Man United, Man City and Chelsea wage bills spiral

REVEALED: The spiralling cost of Premier League wages sees the Big Six spend £1.7BILLION on player salaries – including £352m at Manchester United – as Deloitte warn of huge coronavirus losses

  • Player wages as percentage of revenue has soared at top Premier League clubs
  • Man United, Man City and Chelsea all saw large increases over past two years
  • Eight top-flight clubs are above UEFA’s warning threshold for Financial Fair Play
  • It comes as Deloitte warns of £1billion crash as result of coronavirus pandemic
  • Loss of matchday revenues will only see wages take a greater chunk of income 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Player wage bills at the Premier League’s elite clubs have spiralled over the past two years amid warnings of a £1billion loss in revenue because of Covid-19.

A study by Deloitte found wages at Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea as a percentage of club revenue rose sharply last season as part of a £1.7billion outlay on wages by the ‘big six’.

The figures also indicate that eight Premier League clubs recorded wage to revenue ratios of 70 per cent or more – the warning threshold used by UEFA in its Financial Fair Play rules.

Manchester United were among the elite Premier League clubs who saw an increase in their player wage bill as a percentage of revenue last season compared to the previous year

Chelsea saw wage expenditure as a percentage of revenue jump from 55 per cent to 70

The published figures for the 2018-19 season will only worsen now the current campaign has been interrupted by the pandemic, with matches set to be played behind closed doors for some time.

Deloitte say top-flight clubs will face a permanent loss of £500million because of rebates to broadcasters and a loss of matchday revenue without fans.

And they warn a further £500m missing from 2019-20 balance sheets will only be recouped if next season’s competition is able to be played in full.

Despite players and staff at many Premier League clubs taking temporary wage cuts or deferrals when the season was suspended there is still set to be a major impact.

Chelsea’s wages to revenue ratio jumped from 55 per cent in the 2017-18 season to 70 per cent last season.

Wages as a percentage of revenue for the clubs in the Premier League during season 2017-18

Figures for 2018-19 by Deloitte see a number of increases in wage bills as a percentage 

While the club’s wage bill increased from £246m to £314m, revenues went up only marginally from £448m to £452m.

The percentage of revenue that went on wage costs at Manchester United increased from 50 per cent to 56 per cent, while at Manchester City it went up from 52 to 59 per cent.

At United, the wage bill rose from £296m in 2017-18 to £352m last season as revenues increased from £590m to £627m. 

Over at City, there was a similarly sharp rise in player wages from £260m to £315m as revenues rose from £503m to £538m.  

Manchester City saw their wage bill increase from £260m to £315m over the two seasons

Premier League clubs are set for a loss of £1billion in revenue in their 2019-20 accounts

Deloitte says top-flight sides will face a permanent loss of £500million due to the suspension

Liverpool’s percentage remained steady at 58 per cent, while Tottenham’s was the lowest in the division last season at 39 per cent.

While the league average rose a little from 59 per cent to 61 per cent over the two seasons, wages accounted for a remarkable 85 per cent of revenue coming in at Everton and Bournemouth. Leicester weren’t far behind on 83 per cent.

This is the first time since the 2015-16 season that more than one Premier League club has had a wages to revenue ration above 80 per cent.

But this number is likely to increase with clubs forecast to earn just half of normal matchday revenue in 2020-21, leading to potential losses of £350m if supporters can’t return next season.

The catastrophic effects of Covid-19 come just as Premier League combined revenues had topped £5bn for the first time.

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