Man United overhaul Spanish pair as Europe’s biggest earners

Manchester United enjoyed the biggest revenue of any European club in the last financial year after a 32 per cent increase propelled them above Real Madrid and Barcelona, Uefa said in an annual report published on Tuesday.

The European Club Football Landscape report said that revenues among Europe's 700-odd top-flight clubs totalled 18.5 billion euros (S$29.9b) for 2016, compared to 16.9b euros the year before and 2.8b euros in 1996.

However, the report acknowledged that nearly half that amount - 9.1b euros - was generated by 30 clubs and that the financial gap between the elite ones and the rest was increasing.

English Premier League television revenues were now such that mid-table Bournemouth earned the same as three-time European champions Inter Milan.

United's revenue for 2016 was 689 million euros, compared to 521m euros in 2015, the report said. United were followed by Barcelona and Real (both 620m), Bayern Munich (592m), Paris Saint-Germain (542m) and Manchester City (533m).

United's operating profit of 232m euros was also the highest followed by Real, PSG, Bayern, Arsenal and Man City.

United were also burdened with the highest net debt of 561m euros, ahead of Benfica, Inter, Juventus and Liverpool.

    689 million euros (S$1.1 billion)

    620m euros

    620m euros

    592m euros

    542m euros

The report confirmed that the EPL enjoys by far the highest revenues in Europe, averaging 244.4m euros per club.

Next was Germany's Bundesliga with 149.6m per club, followed by Spain (126.3m) and Italy (100.2m).

Revenues fell dramatically elsewhere, even in traditional football nations such as Holland (26.7m) and Portugal (20.3m).

Greek clubs earned an average of 8.9m euros, while figures for Eastern Europe were even lower at 5m euros for Hungary, 4.4m for Czech Republic and 1.5m for Slovenia.

"Once more, we cannot help but note that the polarisation of commercial and sponsorship revenues between the top tier of clubs and the rest is accelerating," Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin said.

"As the guardians of the game, Uefa must ensure that football remains competitive even as financial gaps are augmented by globalisation and technological change."

Sixteen of the top 20 clubs in terms of domestic broadcast revenues were English with United top on 146m euros, edging out Real and Barcelona.

Bournemouth earned 99m euros, level with Inter who, along with Juventus, were the only Serie A sides in the top 20.

The report confirmed that transfer spending reached record levels of almost 5.6b euros in the European summer of 2017, including six of the top 20 most expensive transfers recorded.