Chelsea climb into top five of world's richest

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The Independent Football

Chelsea's income leapt an impressive 28 per cent last season to £190.5m to propel them into top five richest clubs in the world by income, according to a financial survey published yesterday. The latest edition of Deloitte's annual review uses figures from the 2006-07 season and puts Real Madrid top, followed by Manchester United (closing the gap), Barcelona, Chelsea and Arsenal.

The extent that Chelsea are still haemorrhaging Roman Abramovich's money will not be revealed until the club give details of their accounts next week. They lost £80.2m last season, a world record £140m in 2004-05 and £87.8m (the previous record) the year before that. More losses are expected this time but Chelsea's chief executive, Peter Kenyon, will at least now have some solid growth in income to set against them.

The survey compares club's finances on a like-for-like basis, stripping out some income for accounting reasons. Manchester United's MUTV and Nike income is not counted, for example, nor Arsenal's property earnings.

Real Madrid top the table with £236.2m, then United with £212.1m, Barcelona with £195.3m, Chelsea, and Arsenal, with £177.6m. Significantly, three English clubs occupy the top five for the first time, after big year-on-year rises. United's income leapt 30 per cent, and Arsenal's 37 per cent. Real Madrid climbed 20 per cent, and Barça just 12 per cent.

The survey highlights Liverpool's status as relative tiddlers, playing catch-up, among the "big four". Their earnings for 2006-07, Deloitte say, were £133.9m, a modest rise of 13 per cent. Liverpool's owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, have yet to make this information public themselves. The data does not inspire Liverpool's hopes of challenging United, Chelsea or Arsenal any time soon. It also highlights the massive gamble Hicks and Gillett have taken in borrowing £350m. Without Champions' League income (£25m-plus), Liverpool would be losing large sums, something Hicks and Gillett cannot sustain.

United climbed two places to second from last year's survey, while Real remain top for a third year running. Chelsea are up two places, and Arsenal four. "Arsenal's move to the Emirates Stadium has transformed their revenues whilst Chelsea's revenue increase sees them return to the top five," Dan Jones, a partner in Deloitte's Sports Business Group, said.

Real Madrid and Manchester United became the first football clubs ever to generate more than €300m (£223m) in a season.

"With the new Premier League television deals now online for the 2007-08 season, Manchester United have the opportunity to significantly close the gap on Real and a successful Champions League run may even see them challenge again for the number one position," he said.

The top 20 clubs, whose collective revenues grew by 11 per cent to £2.5bn, are all European, with six from England, four clubs from each of Germany and Italy, three Spanish clubs, two French clubs and one from Scotland, Celtic.

Paul Rawnsley of the SBG, said: "Clubs such as Aston Villa, Everton, Manchester City and West Ham United are already just outside the top 20 and with the new broadcast deals, we expect to see them rise."

Rich List: The world's wealthiest

Position(prior year position)/Revenue(£m)/Revenue(€m)

1 (1) Real Madrid 236.2/351.0

2 (4) Manchester United 212.1/315.2

3 (2) Barcelona 195.3/290.1

4 (6) Chelsea 190.5/283.0

5 (9) Arsenal 177.6/263.9

6 (5) Milan 153.0/227.2

7 (8) Bayern Munich 150.3/223.3

8 (10) Liverpool 133.9/198.9

9 (7) Internazionale 131.3/195.0

10 (12) AS Roma 106.1/157.6

11 (15) Tottenham Hotspur 103.1/153.1

12 (3) Juventus 97.7/145.2

13 (11) Olympique Lyonnais 94.6/140.6

14 (13) Newcastle United 87.1/129.4

15 (16) Hamburg SV 81.0/120.4

16 (14) Schalke 04 76.9/114.3

17 (*/a) Celtic 75.2/111.8

18 (*/a) Valencia 72.4/107.6

19 (*/a) Olympique de Marseille 66.6/99.0

20 (*/a) Werder Bremen 65.5/97.3

Source: Deloitte Football Money League 2008