February 22 – The first round of Champions League knock-out fixtures once again re- inforced the dominance of Europe’s Big 5 leagues with 14 out of the 16 teams qualified coming from those leagues.
The exceptions were FC Porto and AFC Ajax who both lost their fixtures, with the suggestion from Ajax that the refereeing decisions went against them because they were not one of the big league clubs.
Research from the KPMG’s Football Benchmark team looked at the financial dominance of these teams and the “spectacular” correlation with on-pitch performance.
“Looking at the results of the group stage, in all but one group the two teams with the highest squad value qualified for the knockout stages. The only exception was Group E, where Ajax managed to overtake Benfica, despite having a slightly less valuable squad,” say the report authors.
The report examines the squad values of the competing clubs as well as their operational revenues, their dependence on media revenues and their dominance of social media platforms.
“This year’s top 16 contenders have generated 13% more turnover than the top 16 teams last year (€6.6 billion in this edition vs €5.9 billion in the previous one). It appears inevitable that the bigger clubs will keep benefiting more than others – for instance, some of the most valuable clubs, namely Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Juventus have always qualified to the Round of 16 of the Champions League in all of the last five editions of the tournament,” said the report.
“Furthermore, if we take into consideration that only 32 teams took part in the knockout phases of the tournament in past 5 years, the evidence that the richer clubs are more successful seems stronger than ever, and the trend is set to continue.”
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