Abramovich loses top spot of the Football Rich List | inside World Soccer

Abramovich loses top spot of the Football Rich List

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has lost his position at the top of wealthiest person in British football to Manchester City's new owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, according to the 2009 Football Rich List by FourFourTwo magazine.

Russian billionaire Abramovich, who set a trend with his massive cash injection into Premier League side Chelsea, had topped the list since buying the Blues in 2003, but has seen his fortune cut by over £3 billion to £7 billion in the global economic downturn.

That is less than half the wealth of the new man at the top of the list, Sheikh Mansour - a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family - who has a fortune of a staggering £15 billion.

City have already demonstrated their spending power since Sheikh Mansour's arrival by beating Abramovich's Chelsea to the signature of Brazilian star Robinho and now buying Wayne Bridge.

Abramovich has also been overtaken in the list by Indian industrialist Lakshmi Mittal, who is the joint owner of Queens Park Rangers with Formula One's Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore.

The list also outlined an overall increase in the wealth of the top 100 people in football from £41.7 billion to £61 billion, although that difference is effectively explained by the changes at City and QPR.

English football had dominated comparable rich lists for several seasons but financial expert Professor Tom Cannon fear the good times may be coming to an end as the global economic crisis bites.

"Season ticket numbers will probably be down by about 10 per cent but renewals will be down by at least 15 or 20 per cent," he explained. "That's where the problems will be as you go down the divisions."

And FourFourTwo Editor-in-Chief Hugh Sleight is similarly worried about football's financial future.

He said: "Judging by this list, football is the last remaining financial bubble.

"But the landscape has already changed dramatically because of the recession. As Arsène Wenger rightly pointed out, football will suffer just like any other industry.

"So far there seems to be a time lag but as economic conditions continue to bite, clubs and owners will feel the effect and it will then be interesting to see the reactions of these very wealthy men as they see their fortunes disappearing."

Top 20 on the Football Rich List

1.Shekh Mansour bin Zayed Al NayanManchester City£15bn
2.Lakshmi Mittal and familyQPR£12.5bn
3.Roman AbramovichChelsea£7bn
4.Joe LewisTottenham Hotspur£2.5bn
5.Bernie and Slavica EcclestoneQPR£2.4bn
6.Stanley KroenkeArsenal£2.245bn
7.Alisher UsmanovArsenal£1.5bn
8.Lord Grantchester & The Moores FamilyEverton£1.2bn
9.Dermot DesmondCeltic£1.2bn
10.Lord AshcroftWatford£1.1bn
11.Malcolm Glazer and familyManchester United£1.1bn
12.Simon KeswickCheltenham Town£966m
13.Trevor HemmingsPreston North End£900m
14.Mike AshleyNewcastle United£800m
15.Randy LernerAston Villa£750m
16.Tom HicksLiverpool£700m
17.The Walker familyBlackburn Rovers£660m
18.Mohammed Al FayedFulham£650m
19.Sir David MurrayGlasgow Rangers£600m
20.David SullivanBirmingham City£450m

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