Will Premier League’s money close the class divide?

24 February 2016 09:37

In the late noughties the Premier League was without doubt the strongest in the world with some of the strongest teams in club football anywhere on the globe.

However over the last few seasons it looks like there has been a class divide in European football with Real Madrid, Barcelona and German champions Bayern Munich moving onto another level. You could possibly now argue that PSG are now in this select group thanks to the progress they have made since Qatar Sports Investments take over in 2011.

For a few years the Champions League seemed more like a domestic English competition. Three seasons in a row, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 the Premier League had three English clubs in the semi-finals.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United had great squads and were so strong with the ability to attract international superstar players like Thierry Henry, Bergkamp, Van Nistleroy, Ronaldo, Torres, Suarez and many more.

Some of the results were unbelievable, for instance in 2007-08 season Arsenal hammered Slavia Prague 7-0 and Liverpool beat Besiktas 8-0, both in the Group stages. A year later Manchester United blew away a strong Roma side 7-1 at Old Trafford in the Quarter-finals.

If it wasn’t for Messi and the wonderful Barcelona team the Champions League would have been brought back to these shores plenty more times. Barca beat Arsenal 2-1 in Paris in 2006 and followed this up with two dominant final victories over a very strong Manchester United side under the management of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, in 2009 and 2011.

Things have certainly changed in recent times, every time an English club has come up against the big three of Bayern, Real Madrid and Barca in the knockout stages they have failed to progress. In fact in the previous two seasons only Chelsea have made it past the round of 16 stage.

But are things about to change? From next season onwards the 20 top-flight teams in English football will share £5.136bn for live domestic TV coverage from next season, with even the bottom club getting £99m.

Manchester City’s financial muscle has threatened but ultimately floundered over the last few seasons, but now the European heavyweights are growing concerned according to Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu. He believes the Premier League is a greater threat to Barcelona than traditional rivals Real Madrid. “

"Premier League teams will have an incredible financial situation from now on and we are worried," added Bartomeu. He also admitted the Premier League is the "best football competition" because it has "the most interest for fans" and "most revenues,” and La Liga needs to address the imbalance. In the latest Deloitte's Football Money League - a list of the highest earning clubs around the world - Real Madrid (£439m) and Barcelona (£426m) are first and second respectively. Manchester United (£395m) are third but look set to jump into first next year amid expectations they will become the first British club to earn more than £500m in a single year.

United's rise demonstrates the growing might of the Premier League, which has 17 clubs in the Football Money League's top 30 and this will increase with the TV revenue. Maybe English football will once again dominate the Champions League and one of them may just knock Barcelona off their perch as best club side in the world.

Source: DSG