Tue. Dec 1st, 2020

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Manchester United on course to record losses of nearly £200million during the 2020-21 season 

4 min read

Manchester United are on course to record losses of almost £200million this season as their finances are devastated by Covid-19, according to a new analysis.

Projections based on the Old Trafford club’s latest set of financial figures this week, which included a 19.5 per cent year-on-year reduction in revenues, paint a bleak picture.

And the pandemic, which has seen matches in England played behind closed doors for months, could put a £1billion dent in overall Premier League club finances this season.

Manchester United prepare to play Arsenal at an empty Old Trafford. Matchday revenues have dried up in English football as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. United's latest financial figures showed a 19.5 per cent reduction in revenues

Manchester United prepare to play Arsenal at an empty Old Trafford. Matchday revenues have dried up in English football as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. United’s latest financial figures showed a 19.5 per cent reduction in revenues

An analysis of the latest United financial figures by Vysyble predicts the Covid crisis will cost United almost £200million

An analysis of the latest United financial figures by Vysyble predicts the Covid crisis will cost United almost £200million

The analysis by Vysyble predicts United will see a club record economic loss of £191.5m as a direct result of the Covid crisis even if crowds return before the end of the current campaign.

The club’s estimated annual revenue for the 2020-21 season is £473.4m, the lowest figure since 2015.

Figures released by United showed the cessation of football during the Spring lockdown resulted in a quarterly economic loss of £49.08m between April and June, as opposed to £34.8m for the whole of 2018-19.

A further loss of £49.49m was recorded between July and September this year with fans kept away from Old Trafford, wiping out matchday income.

The estimated revenues of £473.4m for the 2020-21 season are the lowest since 2015 with a £191.5m loss projected

The estimated revenues of £473.4m for the 2020-21 season are the lowest since 2015 with a £191.5m loss projected

Matchday revenue had fallen to £1.7m as a result of matches taking place behind closed doors at Old Trafford this year

Matchday revenue had fallen to £1.7m as a result of matches taking place behind closed doors at Old Trafford this year

Based on these figures, the Vysyble Football Profitability Index has projected United’s losses for the whole season to be £191.5m or the equivalent of losing £40.45 for every £100 of revenue made.

Vysyble co-founded Roger Bell said: ‘Normally we would expect to see this level of economic loss per £100 from a Championship club chasing promotion into the Premier League.

‘The fact it is Manchester United should ring a multitude of alarm bells throughout the game.

‘Our calculations demonstrate that the current health emergency is decimating football’s already-challenged finances from top to bottom.’

They predict combined losses exceeding £1bn from the 20 Premier League clubs given the top-flight had already recorded record losses of £559.54m in the 2018-19 season before the pandemic struck.

United are still on course for record losses this season even if supporters are able to return to matches by next Spring

United are still on course for record losses this season even if supporters are able to return to matches by next Spring

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward gave his support to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the latest financial results

Solskjaer has come under pressure following a poor start to the season that sees United sit 14th in the Premier League table

United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward (left) gave his backing to under-pressure manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (right) in comments published to accompany last week’s financial update

United’s latest financial figures were released 24 hours earlier than planned by accident.

Overall revenue was £109m, down 19.5 per cent compared to the same quarter last year.

Though matchday income had fallen sharply for obvious reasons, United still generated £1.7m as a result of membership sales and rental incomes from property owned around Old Trafford.

Commercial revenue had dropped by 25.7 per cent to £59.7m but there was a rise in broadcast revenues as a result of Premier League games being played in July.

Though there is some hope crowds can return to stadiums in England before Christmas, it is highly likely most teams will be playing in front of limited crowds at best until well into next year.

The figures show that United's net debt is forecast to fall slightly to around £440m during the ongoing season

The figures show that United’s net debt is forecast to fall slightly to around £440m during the ongoing season

A consistent run of operating profits over recent years is set to come to an end in the 2021 financial year, however

A consistent run of operating profits over recent years is set to come to an end in the 2021 financial year, however

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team return to action following the international break with a home fixture against West Bromwich Albion this Saturday.

Despite United sitting 14th in the Premier League table following a poor start to the season, Solskjaer received the backing of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in comments that accompanied the latest financial results last week.

Woodward said the club ‘remain absolutely committed to the positive path we are on under Ole.’

Woodward added: ‘While the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause significant disruption, we are optimistic that the recovery and normalisation phase is gradually coming into view.

‘The club’s resilience and our strong commercial business continue to provide a solid foundation and gives us confidence in our long-term outlook beyond the pandemic, both on and off the pitch.’

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