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European football clubs expected to lose 8.7 billion euros as COVID-19 consequences

A UEFA report said on Thursday that European football clubs are expected to lose 8.7 billion euros (US $ 10.6 billion) in revenue as they struggle to cope with the disastrous financial consequences of the coronavirus epidemic. The annual European Club Football Landscape study shows that the current projection of lost revenue in the fiscal years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 is € 7.2 billion for top clubs and € 1.5 billion for lower-level organizations. In the preface, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said: “In last year’s report, we said that European football was strong, united, flexible and ready for new challenges.

But no one would have predicted that in modern times we will face the biggest challenge for football, sports, and society. UEFA’s national league and club competitions, the Champions League and Europa League, have been played largely behind closed doors since the pandemic hit Europe in early 2020.

The report of the governing body of European football says, “Every level and every corner of professional football has been badly affected. Clubs that rely heavily on fan participation have been particularly affected by the epidemic.”

As a result of budget cuts, the transfer spending of European clubs declined by 39% in the summer of last year. Low-income streams have forced UEFA to temporarily ease the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, which aim to ensure that clubs do not spend more than they earn.

However, Ceferin acknowledged that permanent changes in FFP may be required. Manchester City overturned a two-season ban imposed by UEFA for violating FFP rules in the Court of Arbitration for Sport last year. In what could have been the first season of the ban, City reached the Champions League final for the first time, where they would face Chelsea on 29 May.

“This report clearly shows that we are now operating in a new financial reality and it is becoming clear that our existing rules on the fair financial play will need to be adapted and updated,” said Ceferin. “Financial stability will remain our goal, and UEFA and European football will work as a team to equip our game with new rules for a new and brighter future.”

On a lighter note, the report has looked at tens of thousands of matches and identified other trends, such as yellow in the team, to document a significant decline in home advantage from 65% pre-Covid to 42% post-Covid. 

Read FWA titled Rúben Dias Footballer of the Year

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