Thursday 22 March 2018

Manchester City players share £6.2m title win bonus

Sam Wallace

Manchester City's players shared a bonus of £6.2m for securing the club's first Premier League title last season.

The club's bonus scheme, agreed at the start of the season with the entire 24-man first-team squad, decreed that the players would receive £5.2m for winning the Premier League and an extra £1m for it being an unprecedented achievement for City in the modern era.

However, City's players earned nothing for their Champions League performances. They stood to net a massive £7.25m if they won that competition -- a long shot, given that it was their first appearance in the new format -- but went out in the group stages despite having accrued 10 points.

The bonus schedule gives a fascinating insight into the incentives for City's squad, upon which owner Sheikh Mansour has spent £452m in transfer fees alone over four years, to follow up their FA Cup triumph in 2011 with more silverware.

All leading clubs pay their players bonuses which, under English Football Association rules, have to be agreed upon at the start of the season.

City's players would have collected £4.7m even if they had finished second to Manchester United on the last day of the season, and there was £4.2m at stake for third place.


Sergio Aguero's injury-time goal against Queens Park Rangers on that frenetic last day of the season was effectively worth £1.5m to the squad bonus pool, quite apart from the history it made for the club.

The payments were made pro-rata, with a basic calculation over the league season dictating that one league appearance was worth £11,472. Joe Hart was the only City player who played in all 38 league games, earning him £446,212.

Under City's bonus schedule, Owen Hargreaves, Nedum Onuoha and Abdul Razak will all have earned the minimum £11,472 payments for their single league appearances. David Pizarro earned £58,710 for his five -- consolation for missing out on a winners' medal, which requires 10 appearances.

The average payment was £258,333 -- roughly the amount Carlos Tevez earns per week.

The squad would have shared £1m for making the quarter-finals of the Champions League, £2m for reaching the semis and £3m for finishing runners-up.

By contrast, winning the Europa League, from which they were eliminated in the last 16, would have been worth the relatively modest total of £828,000 to the bonus pool.

The hierarchy of the financial value of the other domestic competitions is also telling. The squad were on £500,000 to win the FA Cup and £250,000 to win the Carling Cup.

While the the bonus payments would represent a life-changing amount of money for most people, they are eclipsed by the huge wages paid to the City players.

On £220,000 a week, Yaya Toure would effectively have earned the same amount net in one month as Hart earned gross in his bonus payments for the entire season.

In the days before top-flight English football was awash with money from broadcast contracts and wealthy foreign owners, the win bonus was a crucial source of income for players.

The post-match recriminations after defeats, or games that were drawn when they could have been won, were often as much about the money that was forfeited as the points lost.

Now, clubs face a new problem. In the age of the £200,000-a-week plus contract, how do they structure a bonus system for the footballer who already has more money than he can spend?

The answer from many will be that players paid such riches should not need any more money to perform.

To an extent that is true. By the same token, anyone who watched the likes of Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero last season could see that, whatever the money paid to them, they competed with admirable spirit.

But old habits die hard in football and even though wages have gone through the roof in the last 20 years, players still want to be rewarded for winning trophies. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport