The end-of-season win-bonus package paid to Manchester City’s triumphant squad for securing the club’s first Premier League title in May was a huge £6.2m shared between 24 players, The Independent can reveal.
The club’s bonus scheme, agreed at the start of the season with the entire 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 the 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. Any bonus for the City players was contingent on them progressing to the knockout stages of the competition.
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 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 Queen’s 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.
Had Roberto Mancini’s squad finished fourth they would have earned £3.7m although there was a caveat to that bonus that it would only be paid in the event of fourth place also qualifying the club for this coming season’s Champions League competition. In the event, the team that finished fourth, Tottenham Hotspur, were denied that place by Chelsea’s triumph in the competition.
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.
Nevertheless, even the bonus payments are eclipsed by the huge wages paid to the City players. On £220,000 a week, Yaya Touré would effectively have earned the same amount net in one month as Hart earned gross in his bonus payments for the entire season.
Many elite clubs who pay such vast basic wages to players are now incentivising them with lump sum payments according to what they win at the end of the season, rather than the traditional win bonus paid according to individual results, that were the norm in the past. However, some players will have additional bonus schemes built into their contracts
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 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 eliminated in the last 16, would have been worth the relatively modest total of £828,000 to the players’ 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.