Europe’s largest clubs are facing an incredible £ 2 billion price tag for the Covid-19 pandemic.

Analysis by football finance expert Deloitte shows the impact of the crisis even on the game’s elite giants.

A significant casualty was Manchester United, who were eliminated from the top 3 of Deloitte’s “Money League” for the first time since 2013.

According to the Deloitte number crackers, the immediate result of the virus outbreak was Europe’s top 20 clubs lost £ 1.05 billion in income last year.

However, Deloitte expects that 2021 will have a similar impact on TV revenues and that total costs will return to £ 2bn in next season at the earliest – and even then likely to be limited.

Dan Jones, a partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “There is no doubt that this is one of the toughest times the football industry has ever had to go through.

“While no football club has been immune to the challenges of Covid-19 and other clubs have suffered more in relative terms, those in the Money League have the greatest financial impact in terms of absolute value.

“For this year’s edition, the top 20 clubs averaged £ 363m per club, down £ 49m from 2018-19.”

Barcelona remain at the top of the money table despite earnings dropping £ 111.5m to £ 627.1m, less than £ 200,000 ahead of bitter rivals Real Madrid.

The decline from £ 119.1m to £ 509m – a consequence of the lack of the Champions League – dropped them to fourth place under Bayern Munich, despite the fact that Old Trafford Club was still the best-paid English footballer.


Manchester clubs have by far the worst net spending in the last decadeManchester clubs have by far the worst net spending in the last decade

Other Premier League teams in the top ten included Liverpool, whose £ 489.9million put them in the top five for the first time since 2001/02. Manchester City finished sixth with £ 481.6m, Chelsea eighth with £ 411.9m and Spurs ninth with £ 390.9m.

The numbers are unlikely to recover over the next 12 months, however, as Jones added, “The safe return of fans to stadiums in significant numbers is one of the top priorities in global football.

“Matchday operations are a cornerstone of a club’s business model and help drive other revenue-generating activities.

“The ultimate size of the financial impact of the pandemic on football will ultimately depend on the timing and extent of fans’ return.”

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