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Chelsea tops UEFA prize money list with USD 126M last season

Champions League winner Chelsea earned nearly 120 million euros (USD 126.5 million) from UEFA last season, topping the prize money list for European clubs published on Wednesday.

That was just ahead of beaten finalist Manchester City, which received just over 119 million euros (USD 125.6 million) from a total fund of nearly 1.9 billion euros (USD 2 billion) shared by the 32 Champions League clubs. That total has risen to more than 2 billion euros (USD 2.1 billion) for the current and next two seasons.

Semifinalists Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain each got almost 110 million euros (USD 116 million), the only other clubs to earn a nine-figure sum from UEFA.

Chelsea’s total was at least 35 million euros (USD 37 million) more than Barcelona and Juventus, who lost in the round of 16 and then helped in the failed attempt to launch a Super League, which was designed to be more lucrative for top clubs.

Barcelona and Juventus were key leaders of the project which saw 12 elite clubs try to break away from UEFA control to create their own competition.

The UEFA list shows Barcelona earned less than 85 million euros (USD 90 million) and Juventus got less than 83 million euros (USD 88 million).

Barcelona, Juventus and Madrid are still pursuing a legal case against UEFA at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

The nine other Super League members, including Chelsea and Man City, quickly renounced the project amid fierce public backlash, leading to its collapse within 48 hours.

The lowest payment to a Champions League club was 18.45 million euros (USD 19.5 million) to Hungarian champion Ferencváros, which lost five of its six group-stage games.

Ferencváros received just 1.1 million euros (USD 1.16 million) from UEFA’s 585-million euro (USD 618 million) fund rewarding clubs for their historical record in European competitions. In contrast, 13-time European champion Real Madrid was paid 35.5 million euros (USD 37.5 million) from that fund.

Those “coefficient” payments began in 2018 after pressure on UEFA from the European Club Association, which was then strongly influenced by the clubs who later tried to create the Super League.

The wealth gap between the Champions League and second-tier Europa League was again clear. The Europa League’s prize fund for clubs was 541 million euros (USD 571 million) — about 28% of the Champions League sum.

Europa League winner Villarreal got 33.1 million euros (USD 35 million) and the team it beat in the semifinals, Arsenal, earned just under 30 million euros (USD 31.6 million).

Manchester United, which lost the Europa League final after placing third in its Champions League group, received a total of 79.6 million euros (USD 83.6 million) from both competitions.

From the Champions League fund, 8 million euros (USD 8.4 million) was paid to the ECA, which represents nearly 250 clubs who play in UEFA competitions.

Each club had about 5% of its prize money deducted as part of a five-year agreement with UEFA to pay refunds to UEFA broadcasters and sponsors for disruption in the pandemic-hit 2019-20 season.

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