With the top flight’s £8.4bn TV deal the financial divides distort and undermine competitiveness – yet ‘big six’ want more
For many decades in football’s development the end-of-season standings, triumphs and disappointments were pored over as sports results, not generally reckoned for their impact on clubs’ bank balances. Those days have dwindled as football’s revenues have swollen, as investors have bought clubs to make money for themselves, and as the financial gap between clubs and leagues has dramatically widened: cash has become a much more prominent consequence of winning and losing.
For Premier League clubs a top-four finish is a landmark achievement to secure Champions League qualification – and the financial windfall it delivers. It is quite staggering to see that Leicester City made €82m (£70m) from Uefa TV payments last season for their run as reigning Premier League title holders to the Champions League quarter-finals. Due to Uefa’s agreed formula for allocating the riches, rewarding clubs for their progress and where they finished domestically the previous season, Leicester made almost double the £38m Tottenham Hotspur made, still a very tidy bonus. Uefa starts new 2018-21 TV deals next season and has promised yet more money for the privileged top clubs, although the precise amounts are not yet divulged.