Manchester United’s Chief Financial Officer Cliff Baty has confirmed that failure to beat Ajax in the Europa League final would see the club miss out on £21m.
Jose Mourinho‘s men officially missed out on a top four finish last weekend following a 2-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
They will, however, automatically qualify for the Champions League group stages if they beat Ajax in Stockholm on May 24.
And Baty has confirmed that failure to do so would precipitate a 30% reduction in payments from Adidas, Man United’s main kit sponsor, ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.
Clif Baty on adidas penalty for not reaching CL: "30% reduction in following year’s payment. Would be £70m, so £21m over contract."
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) May 16, 2017
In the context of United’s abnormal financial muscle, something that probably eclipses the GDP of some countries, £21m isn’t much at all. The ramifications of losing to Ajax are well documented, but this sum shouldn’t rank highly on the list of drawbacks that would occur in light of defeat to Peter Bosz’s men.
The more pressing concern, in fact, should be the damage to United’s global image – to their status as an elite, worldwide club – if they miss out on the Champions League for the third time in four seasons. For Mourinho, clearly determined to sign players – such as Benjamin Mendy and Marco Verratti – that would only consider joining United if they were part of Europe’s elite next year, defeat to Ajax is simply unthinkable.