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Premier League may face big income losses



FA chairman Greg Clarke has told the Premier League that he does not think the domestic season can be completed, reports The Times. Losses for the Premier League could amount to £750m or £375m per club. Broadcasters around the world pay £3bn for Premier League rights and £1.5bn to Uefa for the Champions League. The top performing English clubs earn around £70m from the Champions League.

Sky and BT face pressure to offer subscribers refunds if matches are cancelled. If that happened, they would seek to recoup the cost from the Premier League.

The losses are so great that playing matches behind closed doors could be a means of meeting television contracts at least in part.

Manchester United, the biggest earners from gate receipts, would stand to lose £10m if their remaining matches did not take place. Arsenal, with four home matches left, would lose £10m. The losses would be influenced by how season ticket holders would be refunded, most likely a discount on next season.

EFL television income is small by comparison at £119m a year, but can help lower league clubs to survive.

Football finance guru Kieran Maguire commented: ‘Two thirds of the clubs in the EFL are losing money, and therefore are reliant on owner contributions on a regular basis. My concern now is the owners might be reluctant to pay the money across. Also many of the owners are local businessmen who are running their own companies and themselves will be suffering financial distress as a result of Covid-19. They might be struggling to pay their regular staff because they have lost orders.’

Football clubs in Scotland rely far more heavily on gate receipts that clubs elsewhere in Europe, with 43 per cent of average income predicated on getting supporters through the gate.

Nick De Marco QC of Blackstone Chambers discusses some of the complicated legal issues such as force majeure here: Sport law, frustration and force majeure

He comments: ‘The only certainty in these most uncertain times is that Covid-19 is likely to generate a plethora of future legal disputes which will shape our legal landscape, especially in the world of sport.’

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