REVEALED: Manchester United’s early exit from the Champions League has cost them a minimum of £8.6m, with winning the competition worth a staggering £60m – and they’ll only pocket £12.6m if they go all the way in the Europa League
Manchester United‘s defeat by RB Leipzig not only sent shockwaves through the footballing world that the club are still faltering at the highest level but also spread more ripples through the Premier League giants’ finances.
United did not qualify for Europe’s top prize last season and instead competed in the Europa League but on their return they’ve fallen at the first hurdle.
Man United players look dejected after crashing out of Champions League at group stage
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side lost 3-2 to RB Leipzig in Germany on Wednesday evening
United, whose executive vice-chairman is Ed Woodward (above), have missed out on £8.6m
The long-term impact the setback will have on the pitch remains to be seen – manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under intensifying pressure – but off it their early exit from Europe’s elite competition will be felt.
Missing out on a place in the last-16 has cost United a minimum of £8.6million. To put that into perspective if Solskjaer’s side were to go on to win the Europa League they would pocket just £12.6m.
The Champions League is the holy grail and winning it is worth a mouth-watering £60m and that’s before bonuses.
All 32 teams that participate in the competition are given a coefficient ranking by organisers UEFA based on their previous 10-year history in Europe. United were in seventh place this season behind Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Juventus.
United, who have won the European Cup three times, have not gone beyond the quarter-final stage in the Champions League since they reached the final in the 2010-11 season, which they lost 3-1 to Barcelona.
Although through that system United have added £25.3m to the coffers and they are also due to get their share from the TV rights market pool.
United are still feeling effects of Old Trafford standing empty with games behind closed doors
How much United will rake in is calculated from where they finished last season in the Premier League (third) and how many matches they’ve played in this campaign’s Champions League.
Falling well short of expectations by crashing out at the group stage reduces United’s share of the market pool.
All this comes at a time when football clubs, including powerhouses like United, are heavily feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Premier League club revealed in October that their debt soared 133 per cent to £474.1m in a covid-hit season.
The Red Devils have been hurt majorly by the fact that their 76,000-capacity stadium has been left standing empty for nine months with matches taking place behind closed doors.
United striker Marcus Rashford looks dejected during the group stage tie against RB Leipzig
United last won the Champions League, which can bring in millions to a club, in May 2008
Manchester is also in tier three in the Government’s new regional system meaning there is no sign of supporters returning to the terraces soon.
United benefit greatly from matchday revenue due to the size of Old Trafford as well as the massive hospitality operation that is a given at every game.
The Red Devils last won the Champions League in 2008 with legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm. United’s decline since his departure is well documented but Solskjaer has been tasked with trying to bridge the gap domestically and in Europe.
Rivals Liverpool and Manchester City have been streets ahead in recent seasons and now, despite a solid start to their Champions League comeback, United have hit another bump in the road.
The Champions League attracts the best talent and ultimately helps with the transfer funds to buy world-class stars. The gap in prize money between Europe’s top table and its second tier is huge.
United simply can’t afford to be dining at the latter for much longer.