cash crash | 

Manchester United debt hits €1bn as club count Champions League cost

Europa League exile hitting United’s finances

Manchester United merchandise for sale outside Old Trafford. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters© REUTERS

Richard JollyUK Independent

Manchester United are counting the cost of a disastrous 2021-’22 season after concluding their absence from the Champions League will cost them a record turnover this season, while their debts have grown to almost £1bn (€1.14bn).

United finished sixth last year after a troubled campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and then Ralf Rangnick and had a 32.1pc decline in broadcasting revenue for the second quarter of the current financial year as they compete in the less lucrative Europa League.

The club also now owe £969.6m (€1.1bn) through a combination of gross debt, bank borrowings and outstanding transfer fees with associated payments, according to new figures.

The recent Carabao Cup winners, who posted a £6.3m (€7.15m) profit for the three-month period up to last December 31, are on course to have an annual revenue of £590-£610m but believe it would surpass their highest ever total of £627m (€712m) if they were in the Champions League.

Their revenue, of £167m (€190m) for the second quarter of the financial year, is 10pc lower than for the same period 12 months earlier, largely because they are in the Europa League now. United’s wage bill dropped 21pc to £77m (€87.5m), in part because they were not paying Champions League bonuses, though their best-paid player, Cristiano Ronaldo, left part way through the financial quarter.

United have already sold a record 2.3 million tickets for Old Trafford this season and commercial revenue is 22.2pc higher than for the equivalent time last season, while a decrease in matchday income is because they had fewer home games due to the World Cup.

United expect their overall income to rank among the highest in world football and feel their finances are in a strong state as they investigate a sale, with the Qatari billionaire Sheikh Jassim and the Ineos founder Jim Ratcliffe in talks with the Glazer family. United also owe £206m (€234m) on a revolving credit facility – over £100m more than at the end of 2021.

It reflects the need to pay instalments of transfer fees after heavy spending on Antony, Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez last summer. Their cash reserves were down to £31m (€35m) by the end of December, from £87m (€99m) a year earlier.

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