Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola played down talk that English teams are not as strong as they once were.
Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has warned of the risks of English clubs losing a Champions League slot this season.
United are predicting they will become the first British club to earn more than £500 million in a single year this season but the value of the Champions League has been underlined by the club’s first-quarterly figures. These show income has rocketed by 39.3 percent to £123.6m thanks to being back in Europe’s elite competition.
Woodward, speaking on a conference call to United investors, said another poor season in Europe could mean only three English clubs in the Champions League next season instead of four.
He said: “In simple terms, if all of our teams perform badly compared to Italian and German teams there is a risk. Those two countries are the key. If we did as badly as last year and Germany and Italy did as well then that fourth position would come under threat.”
United’s return to Champions League competition has seen a big leap in matchday and broadcast revenue, while the first income from the huge Adidas kit deal — worth £75m annually — has also kicked in.
The figure for EBITDA — which reflects the underlying profitability of the company, was up more than 100 percent to £41.6m.
Arsenal’s Champions League campaign is on the brink of being over with two group games to play.
The club are expecting the annual revenue to be a record £500m to £510m, reinforcing their position as the richest club in British football.
Woodward added: “Overall we have a good start to the season — we are well positioned in the Premier League and top of our group in the Champions League.
“Our record first quarter revenues and EBITDA demonstrate the continued strength of our businesses. We are delighted with the early progress made in licensing.”
He also revealed that Dutch forward Memphis Depay’s replica shirt was the third most popular in the world behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo between July and September, according to retailer Kitbag.
The quarterly figures show commercial revenue of £71.2m, up 25 percent, broadcasting revenue of £27.6m up 64.3 percent and matchday revenue of £24.8m up 64.2 percent.
Salary costs have risen steeply by 19 percent to £58.8m for the quarter compared to £49.3m a year ago, partly a reflection of bonuses paid for qualifying for the Champions League. The ratio of salary costs to income has dropped however from 55 percent to 47 percent.
United also made a net loss on player sales of £7.4m — Angel Di Maria and Robin Van Persie were among the depatures — compared to a £16.9m profit the previous year when Danny Welbeck was sold to Arsenal.
ESPN FC – UEFA Champions League News
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