Manchester United are facing losses of at least £75million if the financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis is compounded by a failure to qualify for the Champions League for a second successive season.
Ed Woodward warned yesterday that United are dealing with “one of the most extraordinary and testing periods” in its 142-year history, as the club announced revenues had plummeted by almost £30m in the first three months of the year.
Woodward is confident the Premier League will restart next month, but United’s executive vice-chairman admitted there would be greater financial pain to come as the club wrestled with the “profound” challenges presented by the pandemic.
United have forecast a £20m rebate to broadcasters for this season and confirmed yesterday that they had abandoned plans for a summer tour, which would have earned the club around £12m.
With their five guaranteed home games due to be played behind closed doors if the domestic and European campaigns resume, United will also be looking at losses of around £21m in match-day income for 2019-’20 – more if they progress in the FA Cup and Europa League.
But those predicted losses of £53m would swell dramatically if United were to miss out on the Champions League – they are currently in fifth place, three points behind Chelsea.
United’s £75m-a-year-contract with kit supplier adidas includes a 30 per cent penalty clause in such a scenario, meaning another season with no Champions League football would cost the club a further £22.5m, even if that figure would be spread over the remaining five years of the deal. United still have two routes back into the Champions League, via the Premier League or by winning the Europa League.
Woodward said he was “firmly optimistic” about the long-term outlook for United, but left the players under no illusions that they would be expected to share some of the burden “in a spirit of solidarity.” (© Daily Telegraph, London)