Uefa reports €74 million deficit for covid-hit 2019-20 financial year

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By David Owen

April 21 – The European football body UEFA has posted a deficit of €73.9 million for the covid-hit 2019-20 financial year.

With Euro 2020 postponed by a year, revenue for the 12 months to end-June was restricted to €3.04 billion, versus €3.86 billion the previous year and €4.58 billion in 2015-16, normally the comparable period in the prior four-year cycle.

UEFA claimed nevertheless that “even if the growth achieved over the last number of years experienced an unexpected dent”, revenue of more than €3 billion was still “remarkable”.

With prospects of Euro 2020 going ahead in line with the revised schedule after completion of the current European club season now very good, much of the missing revenue will plainly be shunted into 2020-21. Many questionmarks remain, however, over the precise conditions under which the competition will be played out. In such circumstances, it seems inevitable that associated costs will be higher and revenues lower than originally projected pre-covid.

More than 85% of the revenue UEFA did generate in 2019-20 came from media rights, with the bulk of the remainder – €417.8 million – coming from commercial rights. So-called solidarity payments dipped from €275.2 million in 2018-19 to €242.8 million, with distribution payments cut from €3.09 billion to €2.42 billion. Solidarity payments were as much as €1.16 billion in 2015-16.

The deficit resulted in year-end reserves falling from almost €575 million to just over €500 million. The postponement of Euro 2020 had a knock-on effect on the balance-sheet, which swelled more than 50% to about €3.8 billion because accrued expenses and deferred income more than doubled to €2.38 billion.

UEFA said that a series of measures, including a temporary salary reduction for top management, delivered €34 million in savings, with a similar figure expected for 2020-21.

Specifically, UEFA’s compensation committee endorsed a 20% salary reduction for senior management over three months from May to July 2020. President Aleksander Čeferin was said to have received fixed compensation of a gross CHF2.42 million in 2019-20, with general secretary Theodore Theodoridis getting just under CHF1.36 million, also gross.

A headcount freeze was put in place from April 2020.

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