Man United finances hit hard by COVID-19

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The latest Manchester United financial report isn’t pleasant reading.

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Even a financial juggernaut like Manchester United have been hit hard due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the Premier League giants reported a $91 million loss in the period to June 30, 2020. The impact of COVID-19 will surely hit the next Manchester United financial report too, something their leaders have pointed to.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward stated that Man United have the biggest net spend on new players of any club in Europe over the last 18 months, and stated that their biggest target is for fans to return to stadiums as soon as possible.

“Our focus remains on protecting the health of our colleagues, fans and community while adapting to the significant economic ramifications of the pandemic,” Wooodward said. “Within that context, our top priority is to get fans back into the stadium safely and as soon as possible.” 

Whatever way you slice it up, Manchester United have seen their finances hit hard.

Manchester United PLC (MANU) reported a loss of $45.3 million in its fiscal fourth quarter, while they said they have loss 28 cents per share. The club did post revenue of $101.1 million in the fiscal period and for the year revenue was reported as $641.8 million. That revenue was down 18.1 percent on the previous year, but that was largely due to Man United not being in the UEFA Champions League last season.

Overall, Manchester United shares have declined 33% since the beginning of the year, with the stock dropping 18 percent in the last 12 months.

Broadcast revenue dropped by 41.9 percent, while debt was up 132.9 percent to $620 million but the club said that was due to a reduction in cash reserves and debt levels remain the same.

Woodward also gave his backing to Solskjaer and the style of play on Manchester United.

“We have a clear strategy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to build a successful, committed team, with a core of home-grown talent blended with high-quality recruits, that plays fast flowing, attacking football,” Woodward added. “While our commitment to investment remains, it must be balanced with recognition of the extraordinarily challenging environment facing us and all football clubs at this time… The bottom line is we are investing and will continue to invest to back the manager.”

Moving forward, Manchester United will continue to be at the forefront of shaping the way the soccer world, both domestically and in Europe, recovers from COVID-19 and how it can restructured.

“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,” Woodward said. “This requires strategic vision and leadership from all stakeholders, and we look forward to helping drive forward that process in a timely manner.”

Woodward and United have been in talks about how to restructure power and funds in the Premier League, while also helping the lower leagues, as along with Liverpool they supported ‘Project Big Picture’ but that idea was thrown out by other clubs in a recent Premier League meeting.

Since then Manchester United and Liverpool have also been named as two clubs in talks over entering a FIFA-backed tournament which would generate huge sums of revenue and would essentially replace the Champions League as 18 top teams across Europe would be invited to participate in the tournament.