Fc barcelona, one of the worlds wealthiest football clubs, has revealed the massive impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its business, posting a 100m pre-tax loss last season while more than doubling debt to 488m.
The catalan club, which has suffered a leadership crisis in recent weeks after its star player lionel messi demanded to leave, said annual revenues were 855m last season. this was a 14 per cent fall from the previous year, when it earned more than any other club in the world.
Barcelona, one of the first elite european clubs to report financial results for the year covering the 2019-20 season, said on monday it was hit by a coronavirus-induced income shortfall of just over 200m.
Net debt on june 30 2020 was 488m, more than doubling from 217m a year earlier.
Commercial revenues were down 9 per cent to 297m, as some sponsorship deals at an advanced stage of negotiation before the pandemic had fallen through, with merchandise sales also dropping.
Match day revenues dropped 24 per cent to 162m as spectators have been absent since march. broadcasting income fell 17 per cent to 249m, partly owing to fewer european matches because of the pandemic
The club made 74m worth of savings, including through agreed wage cuts for players, saying it has not been immune to the outbreak of covid-19, but its consequences have had a massive effect on the entire sports industry.
Andrea agnelli, president of italys juventus and chairman of the powerful european club association, said last month that the continents clubs face a shortfall of 3.6bn over the next two years.
Barcelona said it expected revenues to fall further to 791m this season, though this projection is based on there being a gradual return of spectators to its camp nou stadium in december.
It is unclear when spanish authorities will permit fans back into sports events, with european countries taking differing approaches to the issue.
In germany, stadiums have been partially opened to fans watching top tier bundesliga matches but, in england, the uk government has said big sports grounds are likely to stay closed for the next six months following a resurgence of the virus.
Barcelona has also embarked on a redevelopment of its stadium, announcing a new financing plan to raise 815m for the project. goldman sachs will manage a new vehicle that will pay investors a portion of the additional income expected to be generated by the clubs expanded ground, set to open in 2024.
The clubs financial crisis comes as top executives, including president josep maria bartomeu, have faced calls to resign.
In august, the team suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat against germanys bayern munich in the quarter-finals of the champions league, europes top club competition, one of the worst losses in its history. the club has failed to win the tournament since 2015.
In the fallout, the club has moved to discard coaches and players. messi, who demanded to leave in august, has opted to see out his contract at barcelona which ends in june 2021 to avoid triggering a legal dispute, but has remained highly critical of its leadership.