While Barcelona and Atletico Madrid battle it out for a place in the last 16 of the Champions League this week, the Premier League’s four teams may relax knowing that their spots in the knockout stages are already secured.
Liverpool, Manchester City, and Manchester United have all clinched first place in their respective groups with a game to go, while defending champions Chelsea will join them if they defeat Zenit Saint Petersburg.
This season’s success of English clubs continues a disturbing trend for the rest of Europe.
Two of the previous three Champions League finals were all-English affairs, with four different clubs competing.
If the Premier League’s ability to attract record-breaking television rights deals from around the world wasn’t enough to irritate the rest of Europe, the Premier League’s ability to attract record-breaking television rights deals from around the world has fuelled fears that the gap between the top English clubs and the rest will only widen in the coming years.
The English Premier League has long been regarded as the wealthiest league in the world, thanks to lucrative domestic television rights.
Despite the fact that the value of such rights has remained stagnant over the past two auctions, the worldwide market has ensured sustained growth.
The Premier League signed a six-year rights deal with US broadcaster NBC for an estimated $2.7 billion (£2 billion) last month.
That was followed by a £2 billion six-year deal for the Nordic countries, which began in 2022.
In May, LaLiga in Spain announced a $1.4 billion contract with ESPN for US rights that will last for the next eight years.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been felt significantly differently across the continent due to the relative size of those deals.
Premier League clubs spent more than ten times as much as LaLiga (£55 million), Serie A (£50 million), and Ligue 1 (£15 million) in the most recent transfer window, while Bundesliga clubs made a net profit of an estimated £35 million thanks to Jadon Sancho’s £73 million move from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United.
Sancho joined Kai Havertz and Timo Werner in leaving Germany for England, with Jude Bellingham and Erling Haaland of Dortmund expected to follow suit next season.
If the current path continues, the Bundesliga risks becoming little more than a developing league for the Premier League, according to Bayer Leverkusen CEO Fernando Carro.
“We tried to buy a player in the summer, but in the end, a promoted Premier League team was able to pay more money and a greater salary than us, a top-four German club,” Carro explained.
“The Premier League has far more money and resources than any other football league in the world. This isn’t healthy for us.”
The talent exodus has harmed Spanish clubs. LaLiga has the greatest Uefa coefficient for performance in European play between 2013 and 2020.
Barca, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, and Villarreal are all in severe danger of exiting the Champions League group stage this week due to financial difficulties. Exits would be a further financial setback for a league that has already mortgaged a portion of future television rights to private equity firm CVC in exchange for cash.
Carro of Leverkusen cautioned that the disparities were widening.
He warned, “We might quadruple or triple our TV income and still not close the difference.”
The unsuccessful European Super League idea aimed to level the playing field between the footballing powerhouse of Spain and Italy.
After a heated outcry from supporters earlier this year, the six English clubs participating suddenly withdrew, foiling the plan.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus, on the other hand, have refused to give up the struggle in search of new revenue streams not available in their local championships.
Others may return to the rankings in the near future if Premier League clubs continue to pull away and establish themselves as unstoppable European titans.