It has just been confirmed from FABRIZIO ROMANO, what a tragedy, what a disaster to Manchester United (Read full story 👇)

It has just been confirmed from FABRIZIO ROMANO, what a tragedy, what a disaster to Manchester United (Read full story 👇)







Man Utd UCL cost GFXGetty

Richard Martin

Apr 03, 2024 14:00+01:00


The massive cost of Man Utd missing out on Champions League football next season


Manchester United

Champions League

Premier League

Chelsea vs Manchester United


Erik ten Hag’s side face a daunting task to try and get back into Europe’s elite competition and failure to do so will leave them in a financial mess


Thirteen years ago in early April, Manchester United went to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea in a Champions League quarter-final tie. On Thursday they head there knowing that victory is essential if they want to retain any hope of qualifying for the competition next season.


These two giants were regulars in the latter stages of the Champions League but have dramatically fallen out of the continental conversation, with Chelsea missing out on all three European competitions this season and United failing spectacularly in their voyage, finishing bottom of their UCL group.


Chelsea are effectively doomed to miss out on European football again completely as they sit 12th in the Premier League but the Red Devils still have a glimmer of hope of making it back into the big time, despite their dismal 1-1 draw at Brentford last time out.


Due to the expansion of the Champions League from next season, a fifth-placed finish could be enough for United to qualify. They currently trail Tottenham in fifth by nine points but can cut that gap to six with victory at Stamford Bridge. Given Spurs’ reputation as apparent ‘bottlers’, United could still catch them and sneak into the Champions League by the back door.


But if this doesn’t happen, how big of a mess would the club be in? What will be the true cost if Erik ten Hag’s side miss out on the Champions League?


Article continues below

Champions League DrawGetty Images

No access to a €2.5 billion prize pot

By qualifying for this season’s Champions League, United were one of the 32 teams who were given a proportion of €2.1 billion (£1.8bn/$2.3bn) UEFA distributed to clubs participating in the competition.


That prize pot is increasing to approximately €2.5bn (£2.1/$2.7bn) from next season due to the expansion of the competition, which was agreed to stave off the threat of the European Super League. From next campaign 36 teams will compete and an extra 64 games will be played.


The exact amount individual clubs earn under the current format is dictated by their performance in the competition, the size of their country’s television market and their 10-year coefficient, calculated according to historic performances.


Last season’s winners Manchester City earned €134.9m in prize money (£115m/$145m) while Real Madrid, who were knocked out by Pep Guardiola’s side in the semi-finals, earned the second highest amount, €118.8m (£101m/$149m), more than finalists Inter.




Premier League


Crystal Palace

6 May 2024



Manchester United

Match Preview

champions league trophy(C)Getty Images

Colossal contrast to Europa League

Sevilla, meanwhile, earned just €21.8million (£19m/$23m) from winning the Europa League. Thirty teams made more money than Sevilla last season simply by being in the Champions League.


And this season, despite their miserable and brief return to the Champions League, United still stand to make up to €60m (£51m/$64m) from UEFA, nearly double the €32.6m (£27m/$35m) they received for reaching the quarter-finals of last season’s Europa League, playing 12 matches in the process.


Under the new format, teams are guaranteed €18.6m (£15m/$20m) just for qualifying, a €3m (£2.5m/$3.2m) increase from this season. Teams in the Europa League will only be guaranteed €4.1m (£3.5m/$4.4m) in the Europa League.


There is also a big difference in money distributed for winning matches. In the Champions League, each group stage victory is worth €2.1m (£1.8m/$2.2m) and there will be eight matches under the Swiss Model, which puts all 36 teams into one league, with four home games and four away games. If you qualify for the knockout phase, either through finishing in the top eight or through the play-off round, you earn €11m (£9.4m/$11.8m).


In the Europa League, a victory is only worth €450,000 (£385k/$485k), while qualification is rewarded with only €1.75m (£1.5m/$1.8m). So, if United were to qualify for the Champions League and win all eight games, they would earn a total of €46.4m (£40m/$50m) in prize money. The equivalent performance in the Europa League would earn them a total of €9.45m (£8m/$11m). So that’s a potential difference of €36.95m (£31m/$39m).


Manchester United Old Trafford Getty Images

Lower matchday revenue

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that Champions League games are far more attractive to fans than Europa League matches and so missing out on the elite competition means reduced ticket receipts and lower television revenue.


In their last set of accounts, United reported that they had increased broadcast revenue by £52m ($65m) between July and December 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. They also increased matchday revenue by £23.8m ($29m). Both spikes can be put down to their return to the Champions League.


The fact that there is an extra home game in next season’s format and a potential play-off round if United were to finish between ninth and 24th in the table means they stand to lose out even more by failing to reach European football’s premier club competition.


Marcus Rashford(C)GettyImages

Pay cuts for players

United’s accounts will get at least get some respite if they fail to qualify for the Champions League with the players set to eat a 25 percent pay cut. That was the case the last time United failed to reach Europe’s top competition so the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw will be bracing themselves for a second pay cut in three years.


Top earner Casemiro will see his weekly wage drop from £350,000 to £262,500 while Rashford will have his earnings fall from an estimated £300,000 to £225,000. Captain Bruno Fernandes’ weekly wages will be slashed to £180,000.


Of course, the players will not be struggling to make their mortgage payments, but some may be tempted to move away in a bid to recoup their previous salary, especially if they think that United might not immediately get back into the Champions League the following year.


Paris Saint-Germain’s interest in Rashford is no secret and they would be able to practically guarantee him Champions League football every year.



Struggling to attract top talent

Money isn’t the only pull factor for players, though. Every aspirational footballer wants to play in the Champions League and the reality is that United can no longer guarantee that. The club have failed to qualify for the competition on four occasions in the past decade and they have only made it to the knockout stage three times.


Their absence from the crucial stage of the competition is clearly affecting their ability to attract the best talent. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that United pulled out all the stops to try and sign Jude Bellingham when he was 17 but he was not interested in moving to Old Trafford.


United also tried to sign Erling Haaland when he was at RB Salzburg and had just started to make headlines in the Champions League. But at that time the Red Devils were not even in the group stage. There was no way that Haaland, who has been obsessed with the Champions League since he was a child, was going to risk joining a club that was not going to be competing in it.


Both Bellingham and Haaland joined Borussia Dortmund, evidently a smaller club than United but one that could guarantee them Champions League football and a platform from which they could showcase their talent to the world.


United’s failure to consistently qualify for the Champions League means that not only will they stop being the ultimate destination for the best players in the world, they will also cease to be a place aspiring stars will want to join on their way to the top.


Jim RatcliffeGetty Images

More FFP headaches

Qualifying for the Champions League is extra important for United as they are teetering on the edge of their financial fair play limits both in Europe and domestically. United were fined €300,000 by UEFA last year for a minor breach of the organisation’s break-even requirements.


They will have to abide by the same rules next season and comply with UEFA’s new squad cost ratio. Given how valuable Champions League football is, qualifying for the competition will clearly help United meet those obligations.


The Premier League’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR) are arguably more important after Everton and Nottingham Forest were deducted points for failing to adhere to them.


The rules mean clubs cannot lose more than £105m over three years and United have left themselves with little breathing space after spending huge amounts of money in the last three summers, shelling out €142m (£121.7m/153m) in 2021, €243m (£208m/$261m) in 2022 and €202m (£173m/$217m) while recovering very little in player sales.


New minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has spoken of the importance of qualifying for the Champions League next season in order to meet FFP obligations, even though he has emphasised the need for a longer term vision to put new structures into place.


“We really, really want to get into the Champions League next year – it’s quite important for FFP,” Ratcliffe told the BBC in February. “It’s a two to three season challenge to get the organisation and environment right to produce results.”


ten hag(C)Getty Images

Ten Hag’s future at risk

Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, no United manager has survived not qualifying for the Champions League after a full season. David Moyes was sacked just days after it was confirmed United could not qualify for the 2014-15 campaign. Louis van Gaal, who had returned the team to the competition the following season, was then sacked for failing to repeat the trick in his second campaign.


Jose Mourinho qualified United for the Champions League in his first two seasons (the first was only thanks to winning the Europa League) but was fired in December 2018 when it became clear his side were unlikely to finish in the top four under his command.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer led United to consecutive top-three finishes in 2019-20 and 2020-21 but when that looked unlikely following a terrible run of results in his third full campaign, he was dismissed in September.


Will Erik ten Hag be able to survive if he cannot steer the team back into the Champions League? It seems unlikely, especially given the direction INEOS wants to take the club in and overhauling every other major position in the structure.



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