The pandemic and the resulting health crisis will cost European football clubs over € 8 billion over two seasons, marking a sharp setback after 20 years of uninterrupted growth. This is indicated by the annual Uefa report (the twelfth edition of The European Club Footballing Landscape), on the situation of the movement. According to the report, however, there are 120 teams “at existential risk” due to financial difficulties also due to the rise in the salaries of the players, now paid “more than business bankers”.
The European losses
UEFA’s conclusions are that the pandemic has not spared any team, depriving the entire sector of “at least” 10% of the expected revenues for 2019-20 and 2020-21. Over the two seasons that had to deal with the health crisis, according to Uefa estimates, the lost revenues for the 55 European leagues amounted to 8.7 billion, 7.2 billion of which for the 711 most important clubs and 1.5 billion for the smaller ones. The estimate is based on the club accounts already published, as well as on the renegotiation of television rights and on another set of parameters and is so far the most accurate indication of the impact of the crisis on football. Last autumn, FIFA had indicated that the pandemic threatened to reduce the entire football economy by 14 billion dollars ”for the 211 associations, but the figure has never been detailed. The European Club Association, for its part, had estimated lost earnings for European clubs in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 at € 4 billion, but last December its former president, Andrea Agnelli, spoke of a much higher impact, in the range between 6.5 and 8.5 billion euros.
Stadiums and TV rights
According to Uefa, stadium closures were the first to weigh, which for the 711 elite teams caused a reduction in ticketing revenues between 3.6 and 4 billion euros in the two years and remains, above all, still shrouded in uncertainty, the return to full stadiums. Commercial revenues are then indicated as decreasing by 2.4-2.7 billion euros, while TV rights will be cut by 1.2-1.4 billion over the two seasons and with renegotiations already underway to reduce them by 700 million. euro after 2021 for Uefa broadcasters and the five main leagues. The clubs most affected are the French ones, with a 30% drop in global revenues, together with Scottish clubs.
The crisis has interrupted two golden decades for European football, which had recorded an average revenue growth of 8.2% a year since 1999, up to cumulative revenues of 23 billion euros for the 711 teams analyzed. from the studio, with English clubs in the lead. In the two decades, however, salaries have also risen, which have come to absorb 60% of revenues, a share “significantly higher than any other sector, including the investment bank,” observes UEFA. The players have only made a small effort in the face of the pandemic, accepting a reduction in salaries. In all, the clubs managed to save two billion euros, of which one billion for the salaries of the two seasons. Regarding cash flows, a key issue given the high levels of debt in the sector, UEFA expects around 120 clubs to be at “existential risk” while the others will compensate for their losses by resorting to new loans or appealing to owners. .
Convention for the future of football
Uefa has therefore announced the launch in the coming months of an important consultation process to bring all stakeholders of European football closer together and strengthen the future of football for the benefit of all. In the coming months, the conference on the future of European football (the Convention) will bring together representatives of national football associations, leagues, clubs, players, coaches, fans and agents to discuss long-term political and governance reforms. term. Uefa intends to lay the foundations for a recovery and a sustainable and inclusive future of European football together with its main interlocutors. The move underlines UEFA’s determination to find long-term solutions that safeguard the European sports model based on values, solidarity and openness. The Convention’s stakeholder consultation process will ensure that Europe’s collective will and determination have a concrete impact on the future of football and its management.