With the conclusion of the Premier League in sight and top four far from secured for Manchester United, talk has already begun that if top four is not reached then staff and potentially even some players will be required to take some form of pay cut. Or if the club are being more generous then a contract restructure, to compensate for the huge losses in revenue that no Champions League football brings to a football club so used to being in the midst of fellow European elites.
A huge loss of money
The Champions League is the competition that all players dream of playing in at club level. Winning the competition makes you the best team in Europe and as a direct result some would argue the best in the world.
But for the owners of football clubs who are not as interested in what happens on the pitch, it is a perfect chance to earn some serious money. A fourth place spot will mean that Manchester United will have to win a two legged playoff match to get into the group stages, a playoff win would make them €2 million for the win alone but by getting to the group stages they are given a guaranteed ‘participation bonus’ which is €12 million. For every win they would then receive €1.5 million or €500,000 for a draw. A club then makes more money the more stages they survive. Last year’s runners up Juventus FC were the highest paid football team with €89,100,000 million in Champions League money.
This is why top four football is hugely important financially for a football team. If they are to spend the highest bracket on players and staffs wages then Champions League football is a must for them.
Who would be at risk of a pay cut?
If players and staff pay cuts are truly on the horizon without Champions League football, then you would think the club would have a list of who would and wouldn’t be hit by this pay cut. Could you really imagine Ed Woodward sitting captain Wayne Rooney down and telling him that, he needs to agree to knock £50,000 a week off of his contract? It just isn’t going to happen.
So who is really likely going to be hit by these ‘potential’ wage cuts?
When it comes to staff possibly all but Louis Van Gaal, if he remains as Manchester United coach like the reports in his home country of Holland suggests he will and also Ryan Giggs, will be immune from these cuts. Of course not everyone will be hit with the exact same cut but you would expect youth coaches, scouts and physios would be particularly hit.
As for the players it should be expected that if anyone is indeed hit by these reported wage cuts, then it would be the youth players on contracts and the fringe first team players. Players such as Antonio Valencia could be offered a reconstructed contact to save the clubs wage bill. While Manchester United are not in dire need of money, it is well known that the Glazers run a tight ship when it comes to expenditure within the football club and they will not be wanting to pay out any more than they have to, especially without Champions League football.
If Manchester United do miss out on top four and a chance of the group stages in the Champions League, keep an eye out for multiple new contract deals.