City's owner topples Abramovich


SOCCER:MANCHESTER CITY'S hugely wealthy owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan has toppled Roman Abramovich to head British football's rich list.

Sheikh Mansour, a member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi, has a personal fortune of €16.5 billion according to the Football Rich List, researched and published by FourFourTwo magazine.

The 38-year-old bought City in the summer, while Abramovich, Chelsea's Russian owner, has slipped to third in the list - his wealth is estimated at €7.7 billion and he has been said to have lost over €3.3 billion in the economic downturn.

Abramovich has also been overtaken in the list by Lakshmi Mittal, the 58-year-old Indian industrialist worth €14 billion, who joined Formula One's Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore investing in Queen's Park Rangers.

David Beckham remains the richest player associated with British football - his personal fortune of €138 million being streets ahead of his closest rivals Michael Owen (€44 million) and Wayne Rooney (€39 million).

Republic of Ireland winger Damien Duff has a personal fortune of €15.5 million.

Beckham is 38th in the overall list, while England head coach Fabio Capello is at number 73 worth an estimated €28 million.

Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson is at number 78 in the list (€24 million) and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger at number 92 (€15 million).

Celtic shareholder Dermot Desmond, the Dublin entrepreneur, is the richest person in Scottish football - he is eighth on the list and said to be worth €1.5 billion. Rangers chairman David Murray is 19th on the list, worth €663 million.

Despite the huge fortunes of the wealthiest owners, football finance experts fear British football's bubble may be about to burst.

Professor Tom Cannon told the magazine: "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.

"That's where the problems will be as you go down the divisions," added Cannon.

1 Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed (Man City, below) €16.5bn

2 Lakshmi Mittal and family (QPR) €13.8bn

3 Roman Abramovich (Chelsea) €7.7bn

4 Joe Lewis (Tottenham) €2.7bn

5 Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone (QPR) €2.6bn

6 Stanley Kroenke (Arsenal) €2.5bn

7 Alisher Usmanov (Arsenal) €1.65bn

8= Lord Grantchester/Moores Family (Everton) €1.3bn

8= Dermot Desmond (Celtic) €1.3bn

10= Lord Ashcroft (Watford) €1.2bn

10= Malcolm Glazer and family (Man Utd) €1.2bn

12 Simon Keswick (Cheltenham) €1bn

13 Trevor Hemmings (Preston) €996m

14 Mike Ashley (Newcastle) €885m

15 Randy Lerner (Aston Villa) €830m

16 Tom Hicks (Liverpool) €774m

17 The Walker Family (Blackburn) €730m

18 Mohammed Al Fayed (Fulham)€719m

19 David Murray (Rangers) €664m

20 Steve Morgan (Wolves) €443m

(Overall position in the main list in brackets)

1 David Beckham (AC Milan, below)€138m (38)

2 Michael Owen (Newcastle)€44m (56=)

3 Wayne Rooney (Manchester Utd)€39m (61)

4= Rio Ferdinand (Manchester Utd)€31m (69=)

4= Robbie Fowler (Cardiff)€31m (69=)

4= Sol Campbell (Portsmouth)€31m (69=)

7 Ryan Giggs (Manchester Utd)€25m (77)

8= Michael Ballack (Chelsea)€22m (80=)

8= Frank Lampard (Chelsea)€22m (80=)

10 Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)€21m (86)

11 Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester Utd)€20m (87)

12 John Terry (Chelsea)€19m (88)

13 Didier Drogba (Chelsea)€16.5 (89)

14= Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea)€15.5m (92=)

14= Damien Duff (Newcastle)€15.5m (92=)

16= Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd)€14m (96=)

16= Ashley and Cheryl Cole €14m (96=)

16= Fernando Torres (Liverpool)€14m (96=)

19= Emile Heskey (Wigan)€13.3m (100)

20 Gary Neville (Man Utd)€13m (101)