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"If you want some accessible but informative insight into football then I suggest you couldn't do better than the Political Economy of Football website, which is not only intelligible but comes with the added bonus of being written by Addicks fan Wyn Grant."
Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

European Leagues

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Big shirt sponsorship deal for Barca

FC Barcelona have signed a short sponsorship deal worth at least €220m with Japanese retailer Rakuten. The four season deal is worth €55m a year, a similar amount to the £47m a year that Manchester United earns in its contract with Chevrolet.

Barcelona has also signed deals to capture the Turkish electronics giant Beko on its shirtsleeves and US semiconductor company Intel unusually on the inside of its shirts.   It's a long way from just having Unicef on its shirts.

United now the best paid team in the world

Manchester United are now the best paid football team in the world, having overtaken Barcelona.   Average basic first team pay at United is £110,962 a week.   This is forty times as much as the club was paying in the first season of Premier League football in 1992-3.

City are biggest European earners

Manchester City were the biggest earners from Champions League prize money in Europe last season even though they did not make it to the final.   Uefa figures showed that City earned €83.9m, €3.8m more than the winners Real Madrid and €14m more than defeated finalists Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea and Arsenal who reached the round of 16 earned €69m and €53m respectively.    Chelsea benefitted from the fact that half of the market pool money is based on the previous season's domestic league position. Manchester United, who exited at the group stage, earned €38m.

Getting round the rules

One can devise rules to restrict external investment in football clubs, but it is also possible to find ways of getting round them.   That is what the German Bundesliga has found.

RB Leipzig are currently second in the top German league.   They are sponsored by Red Bull, the energy drinks manufacturer, and play at the Red Bull Arena.   They are affiliated to New York Red Bulls and Red Bull Salzburg, the Austrian champions, both of whom play at grounds called the Red Bull Arena.

Juventus need to globalise

Juventus made an operating profit of €4.1m on revenues of €397.9m in the financial year.   This is a respectable outcome, and a small improvement on the preceding year, but concerns remain.

The club remains highly reliant on television money.  Its commercial revenue amounted to €73.5m in a year compared with €278.1m at Bayern Munich.

Keeping up with Europe's elite

In his latest piece of analysis the author of the Swiss Ramble blog turns his attention to Borussia Dortmund. Their experience demonstrates the challenge of keeping in touch on and off the pitch with Europe's top clubs.

Dutch clubs struggle to compete

Dutch clubs are finding it increasingly difficult to compete even with the English championship in the transfer market.   Clubs like Ajax were at one time among Europe's leaders.

Many clubs in the Championship are willing to splash out in the hope of gaining promotion to the Premier League and new owners are willing to fund the expenditure.

Champions League changes a price worth paying

Arsene Wenger thinks that changes to the Champions League that will stop Arsenal and other Premier League clubs receiving as much money as they have in the past from the competition is a price worth paying to stop a breakaway league.

Real Madrid and Juventus are thought to have been the driving forces behind the changes.   As part of China's project to secure a dominant position in world football, a Chinese conglomerate is trying to set up a rival competition.

Spanish football boss backs Chinese Champions League rival

The head of Spain's La Liga has come out in support of plans by China's richest man to launch a rival to the Champions League.  Dalian Wanda Group, the property and entertainment conglomerate run by billionaire Wang Jialin, wants to create a tournament for Europe's top clubs.  Javier Tebas said there was a 'greater opportunity to generate more revenue' under the breakaway plans.

City could lose out on Champions League money

Manchester City were the biggest earners of any club in the Champions League last season, collecting about £63m in television and performance money, despite losing to Real Madrid in the semi-finals. However, rule changes agreed by Uefa and the European Clubs Association (ECA) could benefit the red side of Manchester.