ECA President Andrea Agnelli believes clubs could see a decrease in revenue of almost €4 billion over the next two years due to Coronavirus.
Agnelli was speaking at the 24th annual ECA General Assembly and offered his assessement of what the future holds for Europe’s football clubs.
“We can only be proud to have concluded domestic and international competitions in Europe and I congratulate the teams who have won the Champions League and Europa League, Bayern Munich and Sevilla, and also with Olympique Lyonnaise Fèminin who won the Women’s Champions League, and Real Madrid who won the Youth League. We’re aware that the amount of work and compromises that have been done in order to bring to conclusion everything, and we are proud of this. Last season has been one of the toughest in our sector, not to mention the complications that the pandemic has brought in all aspects of life. What has been brought to light is that the entrepreneurial risk of the sector falls on the shoulders of the clubs; we are moving in a macroeconomic framework which is clenching on a global level, therefore, we must understand where we currently are: we are analysing the consequences of the pandemic, as is the case in every company or industry; we will have a first vision of what is happening in the football world in October, when the majority of the clubs will have published their balances; the situation will be more definite in autumn 2021.
“We still don’t have a clear vision of how regulators and governors will form the panorama in which we will have to move in. Every action that ensures public health will have our support, as this is the most important thing. In saying that, at the moment we still don’t know how the 2020/2021 season will evolve. The hope is that, on a general level, we gradually have fans returning to the stadium. An empty stadium is not what we want to see: it’s not the same thing playing with or without fans.
“The revenue from ticket sales have been completely wiped out, but even the broadcasting, on a national and international level, have been constricted. We can estimate a decrease of around 4 billion euros in the next two years, and, according to FIFA, 90% of these losses will impact clubs. The estimations say that the overall value of the market will be reduced by 20-30% and this demonstrates how evident it is that there is less money in circulation. We need to be very attentive at how we manage the following seasons, because if it’s true that, from an absolute quantitative level, what has happened will impact mainly the big clubs, those who will suffer the most in proportional terms and percentage will be the small to medium clubs.
“The situation must be analysed on two slopes: on and off the pitch. The actors are therefore, on one side, the athletes and staff, and on the other side, the managers that run the clubs. It will be a difficult challenge, we will need to change the way in which we operate, focusing on the infrastructures, on the footballers’ wages and on the youth sectors. I agree with the UEFA President Ceferin’s thoughts, when he claims that things will gradually return to normality: in the meantime, we need to face the current situation.
“To open as soon as possible a dialogue between ourselves is of primary importance, because the scars of this crisis will be very deep. The clubs will need to work together to promote a common position, with our stakeholders, speaking with a single voice. We need to be sure that all clubs can continue on their path.”