United aren't the only Premier League club with this policy. They felt it was fair players should be rewarded for reaching the top four but also share the financial pain if they miss out.
The fact that the idea is being publicly discussed is indicative of how far United have slid under manager David Moyes. The start to 2014 is United's worst January start for over 80 years.
Dumped out of the FA Cup, beaten by Sunderland in the capital One Semi-Final First leg and almost certainly out of the Premier League title race, the Champions League remains the only ray of light in the Old Trafford gloom.
The loss of revenue if United fail to qualify for next season's Champions League would be huge and the weekend fixture is probably Moyes' biggest game to date. Anything but a win will be a calamity.