Manchester United’s chief executive Ed Woodward has insisted the money from the record £5.1bn Premier League television rights deal will not go directly into the pockets of players and their agents.
“While there may well be some impact on wages, the general mood is that clubs are determined not to be continually loss-making,” he said in his quarterly conference call to investors.
Lord Sugar, formerly the Tottenham Hotspur chairman, likened the TV money to “prune juice”, meaning it would “go in one end and out the other” quickly from clubs to players.
The increased amounts will mean that from 2016 even the bottom-placed Premier League club is likely to receive £99m a season in television rights alone. The sums have immediately prompted a call to cut ticket prices.
Woodward said that United were yet to make a decision on the cost for fans but insisted that tickets at Old Trafford were fairly priced. “We think about it carefully every year. We will look at 2016-17 pricing at the appropriate time,” he said.
In the 2012-13 season, the Premier League’s 20 clubs sustained a combined loss of £291m, and paid £1.8bn in wages. But not meeting high wage demands comes with an increased risk of relegation and the financial consequences that entails.
United made a £14.9m loss in the second quarter of the financial year owing to deferred payments on summer transfers, including Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Marcos Rojo.
Overall, the club was 14 per cent down on this quarter last year, chiefly as a consequence of the lack of European competition, with the lack of ticket sales and television rights that brings.
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