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Covid’s impact on football: £1.7bn loss for Europe’s 20 richest clubs

Barcelona top the Money League, but their finances have taken a huge hit

European football’s 20 richest clubs will take a combined hit of £1.7bn due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

According to the latest Football Money League study by Deloitte, the 20 clubs had already lost around £976m during the extended 2019-20 season, the BBC reports. And that figure will rise to £1.7bn by the end of the current 2020-21 campaign.  

With coronavirus restrictions in place across Europe, elite sporting events have either been cancelled, postponed or played behind closed doors. Matchday revenue of Money League clubs was close to zero from March 2020 onwards and broadcast rebates of the “big five” leagues and Uefa reportedly total almost €1.2bn (£1bn) currently, “of which a large proportion is borne by Money League clubs”, Deloitte says.

The study found that the top 20 clubs generated a combined €8.2bn (£7.28bn) in 2019-20, down 12% on the prior season’s figure of €9.3bn (£8.26bn). The €1.1bn (£976m) decrease is explained by a €937m (£832.5m; 23%) drop in broadcast revenue and €257m (£228.3m; 17%) fall in matchday revenue. However, it was offset by a €105m (£93.2m; 3%) increase in commercial revenue. 

“As live football returned, matches were largely broadcast without fans in attendance, with the strange sight of empty seats and lack of crowd atmosphere,” said Deloitte. “The financial impact of fans’ absence will be fully reflected in next year’s Money League and depends, in no small part, on the timing and scale of fans return; with the hope being a return to full stadia in 2021 as soon as public health and safety considerations allow. 

“Those clubs traditionally at the top of the Money League will be most impacted in absolute revenue terms, even though smaller, particularly lower league, clubs have potentially suffered more in relative terms.”

Barca top the money league

FC Barcelona are top of the Football Money League having generated more money than any other club in Europe, the BBC says. But the Spanish giants also had the “second-largest revenue fall in absolute terms”. Revenues at the Catalan club fell from £741.1m to £627.1m.

Real Madrid, Barca’s La Liga rivals, were second with revenues of £627m (down from £667.5m). Bayern Munich (£556.1m), Manchester United (£509m) and Liverpool (£489.9m) make up the top five. 

2019-20 revenues compared to 2018-19

The revenues generated by each of the 20 clubs in the 2019-20 season compared to 2018-19, according to the Deloitte Football Money League.

Club 2019-20 revenues2018-19 revenues
1. Barcelona£627.1m£741.1m
2. Real Madrid£627m£667.5m
3. Bayern Munich£556m£581.8m
4. Manchester United£509m£627.1m
5. Liverpool£489.9m£533m
6. Manchester City£481.6m£538.2m
7. Paris Saint-Germain£474.1m£560.5m
8. Chelsea£411.9m£452.2m
9. Tottenham£390.9m£459.3m
10. Juventus£349m£405.2m
11. Arsenal£340.3m£392.7m
12. Borussia Dortmund£320.7m£332.4m
13. Atletico Madrid£291m£324m
14. Inter Milan£255.6m£321.3m
15. Zenit St Petersburg£207.4m£159m
16. Schalke£195.4m£286.3m
17. Everton£185.9m£185.5m
18. Lyon£158.5m£194.7m
19. Napoli£154.6m£182.8m
20. Eintracht Frankfurt£152.6m£160.6m

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