In Brief

Football faces financial crash: Premier League may lose as much as £1bn

EPL chief Richard Masters warns of a ‘significant detrimental effect’ across the whole football landscape

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has warned the English top-flight could lose as much as £1bn in revenue because of the indefinite postponement of the season.

The EPL shut down a month ago as the coronavirus pandemic took hold and there is unlikely to be a resumption of matches before June. 

Consequently clubs stand to lose millions, and Masters made clear the grim reality in a letter to parliamentary sports committee chairman Julian Knight. 

“We face a £1bn loss, at least, if we fail to complete season 2019-20, and further losses going forward if the seriousness of the pandemic deepens and extends into the future,” he wrote. 

“This would negatively impact not only the finances of the 20 Premier League clubs, but would also have a significant detrimental effect across the whole professional football landscape.”

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Tough decisions

MP Knight was highly critical last week of English football’s response to the crisis, accusing it of living in a “moral vacuum”

Masters had responded to the criticism by outlining the invidious position in which the Premier League finds itself. 

“Premier League club finances are dependent upon the receipt of money from broadcast rights sales, distributed by the Premier League, as well as revenues generated by each club from matchday income and commercial sponsorships,” he said. 

“With no matches being played these resources have been temporarily halted, therefore clubs, like much of the UK’s economy, are facing tough decisions in relation to protecting their future and their employees.”

Premier League logo

Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Furlough furore

A particular bone of contention has been the furlough scheme by which clubs can apply to the government for funds to pay the salaries of non-playing staff who have been temporarily laid-off. 

What’s caused an outcry has been the fact that some clubs have chosen to go down this route while continuing to pay the full wages of their multi-million pound players. Liverpool reversed their decision while Spurs fans have urged their club to do the same.

Masters admitted that clubs needed to act with “restraint” in applying to join the scheme but nonetheless said they were entitled to do so. 

“The furlough scheme announced by government is meant for the whole economy, including many enterprises which might be regarded as providing entertainment or otherwise dependent on elite talent,” he wrote. 

“We do agree with you that restraint needs to be shown by all and we and our clubs are doing just that. Individual clubs will need to make these decisions based on their own forecasts, as each club will have its own unique position.”

La Liga also facing huge losses

The plight of the Premier League is mirrored by that of La Liga, reports ESPN, with the Spanish league’s president Javier Tebas also issuing a warning. 

“If we don’t resume, the economic impact on Spanish clubs, including money from European competitions, would be worth around €1bn [£882m],” said Tebas. 

“That figure is not just based on league revenue, but also includes money teams won’t get from Champions League revenue. The losses will be €300m if games are played behind closed doors and then €150m if we resume with fans because of the damage that has already been caused.”

Tebas was unable to state when, if at all, La Liga might resume, saying it could be anywhere from the end of May to the end of June, although everything depended on how the pandemic is managed in the coming weeks.

Today’s back pages

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho is warned over outdoor training session

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