A question which pops up frequently in football club forums is ‘what percentage of gate receipts does an away team get’.
The chat usually goes along the lines of… ‘We took 5000 fans away to City on Saturday, how much money does our club make from that?’ forum users will reply with one of two answers. They will state that the away team receives NOTHING or that they get 25%, 75% or 120 percent of the gate.
At this point, the forum will descend into a slanging match. Eventually, everyone will agree that ‘Robbo1962’ is a knob! The reason for the disagreement is that everyone is correct, up to a point. You might be asking – How can that be? Well, the financial arrangments for the allocation of payments are incredibly complicated.
An important point to recognise is the fundamental changes to the structure of football finances back in the early 1980s. It’s where much of the confusion surrounding payments started.
LEAGUE PAYMENTS SCRAPPED
Before 1983, away teams did get paid a percentage of ticket sales. Typically, the split worked out like this: 70% for the home team, 25% for the away team and 5% for the Football League Levy. However, the English Football League scrapped the system in the early 1980’s following pressure from bigger clubs like Spurs, Manchester United, Everton etc. Many football fans, especially older fans, still think this system is in place. They often quote these figures when discussing matters online. Nevertheless, this is NOT the current system for League matches in England. One small caveat: Away clubs can charge an admin fee to the home team for handling ticket sales for travelling fans.
To make matters more confusing, The FA Cup and League Cup retained the old system of splitting gate receipts between the home and visiting club.
The current structure for teams participating in the FA CUP works like this: Between the third and sixth rounds FA CUP games, 45 per cent of gate receipts are divided between both clubs, with 10 per cent heading into a central pot. That’s the real reason you see a non-league team jumping for joy when get drawn against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the third round.
The League (Carabao) Cup follows a similar system to the FA CUP. Gate receipts are split 45 per cent each way, regardless of where the game is played. Smaller teams can often walk away from a clash against one of the big six Premier League sides with around £500,000 in the bank.
In European Cup competitions like the Champions League and Europa League gate receipts stay with host club. It’s worth pointing out that TV revenue for these competitions generates a lot more than ticket sales.
So there you have it! The full story behind the complicated system of payments for away teams. Having read all that, I’m sure you’ll agree that ‘Robbo1962’ is still a bellend!