triggered, dependent on Lyon qualifying for the Champions League and Depay being offered a fresh contract by the Ligue 1 club.

United have structured the deal with the French side to include buy-back and sell-on clauses.

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2017, with the headline 'Back on top of the money pile'. Print Edition | Subscribe