Even if the Philippines isn’t the biggest hotbed for professional football, almost everyone who is a sports fan understands how much money there is in the sport. Some of the biggest football clubs in the world are making millions every year, regardless if they win their respective leagues or not.
However, you’ll be surprised that some of these giants live in houses of cards. These clubs may look like they got it all, but one wrong financial decision can make their finances tumble instantly.
Such costly mistakes can see a club fall down the leagues as they lose their most important players to opportunistic rivals. Moreover, they could lose money as sponsorships would be less inclined to pay hefty sums to sponsor the team.
This OKBET article will list five clubs that are in surprising financial trouble. If they don’t do anything to resolve their issues, the look of the Champions League will look wildly different for the next couple of years.
Fans almost always bring up the Big Six when the Premier League is brought up. Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Tottenham have had a solid monopoly on English football for the past decade.
However, Tottenham is a team struggling to translate their status as a good English team into silverware. Despite the wealth of talent that the club has at its disposal, they’re still to win a major competition.
Moreover, their financial situation is similar to walking on a tightrope. They reportedly had £1.2 billion in debt by the end of 2022. Most of the team’s outstanding debt involves the construction of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The stadium, which cost the team £1.2 billion, was financed mainly by loans to financial institutions. They took a £637 million loan restructured into bonds that will mature in 23 years.
The fact that they had to restructure their debts for the stadium shows that they are in considerable financial trouble. They better hope to win more titles in the near future to attract sponsors.
At this point, one wrong move can see their finances (and position in the league) careening down a cliff.
Three clubs come to mind when you think of Italian football: Juventus, Inter Milan, and AC Milan. These juggernauts are known for playing exciting football and holding some of the country’s most exciting football talent.
However, they also need help with balancing their books. Serie A fans know these giants are dealing with large debts that could threaten their clubs’ stability.
While these football clubs all deserve a slot in this article, we’ll fix the spotlight on Inter. The Nerrazzuri have a £757 million debt, placing the 2021 Serie A champions in serious trouble.
Like most footballing giants, the COVID pandemic had a significant impact on how they were performing. Inter had one of the best attendances in Italian football, and the lack of matchday earnings hurt their finances. They finished the 2020/21 season with a €245.6 million loss; the most a Serie A club lost in a single campaign.
If they fail to make the Champions League this season, they’ll find themselves in a situation where they must sell players to cut their debts. While they’re on pace to finish within the top four, their financial situation still looks bleak.
There’s little question that Real Madrid is one of the biggest football clubs on the planet. Their pedigree as one of the winningest teams in Champions League history is getting them plenty of cash that allows them to purchase some of the world’s best players.
However, their financial statements paint a worrying picture. They are £651 million in debt despite having one of the most recognizable brands in world soccer.
Some may find it surprising that a team of their magnitude is struggling to keep their finances in order. As the pandemic affected their earnings, they sold some players to ensure the club’s finances weren’t compromised.
However, the club’s ongoing maintenance and renovation of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium contributes significantly to their financial troubles. While they announced that they had a €13 million profit in the previous season, there’s still a huge question mark on how they will be able to pay their dues.
Their dire financial situation is one of the biggest reasons Real Madrid president Florentino Perez tried to push for the Super League.
The fact that Manchester United’s owners put the club for sale reveals they’re already in a challenging financial situation. It’s surprising for a club competing with Los Blancos regarding their brand’s relevance.
The Red Devils’ debt is reportedly at around £771 million. The club is surprisingly struggling to keep the light on when Old Trafford is long considered one of professional football’s biggest meccas.
One of the most surprising facts about United’s situation is its losses. The Athletic released a piece that revealed the club’s weekly losses of £2 million.
There are different reasons behind the team’s failure to keep themselves debt-free. However, one can point to the team’s high wage bill and their lack of silverware over the past seasons as culprits to the problem. Winning brings money the club could use to improve its facilities and pay its debts.
Now that they have a coach who knows what he’s doing, it’s only a matter of time before United bounces back. And with the club’s sale looming from the horizon, their times in financial misery are possibly coming to an end.
The final club in this list is another Spanish footballing giant with plenty of history. Barcelona is long regarded as one of the best football clubs in producing outstanding talent and playing top-tier football.
However, the club’s financial outlook is grim. They are more than a billion dollars in debt. The Blaugrana have an out-of-control wage budget that makes it seem like they’re not struggling financially at all.
They are also careless in the transfer market. The Blaugrana spent millions on wasteful signings like Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann. The club was also active in the most recent transfer window, spending €158 million.
They’re also looking to renovate Camp Nou completely. The club is looking for financers for a €1.5 billion loan that they’ll use to renovate their historic ground. Even the most casual fan will see that such a deal can spell plenty of trouble for the club if handled incorrectly.
These football clubs are some of the most influential in the sport, so they’ll likely make it through. They can find a way out of their financial troubles if they’re shrewd enough with their money, sell some of their high-value assets, and find ways to win without some of their star players.
However, there will be hell to pay if they don’t fix their finances on time. Making hefty loans and taking on expensive contracts for winning is unhealthy and unsustainable.
We shouldn’t ask if one of these clubs will fall on hard times. It’s more of a query of when.
Read more: Pro Athletes Who You Didn’t Know Own Teams