Football: Manchester Utd fall into the red as shutdown hits revenue


Posted at Oct 21 2020 08:55 PM

Manchester United slumped to a net loss of 23.2 million pounds ($30.3 million) in the last financial year as the coronavirus disrupted fixture schedules and forced soccer clubs to play matches behind closed doors.

The fresh spike in COVID-19 cases across Europe is likely to further delay the return of supporters, hurting income from matchday ticket and catering sales, as well as museum tours for the bigger clubs.

"Our top priority is to get fans back into the stadium safely and as soon as possible," said United Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward.

"We are also committed to playing a constructive role in helping the wider football pyramid through this period of adversity, while exploring options for making the English game stronger and more sustainable in the long-term," he added.

Premier League clubs last week rejected plans put forward by Liverpool and Manchester United for radical changes to the English game's structures and finances and said they would conduct their own review.

United, who have made mixed start to the new English Premier League season on the pitch, said revenue in the year ended June 30 fell 19% to 509 million pounds, with some fixtures being delayed beyond that date. It gave no financial forecast for the current year.

The club, controlled by the American Glazer family since a highly-leveraged takeover in 2005, said the net loss once the cost of debt financing was taken into account compares with profit of 18.9 million pounds a year earlier.

Net debt rose rose 10% to 474.1 million pounds at the end of June compared with the end of March.

The 20-time English champions said the impact of the coronavirus crisis on revenue has been partially offset by lower matchday costs and reduced travel due to the three-month suspension of soccer matches from March to June. ($1 = 0.7653 pounds) (Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong and Chris Peters in Bengaluru, editing by Louise Heavens/Keith Weir)