• British, Italian, Spanish and German clubs squeeze out rest of the world
  • Rangers and Celtic bolster British contingent
  • World champions France fail to qualify
  • Manchester United has retained the top spot in the Deloitte & Touche/FourFourTwo Rich List for a third successive year. It showed an increase in turnover of an impressive 26 percent to £110.9 million ($161m)in its treble winning 1998/99 season – the season on which the ranking is based.

    1999 was a year of second places for Bayern Munich; its second place in the Champions League was matched by second place in the financial league. A registered turnover of £83.5 million nudged Bayern ahead of Real Madrid. Such is Manchester United’s dominance that Bayern trail by £27.4 million – a 33% shortfall.

    The third Deloitte & Touche Sport/FourFourTwo magazine survey to identify the twenty richest football clubs in the world sees England’s Premier League dominate with eight clubs making the grade. The rest of Europe fills the remaining places with six Serie A, two Bundesliga, two Primera Liga and two Scottish Premier League clubs. With ten clubs from Britain in the top twenty the popularity and financial strength of British, and not just English football, is evident. World Champions France failed to provide a club in the twenty. Paris St Germain dropped out of the top twenty, down to 25th and Olympique Marseille come in at 22nd.

    ‘The stumbling block for the French clubs has traditionally been a lack of popular support and the fact they rent their stadia. The 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 wins have gone some way toward igniting passion for the game in France. In the coming years we may see French clubs return to the ranking,’ said Gerry Boon, partner in charge, Deloitte & Touche Sport.

    The combined income of the twenty richest clubs has broken the billion pound mark reaching £1.05 billion – an increase overall of 15% for the top flight. Even among the top twenty clubs the disparity between top and bottom is stark with a range of £110.9 million to £33.8 million – or 3.3:1. The bar has been raised by 19% with Celtic needing £33.8 million to steal the last spot in the top twenty from Valencia and add a second Scottish club to the ranking for the first time. This turnover would have placed Celtic in 14th position in last year’s rankings, an indicator of the overall growth in Europe’s football business.

    ‘English clubs have a financial advantage over their continental rivals in owning their grounds. This brings other potential revenue streams to the ‘kicks and mortar’ business model,’ said Gerry Boon. ‘However, this dominance may be threatened by the flow of TV money. The Spanish and Italian clubs recently won the right to negotiate their own TV deals and this injection of TV money should propel them higher in the rankings. The English Premier League TV deal will also produce massive revenues in 2001/2 and it could be all change among the top twenty over the next couple of years.’

    Among the English clubs, Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal all rose up the ranking with Chelsea climbing strongly from 9th to 4th place. The strongest growth in terms of turnover was shown by Tottenham Hotspur, beating all 19 other clubs with an increase of 37%. Newcastle United dropped furthest, falling seven places to 12th. Aston Villa and Liverpool also slid slightly in the rankings.

    ‘Much has been made recently of the English supporters. The average Premiership club earns enough from its executive boxes to pay three players’ wages, so the ‘prawn sandwich contingent’ is essential to English clubs’ financial success,’ commented Michael Hann, FourFourTwo editor. ‘Matchday income – gate receipts – is still the largest part of Premiership clubs’ revenues. The TV deals are likely to challenge this going forward.’

    The ranking also addresses the issue of debt among the world’s richest clubs. Real Madrid lead the Spanish clubs – appearing in third place despite their widely reported debt. But it is not a simple case of debt or glory, the turnover and brand of Real are such that its debt is not the sole determinant of its financial position.

    The richest Italian club – Juventus – generated income of £58.5 million in the season ended 1999. Standing in 5th place, they lead Milan, Lazio, Internazionale, Parma and AS Roma. Despite the club’s popularity, matchday attendances are well down on some of its Italian rivals. Juventus, Milan and Inter have all recently signed individual six-year TV deals and could threaten English financial dominance with the revenues set to roll in for the 2000 season.

    Lazio leapt from 12th to 8th place, with a 22% increase in turnover (from £41.1 million to £50 million). Roma recently joined Lazio on the Italian stock exchange, becoming the second listed Italian club. In contrast, six of the eight English clubs in the top twenty are listed.

    The survey ranks clubs according to their turnover, judging a club’s richness to be reflected in its ability to generate income, regardless of how that revenue is subsequently spent. Information to rank clubs came from the season that ended in 1999.

    Deloitte & Touche/FourFourTwo Rich List

    Position, Club, Turnover($m)
    1, Manchester United, 161
    2, Bayern Munich, 120
    3, Real Madrid, 109
    4, Chelsea, 85
    5, Juventus, 84
    6, Barcelona, 80
    7, Milan, 78
    8, Lazio, 72
    9, Internazionale, 70
    10, Arsenal, 69
    11, Liverpool, 65
    12, Newcastle United, 64
    13, Parma, 63
    14, Borussia Dortmund, 63.2
    15, Tottenham Hotspur, 61
    16, AS Roma, 56
    17, Leeds United, 53
    18, Rangers, 52
    19, Aston Villa, 50
    20, Celtic, 48.7

    Bubbling under:

    21, Valencia, 48.5
    22, Olympique Marseille, 48.2
    23, Kaiserslautern, 47
    24, Atletico Madrid, 44.2
    25, Paris St Germain, 44.1

    For further information or to speak with Michael Hann, Editor of FourFourTwo, or a member of Deloitte & Touche Sport please call Hazel Shaw (FourFourTwo) on 020 8366 4747, Matthew Batters (Deloitte & Touche) on 020 7303 3861 or Laetitia Mowat (Deloitte & Touche) on 020 7303 4820.