London:Real Madrid is still the top moneymaking club in world football, beating out European Cup champion Manchester United due to the plunging pound, according to the latest review of the sport's finances.
Deloitte's study, which ranks the 20 biggest clubs based on revenue, showed that Madrid generated euro 365.8 million in the 12 months to June 30, 2008.
The Red Devils would have ended their season leading the Football Money League if the pound had not depreciated against the euro. Had the pound stayed steady at the June 2007 rate, United's revenue of 257.1 million pounds would have equated to euro 382 million rather euro 324.8 million by last June.
"Whilst Real Madrid's 4 percent revenue growth in 2007-08 is more modest than recent years, the club has now doubled its revenues since 2002 and enjoys a lead of euro 41 million over Manchester United," said Dan Jones of Deloitte's sports business group. "With the club having announced that it is budgeting for revenues of euro 400 million in 2008-09, it will be difficult for rivals to replace Real at the top of the Money League next year."
Despite a 31st Spanish league title, Madrid's commercial revenue dropped 5 per cent. It is blamed on lower shirt sponsorship income following the bankruptcy of BenQ Mobile and the loss of midfielder David Beckham to the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007.
"It will be interesting to see how the club copes with the loss of the Brand Beckham effect and the challenging commercial market that clubs are now facing," the report said. Deloitte only used revenue as its ranking and not the wealth of individual club owners, including Chelsea's Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
Spanish league leader Barcelona was provided with an uplift, like Madrid, by individually negotiated broadcast contracts in place until 2013-14, and is third with revenue of euro 308.8 million.
"The fact that if today's exchange rates were applied United would have finished below Barcelona, emphasizes the impact that exchange rate movements have had on English clubs' relative ranking in this year's list," Jones said. "Aston Villa, Everton and West Ham United can all consider themselves unlucky to have missed out on a top 20 place."
But the list, which only contains European clubs, was still dominated by the English with seven teams, compared to six the previous year.
German champion Bayern Munich is fourth with revenue of euro 295.3 million, followed by English clubs Chelsea and Arsenal, while Italian teams AC Milan, AS Roma, Inter Milan and Juventus occupy the next spots.
Driven largely by its successful participation in the Champions League, 19th-place Fenerbahce is the first Turkish club to appear since the list was created after the 1996-97 season. Only six clubs in the top 20 did not participate in Europe's lucrative competition.
Deloitte was investigating a period before the economic downturn took hold, but its analysts believe the strength of broadcast controls will provide a stable revenue stream in the coming years.
While Deloitte concludes that football will be resistant, not immune, to the financial meltdown, it warns club owners that they will struggle to secure credit and invest in stadiums.