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European Football Clubs Facing $6.5 Billion Revenue Drop

E
uropean Clubs Association (ECA) chairman, Andrea Agnelli, has said European football clubs are in crisis management mode, facing a $6.5 billion revenue decrease in the next two years.

ECA is the football body that represents professional association football clubs in UEFA, and also confirmed UEFA is in the final stages of finalising a $940 million refund to rights-holding broadcasts due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Agnelli, who is also the chairman of Italian Serie A champions, Juventus, said the refunds provided to broadcasters will see club sponsors also ask for rebates.

“We are looking at top revenue decrease of approximately €4 billion (AUD$6.5 million) in the next two years and, according to FIFA, 90 per cent of those top-line losses will be borne by clubs,” Agnelli said.

“We have seen very important rebates to the principal broadcasters both at domestic level and at international level.

“We have seen a UK£330 million (AUD$590 million) rebate in the Premier League, we have seen a downturn in the Bundesliga domestic rights of about €200 million (AUD$326 million), we are in the process of finalising the account with UEFA with a reduction of around €575 million (AUD$940 million) for the international club competitions, and that is all money that is normally distributed.

“Evidently those rebates will mean sponsors ask for rebates themselves for two main reasons – we are not in a position to deliver some of the rights and secondly all the sponsors are dealing with the same pandemic.

“So it’s going to be difficult to imagine that we are going to see the same values from the sponsors coming in when we renew our current deals with them, be it shirt sponsors or secondary sponsors.

“This will then fall into the last very different part of our (profits and losses) which is the transfer market.

“There are estimates that say we are going to see a shrinking of the valuations of the transfer market of 20 to 30 per cent, and that is evidently less money circulating.

“I have the fear that some of the big clubs will probably suffer losses – one individual club alone – greater than the confederations will lose across the world.

“In my opinion, many of the aspects that were on the table in September 2019 are still valid, (but) I still think we are in the middle of crisis management, and crisis management is not over yet.

“We will need to stall before we can properly address what we want to have in the future, we need to have a fairly consistent understanding of what the significance at the economic level has been for clubs,” he said, recommending discussion over changes to future competition structures of European competitions be put on hold to give clubs greater certainty around participation.