UEFA keen to persuade Premier League clubs to accept revenue cut

UEFA will try to persuade Premier League clubs to accept a cut in their share of Champions League revenues, which was &pound102million last season.

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Figures made available by UEFA showed that Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal earned a combined £102million from Champions League television and sponsorship cash - a figure that does not include gate receipts or matchday revenue.

European champions Manchester United, unsurprisingly, were by far the biggest earners in Europe with £33.9m while beaten finalists Chelsea were next with £28.7m, Liverpool took £21.1m and Arsenal £18.3m.

Those four were also the biggest earners from the Premier League and UEFA are conscious that Europe's top club competition has created a wealth gap in domestic football.

The current system is in place until 2012, but UEFA will seek to win backing for changes via the European Strategy Council, the consultative body representing clubs, leagues, players and associations.

William Gaillard, UEFA communications director and special adviser to the organisation's president Michel Platini, said: "We are well aware there are some imbalances in the revenue distribution which have a negative effect in national leagues by widening the gap between the rich and not so rich.

"We will talk to the clubs and see how they feel, and try to convince them that in the longer run it is not in their interest if, because of the way money is distributed, national leagues become too imbalanced.

"This is something we have to bring to the strategy council and find a consensus, but we will have a very wide consultation policy."

Gaillard said Platini's approach would be to win a broad agreement rather than impose the new system on the clubs.

He added: "We have a situation that is fixed until 2012 so that gives us plenty of time to review it."

Celtic and Rangers picked up a further £18m meaning that 26% of the £462m total Champions League television and sponsorship revenues ended up in British hands.

The financial success is due all four English clubs making the quarter-finals at least, and reflects the fact that the ITV/Sky Champions League deal is the biggest of any country in Europe.

Simon Chadwick, professor of sports business strategy at Coventry University, said the Premier League clubs were benefiting from a "virtuous circle".

"The more money you earn, the better the players you can sign, and the more success you have, and then you earn even more," said Chadwick.

"But increasingly the big thing in the Premier League and in Europe is this issue of competitive balance. You don't want over-domination because that adversely affects the product."

UEFA's figures showed Celtic benefited from their second qualification for the knock-out phase to the tune of £10.3m while Rangers earned £7.7m, though they also brought in £4.1m from their run to the UEFA Cup final.

Outside of Britain, the biggest earners were Roma, the Italian club who made it furthest in the competition, with £22.9m while Barcelona, the only non-English club in the semi-finals, were slightly behind on £21.7m.

The lowest earners among the 32 were Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine who earned £5.6million.

The difference compared to the sums earned from the UEFA Cup is stark. Apart from Rangers, who made the final, Everton's income from the competition was £400,000, Tottenham and Bolton each earned £352,000 and Aberdeen just £265,000.

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