Premier League chief executive Richards Masters has said that the 20 clubs will have collectively missed out on as much as £2bn in revenue that has been lost as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which still grips English football a year on from stadiums first closing.
Matchday revenue was virtually wiped out overnight, with fans stopped from attending games shortly before the first national lockdown came into effect last March. Broadcasting and commercial revenue has also been adversely affected due to the crisis.
No club has been immune from the financial impact, with Manchester United’s latest financial results, for example, showing a 95.5% fall in matchday revenue for the three months ending 31 December 2020 compared to the same period the previous season.
“Towards the end of this season, we’ll get towards £2bn lost since the start of the pandemic in matchday revenue and broadcast revenue,” Masters is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.
“We’ve kept the show on the road despite all of this. Clubs have continued to invest in competitive matchday squads and also the Premier League has continued to make good its contributions through the pyramid and wider football.
“But I think ramifications are that, ultimately, if there’s less money coming into football, then there’s less money going out in the short term.”
It was 13 March 2020 when Premier League football was suspended as the country waited to see how the health crisis would unfold. That hiatus was initially only for a few weeks until April, but it was more than three months before a ball was kicked in ‘Project Restart’.
Fans were absent from those games and only a handful of clubs were allowed limited crowds under more relaxed restrictions in the early autumn until the virus began to get out of control again.
As things stand, it may be possible for some fans to return for the final round of fixtures on Sunday 23 May. The government’s road map to normality specifies 17 May as the earliest date from which limited numbers of fans can return to stadiums, up to 4,000 people in some venues and up to 10,000 people in the largest stadiums.
21 June is then the earliest date from which all legal limits are social contact might be lifted, which could mean that the start of the 2021/22 in August will be with full stadiums.
Aston Villa and Crystal Palace are spearheading opposition to the reformed Champions League among smaller Premier League clubs.
Ranking the eight quarter-finalists in the 2020/21 Women’s Champions League – Lyon, Chelsea, Man City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg, Rosengard & PSG
Women’s Champions League quarter-final and semi-final draw, including Chelsea, Manchester City, Lyon, PSG, Barcelona, Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich
“The first step is to see that trophy presented on 23 May, hopefully in front of 10,000 fans, somewhere in this country. Beyond that, it is full stadia, hopefully from the start of next season,” Masters explained as he looked ahead to the coming months.
“We need to unite Premier League clubs around a plan for the future, a lot has happened over the last 12 months, and of course next year is the last year of our current financial programme, so we need to set a clear and secure financial plan for the Premier League, and therefore the rest of the pyramid, for the next three years.
“If we can get all of that done successfully by the end of this year it will be a good year. If you could throw in a successful Champions League win and perhaps even England winning the Euros, that would be even better.”