London, Jan 7 An Arab Sheikh and India-born steel tycoon Laxmi Mittal have emerged as the two wealthiest British football club owners in 2009, relegating Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich to third spot.
Top of the table is Manchester City's new owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan with a fortune of 15 billion pounds - more than double that of his Chelsea rival Abramovich. Al Nahayan is a member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Joint-owner of the Queen's Park Rangers club Laxmi Mittal comes second with a fortune of 12.5 billion pounds. Mittal's friend Bernie Ecclestone, who also has a stake in the club is fourth with assets of 2.4 billion pounds.
Abramovich, who headed the list last year with a personal wealth of 10.7 billion pounds, lost his primacy with his wealth dipping by 3 billion pounds. He is third in the list.
The annual list of the 100 richest people in the game is compiled by Four Four Two magazine. The list for 2009 has just been released.
The Guardian has pointed out that the top 20 reflects the changing nature of the game over the past five years, as overseas owners have scrambled to buy into the British Premier League's biggest clubs and left all except Arsenal in foreign hands.
The combined wealth of those on the list is now 61 billion pounds, compared with 41.7 billion pounds last year and 20.45 billion punds when the magazine first compiled the list in 2003. The billions that have poured into the top end of English football over the past 15 years, mainly as a result of a series of record-breaking TV rights deals, are also reflected in the riches amassed by the most valuable players of that era.
Among the players, former English captain David Beckham continues to be at the top, way ahead of others with an income of 125 million pounds. Michael Owen is second with earnings of 40 million pounds and Wayne Rooney, third with 35 million pounds.