Manchester United Reportedly Face Severe Sponsorship Cut for Sustained Failure

Matt Jones@@MattJFootballFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2016

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02:  Fans make their way to the stadium prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Stoke City at Old Trafford on February 2, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

The cost of Manchester United’s potential inability to qualify for the Champions League over the next two seasons has been revealed, with the Red Devils reportedly facing a slash in sponsorship windfall should that scenario surface.  

According to a report from Jack Gaughan of the MailOnline, the club’s 10-year, £750 million deal with Adidas would be cut by 30 per cent should the club not feature in the Champions League in 2016-17 and in 2017-18.

While that amount, an estimated £225 million, is significant, according to Gaughan, it’s one of the only business deals the club has in place which would be affected by this kind of prolonged underachievement, suggesting executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has “excelled” in a commercial sense.

Woodward has put the club in a fine commercial position, according to reports.
Woodward has put the club in a fine commercial position, according to reports.Michael Regan/Getty Images

“There may be other sponsors who inserted something but those figures are nowhere near United's huge global partners,” continued Gaughan, also suggesting there is “no such clause” in the contract with shirt sponsors Chevrolet, worth an estimated £47 million per year.

Champions League revenue is obviously vital for a football club, regardless of the clauses inserted into these contracts. According to Gaughan, “United saw a £9 million rise in broadcasting profits for the three months leading up to January, largely down to European games.” It’s also claimed the Red Devils will recoup £28 million from this season’s competition.

Missing out on that money for the next couple of seasons would be bad enough, even for a club as flush as United that is set to be boosted by the Premier League television deal this summer. However, the prospect of losing out on £225 million is surely an unthinkable one for the football club.

Van Gaal's side are unlikely to qualify for next season's Champions League.
Van Gaal's side are unlikely to qualify for next season's Champions League.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It means the pressure will be on next term for this team, with a top-four finish this season looking increasingly unlikely. The Red Devils are currently sixth in the table, three points back of fourth-place Manchester City, with the Citizens having one game in hand; Bleacher Report’s Rob Blanchette wants big changes ahead of what's a critical campaign:

The Premier League has been competitive in 2015-16, but next season, United will really have their work cut out for them if they’re to finish in the Champions League spots.

Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur are emerging forces, City will be buoyed by the appointment of Pep Guardiola, while bitter rivals Liverpool will have had a summer in which manager Jurgen Klopp has reshaped the squad. Additionally, Chelsea will have a new boss, while West Ham United, who move into a new stadium, also look ready to challenge the elite.

It means the top-four race will be far from straightforward, and although the commercial facet of the football club seems to be thriving, another campaign of underachievement could potentially leave a £225 million hole in the club’s coffers. You suspect bold moves will be made this summer to ensure that doesn’t happen.