A recent survey has concluded that Manchester City FC players are the best paid sportsmen in the world. The research, carried out by online publication sportingintelligence, show that this year’s Capital One Cup champions pay an average total of £5.34 million ($8.4 million) to each of their first-team players every year, which comes to £102,653 ($161,433) per week.
The English soccer club were bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008, and have since gained a reputation as big spenders both in terms of player wages and transfer market dealings. Having previously not lifted a single major trophy since 1976, City have won one Premier League, one FA Cup, one League Cup, and one Community Shield in the last six years, and broke their own transfer record over 10 times during that period. They have risen from near-obscurity to become one of the world’s strongest squads, and look set to be major players in both their domestic competitions and the Champions League next season.
Manchester City beat Major League Baseball sides the New York Yankees (£5.29/$8.32 million) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (£5.12/$8.05 million) on the list of best paying sports teams, which also includes current Champions League hopefuls Real Madrid (£4.99/$7.85 million) who find themselves one place in front of rivals FC Barcelona (£4.9/$7.71 million) in fourth and fifth place respectively.
sportingintelligence‘s research, dubbed “The Global Sports Salaries Survey” does not take into account outside endorsement such as individual player sponsor, etc, and instead only focuses on earnings for playing sport. The fact that Manchester City players are the best paid sportsmen in the world correlates directly with the recent success of the club, as does the relative ongoing success of every other team in the top ten. The report considers seven sports; soccer, baseball, basketball, gridiron, cricket, ice hockey and Aussie rules football, which works out as 294 teams across 15 leagues in 12 different countries. Figures gathered relate to either the current season or the most recently completed season depending on available information from each individual team.
Place 6 on the list is occupied by NBA side the Brooklyn Nets (£4.49/$7.06 million) immediately followed by newly crowned Bundesliga champions FC Bayern Munich (£4.4/$6.92 million). Bayern’s recently beaten Champions League quarter-final opponents Manchester United (£4.32/$6.79 million) are in eighth, and would undoubtedly have been lower on the list had it not been for Wayne Rooney’s signing of a new contract in February, rumoured to be worth around £300,000 ($471,784) per week to the English striker.
The Chicago Bulls (£3.99/$6.27 million) are the second NBA team to appear on the list, and Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea FC (£3.98/$6.26 million) make up the last of the top 10.
Despite the spending clout of wealthy table-toppers Manchester City, they are one of 76 clubs being investigated by UEFA on account of possible breaches to their Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. If found guilty, the club will face sanctions that may include large fines or even temporary expulsion from any European competition. Such punishment could see their finest players seek European soccer elsewhere, and some of their best paid sportsmen might not be at the club much longer, leaving their future presence on The Global Sports Salaries Survey in doubt.
Commentary by Zachary John