Rewards just beginning for Manchester United

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The Independent Online
MANCHESTER United yesterday pocketed some small change from winning the Premier League at the weekend, selling scarves, hats and mugs proclaiming the club as champions for the 1992/3 season, writes John Shepherd.

Bigger financial rewards, though, will start rolling in by the end of the month when the club banks a pounds 858,000 winners' royalty cheque from BSkyB, for its exclusive television rights to screen live Premier League games.

In stark contrast, Nottingham Forest will depart the Premier League with the wooden spoon and only pounds 39,000. Each successive place up the table yields pounds 39,000.

But by far the biggest potential money-spinner for United is its involvement in next season's European Cup. Progress to the final could net more than pounds 4m.

The financial stakes at play in the European Cup have been jacked up considerably with the replacement of the quarter and semi-final stages by two leagues. The change means any club to negotiate the first two knock- out rounds is guaranteed six matches in the league phase.

In the straight knock-out rounds, the home team is now able to negotiate its own television contracts, and keep the gate receipts and revenues from ground advertising hoardings.

But once the league stage is reached the European football governing body, Uefa, takes hold of the purse strings.

All television, advertising and sponsorship royalties are to be pooled and paid out on a per-points basis by Uefa. About pounds 200,000 per point will be paid out for this season's league stage.

As Robin Launders, United's finance director, said yesterday: 'It's great to be back in Europe.' For a company that made pounds 5m pre-tax in the 1991/92 financial year, he must be hoping that United improve on the early exits they made from European competitions in the last two years.

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