Manchester United, battling a 790
million-pound takeover bid by US tycoon Malcolm Glazer, has retained its
position as the world's wealthiest football club, a survey showed.
The Deloitte Football Money League report for the 2003/04 season
meanwhile showed that the world's richest 20 football clubs were set to
break the 2.0-billion-pound income mark in 2005.
The survey, formerly known as the Deloitte Rich List, found that English
Premiership giants Manchester United had an income of 171.5 million
pounds (248 million euros, 324 million dollars) last season, giving it
the top spot for the eighth year in a row.
United last week said it was unlikely to recommend to its shareholders
Glazer's latest takeover offer worth 300 pence per share.
Spanish giants Real Madrid meanwhile rose two places to second in the
Deloitte survey, with income of 156.3 million pounds and AC Milan stayed
third with 147.2 million.
Chelsea, bankrolled by Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich,
climbed six spots to fourth after earning 143.7 million pounds.
Although the London club has a pretax loss of 88 million pounds last
year, the Deloitte review does not include the cost of transfer fees or
players' wages and instead concentrates solely on day to day income from
"There are a number of different methods of defining a large club -- in
terms of fanbase, attendances, TV audiences, or success on the pitch,"
"However, for the purposes of this publication, we look at the best
publicly available measure of financial muscle -- income from day to day
football business operations. We don't consider a club's budget for
outgoings or what someone might pay to buy a club."
Publication of the report came on the day Borussia Dortmund, Germany's
only publicly listed football club and one of Europe's best supported
teams, said it was teetering on the edge of financial collapse.
"The earnings and financial situation of Borussia Dortmund has become
existence-threatening," the ailing club said in a statement.
Dortmund, currently in the lower half of Germany's premier football
championship the Bundesliga, are the country's best supported club with
average attendances this season of over 77,000 fans for home games.
That is almost ten thousand more people than go and watch Manchester
United at its Old Trafford stadium.
A total of 10 British clubs meanwhile made up Deloitte's top 20,
including Scottish giants Celtic (13) and Rangers (19).
Other English Premiership teams to feature were Arsenal (six), Liverpool
(10), Newcastle (11), Tottenham Hotspur (14), Manchester City (16) and
Aston Villa (20).
Deloitte said that Arsenal and Chelsea would challenge strongly for a
top-three position in coming seasons, adding that British clubs
differentiated themselves from their European peers through the
revenue-earning capability of their stadium facilities.
"This has helped them to achieve a more balanced spread of revenues
compared to many clubs on the continent," said Paul Rawnsley, of
Deloitte's Sports Business Group.
"Many of Europes leading clubs have a great, and as yet relatively
unexploited, opportunity to develop significant income streams from
their stadia," he added.
Deloitte noted that Spanish and Italian clubs, in particular, were more
dependent on income generated via broadcasting rights to show games
It added that top clubs were increasingly looking beyond the domestic
and European markets to realise further increases in income.
Italy had five entries in the top 20, with AC Milan being joined by
Juventus (5), Internazionale (8), AS Roma (12) and Lazio (15).
Making up the remainder of the top 20 were Barcelona (7), Bayern Munich
(9), their German rivals Schalke 04 (17) and French outfit Olympique