The Union of European Football Association (UEFA) budget for distribution among Champions League clubs has in the past ten years tripled, from €408 million to €1.3 billion this season, finds an analysis by Consultancy.uk based on UEFA annual reports.
The UEFA Champions League is the biggest football tournament organised by the UEFA, the European football association. The competition has existed since 1955, when it was still called the ‘European Champion Clubs' Cup’. In 1992 the UEFA's renamed its top tournament to the Champions League. In the Champions League the champions and the best football teams from national competitions* – including the Premier League – vie for the coveted “Cup with big ears”, so nicknamed by the French and Spanish.
That it is good for a club to take part in the Champions League is fairly obvious. Under the clubs taking part in the competition a pile of money is distributed each year, with the winner taking home the largest share. The budget for distribution among clubs has grown massively in recent years. In the season 2003/2004 the value of the pot was €408 million, today this has grown to €1.3 billion according to the annual report of the UEFA – a more than tripling of income for distribution in the past ten years.
The gigantic budget growth for the European association’s Champions League is well illustrated by comparing it with the budget for the European League. The small brother of the Champions League had around €232 million distributed to it participants in the 2013/2014 season, considerably less than the €770 million in that season for the Champions League (and a total of €1 billion between them). The total income of the football association in that year was €1.7 billion.
In the past five editions (from 2009/2010 and including 2013/2014; excluding this years’ edition) seven firms have managed to take part in all of the editions. And with their yearly qualification they have managed to pull in large sums of money, with the biggest winners Bayern Munich and Barcelona, each taking home more than €226 million for their participation. In third place is Manchester United with €222.5 million, followed by reigning Premier League champions Chelsea on €219.3 million. The top seven is closed by Real Madrid (the richest club in the world) taking home €218 million, AC Milan (€185.2 million) and Arsenal (€155.6 million).
Because Manchester United didn’t take part in last year’s edition of the Champions League, the number of teams that have been part of the competition every year for the past five editions has dropped to six. The club of trainer Louis van Gaal and captain Wayne Rooney has qualified for the 2015/16 edition, taking part in a group with PSV Eindhoven, Wolfsburg and CSKA Moscow.
* The number of clubs taking part per country is based on a complex points system, based on the performance of club-teams in the past five seasons.