LaLiga outlines COVID-19’s financial impact on 2020-21 season

LaLiga, the organising body of the top two divisions of Spanish club football, has said that its member clubs lost €892m (£762.5m/$941.9m) during the 2020-21 season, with revenues falling by 24.1% due to the effects of COVID-19.

LaLiga’s Economic Report for the 2020-21 season coincided with the most acute phase of the global pandemic. LaLiga clubs together achieved total revenues of €3.818bn in the 2020-21 season, 24.1% less than in the 2019-20 campaign, with declines in matchday revenue (-53%) and player transfer fees (-52%) the most significant factors.

However, LaLiga noted that one club is responsible for 58% of the losses in terms of EBIT, 56% of the losses in terms of net result (NR) and 26% of the gross financial debt (GFD). This is FC Barcelona, which in October confirmed a loss of €481m for the 2020-21 financial year.

At the time, Barcelona said that it expects to post a small profit this year as it plans to emerge from its economic crisis. LaLiga noted in its report that of the total losses recorded by Barcelona, approximately 50% corresponds to accounting conventions associated with the extraordinary write-down of its balance sheet, with no immediate financial impact.

In March 2021, LaLiga said COVID-19 had cost its member clubs €2.013bn in lost revenue. The financial figures were taken from a report undertaken by consulting firm PwC which stated that LaLiga generated €4.777bn in revenue for the 2018-19 season, with this mark projected to have risen to €5.167bn for 2019-20 and €5.269bn for 2020-21 if the global pandemic hadn’t occurred.

The 2019-20 season, which was partly affected by COVID-19, was said to have cost clubs €366m in revenue, with this rising to €1.647bn for the full 2020-21 season impacted by the pandemic.

Looking forward, LaLiga’s report issued yesterday (Tuesday) outlined how it hopes the current 2021-22 season will be the start of the recovery period, where revenue will once again surpass the €4bn mark. Net losses are projected to be cut to €297m.

LaLiga pointed to several “transformative agreements” that will allow Spanish professional football to experience an “immediate advance”, that organically, it claims would have only been possible in a 20-30 year period.

These include LaLiga Impulso, its strategic venture with global investment fund CVC Capital Partners, and LaLiga Tech.

LaLiga said: “In short, Spanish professional football has overcome the most acute phase of the crisis caused by COVID-19, and has done substantially better than other leading competitions in terms of the impact on revenues and results, despite significant adjustments on an ad-hoc basis, especially in the last completed season, 2020-21.

“This has allowed the maintenance of gross debt levels in the season keeping them at reasonable levels, with no liquidity strains and avoiding unexpected financial solvency difficulties at an aggregate level.”

LaLiga’s Economic Report comes after it was revealed last week that French Ligue 1 football clubs lost €645m during the 2020-21 season. A new report from the Direction Nationale du Contrôle de Gestion (DNCG), which monitors French clubs’ financial affairs, laid bare the impact the pandemic has had on teams.

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