The crisis caused by the pandemic suffered in these last two seasons will cost European football clubs 8,700 million euros, as detailed by UEFA in a report published yesterday. To face the situation, the organization will open a historic consultation process between all the actors involved with the determination “to offer long-term solutions that safeguard the open European sports model, based on values and solidarity, with agreements and reforms that have an impact on the future of football and its management, ”said UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin.
Describing a sector in crisis, the UEFA report speaks of the Superliga as “a failed project of a private tournament, a priori very lucrative, but which almost imploded European football.” UEFA affirms that the 12 dissident clubs, which for the moment have resigned from the project, have been deprived, “at least” of 10% of the expected income in the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons. In these two courses, the European body estimates the accumulated losses of the clubs from its 55 national championships at 8,700 million euros, of which 7,200 will be stopped by the 711 most important clubs and 1,500 the rest.
One of the main points of the reform in which UEFA is working “to lay the foundations for the recovery and redistribution of income” is that of financial fair play, a 2010 rule that prohibits clubs from spending more than they enter, as well as the renegotiations of television rights.
Last year, the European Club Association (ECA) had estimated the losses for the big European clubs in the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons at 4,000 million euros, before its president Andrea Agnelli increased in December the amount at a range of between 6,500 and 8,500 million euros. The lack of public in stadiums has largely weighed on club economies, UEFA explains, concentrating on the 711 elite clubs: losses from box office revenues will be between 3,600 and 4,000 million euros in two years. Commercial revenue will decline from $ 2.4 billion to $ 2.7 billion, while television rights losses will be between $ 1.2 billion to $ 1.4 billion over two seasons, with ongoing “€ 700 million” downward renegotiations beyond 2021 for operators of UEFA and the five major European championships. The impact has been especially violent in France due to the withdrawal of Mediapro as operator of Ligue 1, whose clubs have lost “around 30% of their income”.
The health crisis put an end to two decades of strength, with an average growth of 8.2% per year since 1999, reaching in 2019 global revenues of 23,000 million euros for the 711 main European clubs, with the English at the top. But during that time, salaries also grew to account for more than 60% of club income. During the pandemic, teams have barely lowered the wage bill by 1,000 million in two years.
From the point of view of the treasury, a key point given the high level of indebtedness of the sector, UEFA foresees an “existential risk” for around 120 clubs, while the others will reduce losses with new credits or with a greater contribution of their owners.